These small group studies of the gospel of Mark contain outlines, commentary, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Mark 10:13-27 Bible Study – Verse By Verse Meaning
Receive God like a child (13-16)
True discipleship means giving up our strongest desire (17-27)
Verses 13-16 Discussion Questions
Why did they want Jesus to touch their children?
Why do you think the disciples didn’t want them to?
What was Jesus’ response?
What does it mean that the kingdom of God belongs to such as these?
How does a child receive the kingdom of God?
What qualities do children have that we need to have?
Verse by Verse Commentary
Bringing children so that Jesus might touch them – Jesus’ touch could heal the sick, make the lame walk, cure the blind, and raise the dead. Parents wanted their children to be blessed by Jesus and therefore took them to Jesus to receive His blessing. We don’t know whether or not Jesus imparted any actual tangible blessing such as exceptional health, but nonetheless it would be an exciting thing to take your child to Jesus for a divine blessing/prayer.
The disciples rebuked them – We have seen in previous chapters that Jesus and the disciples were very busy. He had a lot on His plate. He would spend days teaching massive crowds, then retire to more in depth training of His disciples, and then retreat to a mountain for some time of prayer only to come back and massive crowds waiting for Him again. Likely the disciples were trying to conduct some crowd control in order to keep Jesus from being too busy by allowing only the most pressing cases to Jesus. They probably thought that Jesus was too busy to deal with these kids who were healthy anyway.
Jesus was indignant – Jesus did not agree with them. Children were very important to Jesus and He was willing to set aside time in His schedule to spend with them. Some people say that they don’t like children. Here we see that Jesus liked children. God likes children. Those who don’t like children are generally selfish. To them, children are an inconvenience. They take a lot of time to care for. Sometimes they are loud. They make messes. They cost money. They are a nuisance. Well, children are a nuisance to self-centered people living life for themselves. But if we have the right perspective, children are a blessing. See Psalm 127:3.
The kingdom of God belongs to such as these – The kingdom of God is not reserved for the elite, the highly educated, the rich, or the superstars. It is for everyone. Children possess certain qualities that we also need if we want to enter the kingdom of God. These include humility and especially faith. If we don’t trust in God like a child His father then neither can we enter into the kingdom of God. Being around children is not only an opportunity for teaching, but it is also an opportunity to learn.
He began blessing them – We should all seek for God’s blessing like those parents who brought their children to Him. We should seek for God’s blessing in our own lives as well as in the lives of our children. How do we go about it? If we want to be blessed we need to firstly follow God’s commands. We cannot expect His blessing if we disobey what He has already told us. In addition, we need to spend lots of time in prayer and petition. Parents should raise children according to the principles of the Bible. Yet this doesn’t guarantee that their children will grow up to be believers. Therefore parents should continually pray for God’s blessing on the life of their children.
II. Verses 17-27 Discussion Questions
What was this man’s opinion of who Jesus was?
Why did Jesus say He shouldn’t call Him good? But wasn’t Jesus God? Since Jesus, is God, what was the problem with referring to Him as good?
Do you think this man really kept all of these commands? If he did, does that mean he was perfect? Why or why not?
Why did Jesus tell him to go sell everything? Isn’t this a good works salvation? If we give what we have to God does that guarantee eternal life?
What is the point Jesus is making here? What can learn from this about true discipleship? How is this different from the often taught idea of “just raise your hand to the pastor’s invitation and you will be saved forever” idea?
What does expect of someone who wants to be His disciple? Are you doing it?
Why is it hard for a rich man to enter heaven?
Is it possible? How?
Matthew 5:21-22 – Hatred is also murder in God’s eyes.
Matthew 5:27-28 – Lust is adultery in God’s eyes.
Malachi 3:8 – Not paying tithes is stealing from God.
Romans 13:7 – Stealing can include not paying someone what we owe them.
Mark 7:11- Even giving something to God instead of taking care of our parents is dishonoring our parents.
Verses on discipleship
Matthew 5:14-16 – A disciple should identify with Christ.
Luke 14:27 – A disciple should be willing to die for Christ.
2 Timothy 2:2 – A disciple should teach others.
John 8:31-32 – A disciple should abide in Him.
Matthew 16:24-25 – A disciple should deny himself.
Verse by Verse Commentary
What shall I do to inherit eternal life？ – This guys’ pride is already evidenced from his very first statement. He thought that there was something he could do to earn eternal life. This is human nature. It is somehow an integral part of our logic that we think we can somehow compensate for our sin on a grand scale by doing more good. This in fact is the essence of all human religion. People think if they just be good enough, if they give to the poor, if they attend church every time, if they attain a certain standard, then they can make it. The man starts off with the wrong assumption. His assumption is that he can do something to get it. Later Jesus will show him that if we try to do something to get eternal life, we can never reach God’s standard and therefore we can never get it.
Why do you call Me good? – This is an interesting question. In Luke 1:35 we see that Jesus is holy. Then why does Jesus ask this? Was He not good? Was He not God? In fact Jesus was. It seems that Jesus is bringing attention to the contradiction in the way that this man addressed Him and the way that He was often viewed by the people. This man called Him a “Good Teacher.” Jesus is basically saying “If I am just a teacher, then I am not good because only God is good.” Jesus did not say that He wasn’t good or that He wasn’t God. But instead focused on why this man called Him good if He didn’t recognize that Jesus was in fact divine. Believing that Jesus is merely a good person or a good teacher is a cop-out. Jesus didn’t leave this as an alternative. According to C.S. Lewis because Jesus claimed to be equal with God He is either the Lord, a Liar, or Lunatic. There is no in-between. We see that not only did this man hope to do something himself to earn eternal life, but he also did not accept Jesus as the Son of God. He did not have a saving faith in Jesus, but instead believed in himself and his own goodness.
You know the commandments – Jesus is answering the question how it was asked. He was asked what the man could do to get eternal life. All he had to do was keep the entire law. In fact, if anyone can keep the entire law then they can have eternal life. If a person is perfect (ie: sinless) then in fact he is not separated from God and being on God’s side has eternal life already. Of course we know that this is impossible. See cross-references. No one can keep the whole law. It seems Jesus was trying to point this out to him, but the man didn’t get it.
I have kept all these things from my youth – Wrong answer! If this man humbly admitted his own failure I guess Jesus may have answered differently and encouraged him to have faith for salvation. This man’s answer showed his prideful heart. It seems that he genuinely believed that he kept the entire law. Do you think he had or not? Why?
Go and sell all… and give to the poor – Jesus saw to the core of the matter. Please note that Jesus is not showing us that the way to salvation is selling what we have and giving it to the poor. That would be a good work. I believe Jesus’ statement has two purposes:
Firstly, he is answering the question how the man asked it (what can he do?). By answering like this Jesus shows him clearly that he CANNOT do what is required of his own strength. It is impossible for him to do something to inherit eternal life.
Secondly, Jesus probes to the heart of the issue, which is his pride and reliance on himself and his possessions. The man is very rich. Perhaps it was his intelligence and skill that helped him get rich. Maybe it was ethical business practices which were blessed by God. Yet he didn’t recognize that what he had was from God. And he wasn’t willing to give up his security, stability, and comfort in order to follow after God. Faced with a decision to serve God or money, he chose money.
Be humble. Accept that there is nothing you can do to deserve eternal life. Instead have complete faith in Christ alone for salvation.
Belief in God requires sacrifice and commitment. If we want to be His disciple we must be willing to give up everything for Him. Do not choose money or materials over God. This is one of the dumbest and short-sighted decisions we can ever make.
Thank God for the material blessings He has bestowed upon us and resolve to use them for His glory rather than for our own comfort.