Mark 10: Who Is Yeshua?

Yeshua is the Most Important Man. The Most Important Man brought the world the Most Important Message, a message that must be believed for human beings, who are alienated from God and headed to Hell, to be reconciled to their Creator and live forever. Everything Messiah did, everything He said, every interaction with others that has been recorded for us in the divinely inspired book, is extremely important.

Yeshua then left that place (He was in Galilee, in the north) and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan (south). Again crowds of people came to Him, and as was His custom, He taught them.

Yeshua is Someone who likes to teach people – about God and the way of salvation; about the hope of eternal life; about the Word of God and the right way to understand the Word of God. And Yeshua is Someone who wants us to teach people – about the Three-In-One God and the way of salvation; about the hope of eternal life; about the right way to understand the Word of God.

Yeshua was very popular among many of the Jewish people, which no doubt added to the dislike of the Pharisees toward the young Rabbi. Some Pharisees came and tested Him. Yeshua is Someone who doesn’t like to be tested by mortals. The Son of Heaven examines us and challenges us, not vice-versa.

Some Pharisees came and tested Him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” Ray Stedman tells us what is going on: The Pharisees were trying to stir up trouble for Yeshua, trying to make Him say something that would allow them to provoke a crisis. So they selected a controversial subject – divorce. Maybe they could get Yeshua to contradict the Torah’s teaching on divorce. Maybe He would comment on the divorce and remarriage of Herod and Herodias and get drawn into the same situation that cost John the Baptist his life. Maybe He would choose sides between the two schools of Pharisaic thought on divorce, offending either the school of Hillel which took a more lenient position on divorce, or the school of Shammai which took a stricter position.

But Yeshua is always wiser than all of His opponents and didn’t fall into their trap. Instead, He used this challenge as an opportunity to give us God’s perspective on divorce. Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife? Israel has a divinely inspired book of laws, and so naturally Yeshua referred them to the Torah. “What did Moses command you?” He replied. They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

Under the Sinai Covenant, divorce was allowable. In Deuteronomy 24 Moses commands Israel: When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found “ervat davar,” some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house …

According to the stricter school of Shammai, only if a man discovered some “ervat davar,” some sexual immorality, could he divorce his wife. This included catching your wife with a woman, sexual abuse of children, or sexual misconduct that falls short of intercourse. The more lenient school of Hillel interpreted “ervat davar” to mean almost anything which displeased the husband.

As Israel’s Supreme Religious Authority, Rabbi Yeshua argues that divorce was allowed by Moses, that divorce was God’s permissive will but not His perfect will. Just as slavery and polygamy were not God’s perfect will, but God allowed it and regulated it so things would not be even worse, in the same way divorce was not God’s perfect will, but He allowed it and regulated it so that things would not be even worse.

But, Moses’ teaching on marriage doesn’t begin with the Sinai Covenant. Yeshua knew that God’s perfect will regarding marriage was revealed before Sinai. “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Yeshua replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Before the Fall and the subsequent corruption of human nature and the hardness of our hearts toward God and His will, God’s plan for marriage was for one man and one woman to come together as a one flesh unit. They were to unite in a committed relationship that was to last until death. That reflects the perfect will of God regarding marriage and divorce. It should be understood that God does not like divorce. In fact, God hates divorce.

And Yeshua is Someone who doesn’t want us to be hard-hearted, but soft-hearted to what God wants. Therefore marriage should be understood to be a God-ordained institution, a divine command. It should be honored. It should be treated with respect. It should be entered into and maintained with a holy reverence. God’s perfect will is for us to stay in our marriage, to do everything we can to maintain our marriage. We are to nurture this precious relationship. We should not do anything that qualifies as “ervat davar,” something indecent.

Because the coming together of male and female as a one flesh unit is God’s design for marriage and His perfect will – no mortal should oppose that.

Yeshua is Someone who teaches that marriage can only occur between male and female. Whatever a male-male or female-female relationship is, it isn’t marriage in God’s sight – an abomination, a sexual perversion, rebellion against the will of God, something that will keep a person out of Heaven – but not marriage.

When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Yeshua about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” This is seems teach that divorce is not allowable under any circumstance. If that were the case, then there is a conflict with Matthew 19, which is a parallel passage in which Yeshua allows for divorce if there is sexual immorality; and there is a conflict with Paul in 1 Corinthians 7, who allows for Christians and Messianic Jews who have been divorced because their unbelieving spouse ends the marriage, to be married. So, in my opinion, divorce is permitted for ervat davar, something indecent, which today includes adultery and sexual immorality; and if a non-believer refuses to live with a believer, and divorces the believer, the believer is free to marry.

Now, even if a man or a woman is guilty of ervat davar, including adultery, often the marriage can be restored, and restoration of the marriage is preferable to divorce.

People were bringing little children to Yeshua for Him to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. Their attitude was that the Messiah was leading a great spiritual movement with great political ramifications. He had no time to waste on children. The Son of God’s attitude was very different. When Yeshua saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Yeshua is Someone who values every human being, because every human being is made in the image of God and has inherent worth and tremendous value, including the youngest, the least gifted and those least able to contribute.

And there is more. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Who is Yeshua? Someone who understands that little children are amazing. They have an innocence and a simplicity and a propensity to believe what they are told. And Yeshua wants us to have that same child-like trust and believe everything He tells us.

And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them. Yeshua is Someone who blesses human life, and wants us to bless human beings and value them and do good things for them – including the youngest, even those still in the womb; and the least gifted and those least able to contribute.

Who is Yeshua? The true God. The Divinity who demands our loyalty above all else; Someone who understands that we may have idols in our life which prevent us from serving God, and wants us to tear down those idols. As Yeshua started on His way, a man ran up to Him and fell on his knees before Him (a gesture of respect and indicating he understood that Yeshua was greater than he was). And he knew Yeshua was a good teacher. And he wanted the help of the esteemed rabbi to determine if his life would be an eternal success. “Good Rabbi,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Yeshua wanted to know how much this man really understood about Him. Did he understand that Yeshua was Immanuel – God With Us? So He asked the man a question designed to discern his understanding about who Yeshua is. “Why do you call Me good?” Yeshua answered. “No one is good – except God alone. This is not to be understand that Yeshua is denying that He is good and therefore denying that He is God. He is asking the man, since no human being is truly good, perfectly good, and only God is good, if the man understands that Yeshua is God.

Then He responds to the man’s question: what must I do to inherit eternal life. He directs the man to the requirements of the Sinai Covenant, because a man who will inherit eternal life is a man who is in a right relationship with God, will observe the commands he is responsible to observe. This man lived under the Sinai Covenant and was responsible to fulfill the commands of the Sinai Covenant: You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” Rabbi,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” This was a man of the Chosen People who had been serious about pleasing God from his childhood. Yeshua looked at him and loved him.

Yeshua is Someone who loves people who try to obey God from their childhood, and maintain that child-like love for God into their adulthood.

And Yeshua is Someone who is able to look at us and know if there are things missing in our relationship with God; if there is an idol in our life that prevents God from being God in our life, being first in our devotion. Yeshua was able to discern that this man was guilty of idolatry. He was devoted to material possessions. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, follow Me.” What a fantastic offer! Messiah invited this man to be one of His disciples! Think what he could have accomplished as one of Messiah’s closest followers! He could have been a great leader in Messiah’s Community. He could have been another Paul or Barnabas or Mark. But the man was unwilling to meet Yeshua’s condition and follow Him. Mark tells us that at this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Who is Yeshua? Someone who insists that God comes first in our lives, in our devotion, before anyone and anything.

Yeshua used this rich man’s rejection as a teachable moment for the other disciples, warning them about the danger of loving material possessions more than God. Yeshua looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at His words – and their amazement was understandable because the common understanding was that God wanted to bless the righteous. Think of Abraham and his wealth; think of the riches of David and Solomon; think of the Lord’s promises to bless the nation of Israel materially as a reward for faithfulness to the Sinai Covenant. But, wealth that is a by-product of a life lived serving God is very different from a life lived devoted to wealth.

Messiah understood their amazement and reinforced His teaching. But Yeshua said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” – and it’s impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a little needle. Yeshua is Someone who knows that entering the kingdom of God is hard, not easy – especially for the rich. Entering the kingdom of God means the creature must end his rebellion against God, and let God be God. The Creator must take His rightful place at the center of the creature’s universe. The creature must tear down his idols. He must remove anything that comes before God, including the idol of wealth.

Up until this moment, the disciples had believed that the wealthy were the ones who were most favored by God and most likely to be rewarded with eternal life. Now their Rabbi is telling them the opposite. The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” If the rich can’t make it, then no one can. And they were right – righter than they knew. Yeshua understood how right they were. Yeshua looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Yeshua is Someone how knows that it is very hard, impossible really for human beings to be saved. There is not enough we can ever do on our own to end our alienation from God or its many tragic consequences. We can never be good enough, keep enough laws, do enough good deeds to outweigh our bad deeds, to end our alienation from the Creator or overcome the real and deadly forces of Satan, sin, the sin nature and death.

But Yeshua also is Someone who knows that salvation, which is impossible for man, is possible for God! When we understand that Yeshua is the Son of God who left Heaven and became a man and lived a perfect life; allowed Himself to be put to death on a cross; then rose from the dead – when we know this and transfer our loyalties to the Father and the Son, we are saved. We are removed from the control of the kingdom of Satan and the demons. We are given a new nature. We are given the Holy Spirit, who lives in us and empowers our new nature to live in a way that honors God. And we will live forever in the kingdom of God.

If the rich are unlikely to be saved; if the Messiah demands we be willing to give up everything in order to follow Him, then what about the disciples who make that difficult choice? Is it really worth sacrificing so much? Peter wanted to know. Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow You!” “Truly I tell you,” Yeshua replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the gospel (the Good News) will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Our sacrifices to serve Messiah will be amply rewarded – in this life and in the life to come. Whatever we lose in relationships and material possessions will be made up by an abundant life in Messiah’s Community, followed by eternal life.

And note well that sacrificing for Messiah includes sacrificing for the Gospel. Our service to Messiah must include courageous proclamation of the Good News. One can’t separate serving the Messiah and proclaiming the Good News.

God values things differently than a fallen world. Many who appear to be first, to have a successful life, will turn out to have had a very unsuccessful life; and those who seem to have done poorly – sacrificing their personal interests for the sake of serving Messiah and the Good News, will have an amazingly successful life.

Yeshua lived what He taught. His life exemplified putting God’s will above His own, and a life of sacrifice. And He knew that God wanted Him to go to Jerusalem for Passover, so that is where He headed. They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Yeshua leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. The disciples were astonished and afraid because the Jewish leaders had made it clear that they were intensely opposed to Yeshua, and Jerusalem was the center of their power – yet that is where Yeshua was headed.

Yeshua knew what awaited Him that Passover. He knew that He would be the Isaiah 53 Messiah, the suffering Messiah of the First Coming, and so yet again He taught His disciples about His rejection, suffering, death and resurrection – which would involve Jewish and Gentile leaders. Again He took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to Him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” He said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the Torah-teachers. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles, who will mock Him and spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. Three days later He will rise.”

Yeshua is Someone who tells us that not Israel alone, but the Jewish people and the Gentiles were involved in the rejection and death of the Son of Man – the perfect human being. Therefore to blame the Jewish people exclusively for the death of the Messiah is to dishonor what the Son of God had to say on this subject.

Yeshua is concentrating His teaching on the need for His disciples to live a life of sacrifice and to dedicate their lives to proclaiming the Good News, and not pursue power and wealth. Two of Yeshua’s inner circle make a request indicating the teaching was not getting through. Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him. “Rabbi,” they said, “we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want Me to do for you?” He asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at Your right and the other at Your left in Your glory.” We want the two most prestigious places in Your kingdom when You are acknowledged as the king of Israel.

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Yeshua said. My future includes intense suffering, not honor, and therefore My closest disciples will experience intense suffering. Is that what you are asking for? “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Yeshua said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at My right or left is not for Me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

Yeshua is Someone who wants His disciples to focus on carrying on His mission of world evangelism, and proclaiming the Good News, and teaching and good deeds; He wants His disciples to prepare themselves for rejection and suffering and wait patiently for final rewards to be given in the fullness of time.

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Yeshua called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Messiah is Someone who wants His Community, His One New Man, His new and united humanity, to be very different from the world. He doesn’t want us to be striving for power and position and control. He wants us to be humble servants – like He is. He wants us to follow the example of the greatest of all who became the servant of all and gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice for many.

Mark reinforces this lesson by giving us another example of someone who was considered unimportant being served by the One who is the Most Important. Then they came to Jericho (they are getting closer and closer to Jerusalem). As Yeshua and His disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Yeshua of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Yeshua, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Bartimaeus had some knowledge about who Yeshua is – Jewish royalty from King David’s line. And he had faith that the miracle working Rabbi could heal him.

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet – no doubt thinking that a poor blind beggar could not be important to the great Rabbi and His great movement. But he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” His need and faith impelled him to resist the majority and persevere and shout even more for Yeshua’s help.

They say the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and it was true in this situation: Yeshua stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Yeshua. “What do you want Me to do for you?” Yeshua asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Yeshua, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Yeshua along the road.

His persistent, majority-resistant shouts got the attention of the miracle-working Rabbi, and his faith unleashed the power of God for his miraculous healing.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who wants us to follow Him after He opens our eyes.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who wants us to go against the majority, who will want to silence us and intimidate us and keep us from getting close to Yeshua and getting the help we need from Him.

Yeshua is Someone who wants us to be persistent in our prayers.

Yeshua is Someone who responds to knowledge about Him and His Father, and what the Father working through the Son is able to do for us.

And that’s so great because humanity is like the son of Timaeus – spiritually blind, unable to see the God of our salvation; unable to see the truths emanating from the Word of God and this beautifully designed universe; unable to work the way we should, and as a result, poor and impoverished. But Yeshua is able to heal us and restore humanity’s sight and enable us to function to our fullest capacities – if only we have faith in Him and call on Him.

So, who is Yeshua according to this 10th chapter of this divinely inspired book?

Yeshua is Someone who wants us to teach people – about the Three-In-One God and the way of salvation; about the right way to understand the Word of God.

Yeshua is Someone who is wiser than all of His opponents.

Yeshua is Someone who wants us to be soft-hearted to what God wants, who wants us to stay in our marriage, to do everything we can to maintain our marriage.

Yeshua is Someone who values every human being, because every human being is made in the image of God and has inherent worth and tremendous value, including the youngest, the least gifted and those least able to contribute.

Yeshua is Someone who understands that little children have a simplicity and propensity to believe what they are told. And Yeshua wants us to have that same child-like trust and believe everything He tells us.

Yeshua is Someone who blesses human life, and wants us to bless human beings and value them and do good things for them – including the youngest, even those still in the womb; and the least gifted and those least able to contribute.

Who is Yeshua? The true God who demands our loyalty above all else. Someone who insists that God comes first in our devotion, before anyone and anything.

Yeshua is Someone who is able to look at us and know if there are idols in our lives, and wants to help us remove those idols.

Yeshua is Someone who knows entering the kingdom of God means the creature must end his rebellion against God, and let God be God. The Creator must take His rightful place at the center of the creature’s universe. The creature must tear down his idols.

Yeshua is Someone who loves people who try to obey God from their childhood, and maintain that child-like love for God into their adulthood.

Yeshua is Someone how knows that it is impossible for human beings to be saved. But Yeshua also is Someone who knows that salvation, which is impossible for man, is possible for God!

Yeshua is Someone who promises that we will be amply rewarded for our sacrifices – by being provided for in this life and rewarded in the life to come.

Yeshua is Someone who insists His disciples live a life of sacrifice and to dedicate their lives to proclaiming the Good News, and not pursue power and wealth.

Yeshua is Someone who wants us to go against the majority, who will want to silence us and intimidate us and keep us from getting close to Yeshua and getting the help we need from Him.

Yeshua is Someone who wants us to be persistent in prayer.

Yeshua is Someone who responds to our faith – to knowledge about Him and His Father, and what the Father working through the Son is able to do for us.

May God enable Yeshua be all these things to us and may we respond faithfully to all that He is and become all that we should be. Amayn? Amayn!