All of The Savior’s life is living, breathing, beautiful art. Art is a powerful way Our Father chooses to reveal His character and His relationship to us. This study’s purpose is to go through Mark 10, discussing the concepts in the order they are brought up, for the purpose of revealing how they are connected.
This chapter’s progression starts with Yeshua’s encounter between Him and the Pharisees. Yeshua had been properly administering judgment for their amoral way of life. They were very cunning, clever, and knowledgeable about the standards He had to walk in. Fortunately, Yeshua’s much simpler take on His ordinances had lead Him to an incredibly deep understanding of the Word’s true purpose. Let’s play the lad on the street, looking in, and see how Mark Ten’s first encounter went:
Pharisees: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
Yeshua: “What did Moses command you?”
Pharisees: “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.”
Let’s stop for a moment and see what the Pharisees’ answer says about their intent. Yeshua’s question could have been answered quite simply; however, they did not exactly change the subject, but they did answer a different question. The question they answered was: “What did Moses permit?”
“But from the beginning God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Part of the character Moses was responsible for displaying involved navigating the difficult path of judging the people based on The Savior’s standards. How can we sharpen one another without weighing actions? His command in this circumstance is simple: keep the vows you made. However, He does not force anybody to hold themselves to that standard, especially considering how complicated keeping that vow can sometimes turn out to be. In fact, He gives a wide open barn door for people to break their vows if they truly feel it is what is right to do or what must be done. Moses humored their hardness of heart in the same way. He permitted a certificate of divorce to be written up.
Relationships are not easy and this should weigh in on the initial decision of marriage more heavily than the comfort one gets from another, the desire to have children, raise a family, and enjoy life with another person. It takes a lot of time to get to know somebody. A lot of time needs to pass sometimes to find character flaws in somebody if they do not want you to see them. Flaws will show after “I do,” frequently shortly thereafter in fact.
It is paramount to find out if your loved one will take responsibility for their actions. Taking responsibility shows that they have a firm grip on reality. It also shows that justice and it’s role in their life’s relationships is important to them. That way, you can expect to hold them, and that they will hold you to a high standard. In the Hebrew language, there is a word for judgment: mishpat. Mishpat refers to “the judgment” one is faced with based on their actions or a particular action. Justice should not be a scary thing, but can seem that way for some people, especially if they poorly administer justice on others or have received poorly administered justice. In both circumstances it is not true justice, but is just plain vengeance. Without proper reward/punishment, love is corrupted. People are selfish in their core, no matter how good they are at playing the role of the comforter, prince or princess charming, or whatever.
Justice is meant to protect the people around the perpetrator as much as it is meant to lovingly help them. Justice lovingly helping them is the part that is left out, unfortunately, and has therefore corrupted our view of justice. This protecting others, while at the same time improving the value of a loved one is the reason that the word mishpocha is in the same family as the word mishpat. Mishpocha is the word for “family.” Therefore, when a family sets themselves on properly learning how to administer God’s judgment within their network, the proper operation of that family will increase. This will multiply the value of those in the family who learn how to properly receive and administer perfect mishpat within their mishpocha.
The event that touched on these things quickly wrapped up, and like a fox frolicking through the wood we look in on another event: We are seeing a very rich man who had been keeping the commands of Yeshua. His commands are meant to guide us in life: rightly dividing what is good from what is bad. Yeshua and this man both believed they had been following the very same set of commands. Let us see where their intentions were and where each of these men’s disciplines had lead them.
Man: “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Yeshua: “Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is God.” …
“You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother.”
Man: “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.”
Yeshua: “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up your cross and follow me.”
Man: was sad, and went away grieved for he had great possessions.
Yeshua’s keeping of the commands was centered on having a deep relationship with The Creator. This lead Him to the following position: a rich young man, on his way to becoming a powerful leader, kneeling before Him and begging Him to help him find out what was missing in his life. (NOTE: This circumstance could have also been this young man in jest of Yeshua as he was on a high horse and Yeshua seemed to be a homeless wandering rebel. It is possible the young man had the intention of placing himself before Yeshua in hopes that He would see the comparison and come to His senses.)
When the answer to the young man’s question was set before him, it was set before him in a very honest way. Yeshua made sure the man understood that in order for the missing link to be his, he would have to give up everything that the vain and empty lifestyle had earned him.
Was his reaction anger? Was it a dismissal of the truth? It was not. The man was grieved. A few months of determined action coupled with fervent prayer can set smooth rolling golden hills filled with grasshoppers, songbirds, and honey bees before us where mountains and valleys once were.
Let’s take a moment and do something uncommon: praising the disciples. We are going to do that by contrasting the rich young ruler’s behaviors with the behaviors of the disciples, namely Matthew. Matthew sacrificed his relationships with his fellows in order to overcome oppression. Being a tax collector was quite obviously working for the oppressors. The religious rulers were in cahoots with the oppressors too, but they were deceptively looking like they were pious, honorable servants of Elohim even though their purposes were empty, vain, and self-seeking.
Now, Matthew was told the same thing as the rich young ruler: “follow Me.” When our rich young ruler was told to follow Him, he did not display the strength that was there for the taking. His blench showed a common trait among weak leadership: in circumstances that do not provide them with the comforts and resources they are use to having they blench.
Our Master requires us to show patient continuance in doing good, while seeking for glory, honor and immortality. No blenching allowed. Could the disciples have been brought the wonderful treasures of His bounty: glory, honor, and peace if judgment was not part of their family (mishpocha)? Justice, mercy, and judgment are the building blocks of every single good, lasting relationship and network. Those things turned these men into more able people, capable of vesseling the wisdom and skill that is applicable in this life and in the life to come. There is great reward for subjecting yourself to His authority.
Wrapping this chapter up we are like a bird in a tree, looking down on the next event. How is this event connected to what we have learned previously? If you subject yourself to His authority for long enough, you will become responsible for great things, as discussed. This next event has instructions nestled into it, as well as clues to help you know that you are walking properly.
Disciples: “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask”
Yeshua: “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Disciples: “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and one on Your left, in Your glory.”
Yeshua: “You do not know what you ask. Can you drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”
This was and is widely misunderstood. At the time the disciples became quite angry with their brothers. Yeshua allowed them to go on for a bit before bringing them to Himself: cluing them in on where their brothers’ hearts were:
Yeshua: “You know that those who are considered rulers over the gentiles lord it over them and their great ones exercise great authority over them. Yet, it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son Of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life, a ransom for many.”
The final story in this chapter is about a man who was unable to see. His healing, again, is sublime artistry teaching His people knowledge and wisdom.
blind man: “Son of David, have mercy on me.”
crowd: “Why I oughta! You shut up right now Bartimaeus.”
blind man: “SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON MEEEEE!”
Yeshua: “How can I help you.”
blind man: “I would like my sight.”
You see, Bartimaeus’ boss was society. If he was in bad rapport with them, it was not a good scene. He had to fight them and risk that rapport in order to get Yeshua’s attention. Is that all he had to do? Once Yeshua was there, Bartimaeus had to voice precisely what he wanted, showing trust and respect for the Master Who by the way, made the mountain that was society’s suppression of the blind man’s opportunity, fall right into the sea. That seems like nothing though, compared to the fact that the man was given his sight the day he grabbed opportunity by the horns.
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Shalom, in The Savior