The Journey to the Cross
I. Jesus Taught and Ministered on the Way to the Cross. Mark 10
A. He taught the Pharisees.
1. John the Baptist dealt with the question of divorce and was beheaded.
2. Perhaps the Pharisees hoped the same thing would happen to Jesus when they came to Him with the question, "...Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him." (Mark 10:2)
3. Actually the Pharisees accepted Moses' instructions for handling the legality of a divorce, but they were divided in their views on reasons for divorce. (See Deut. 24:1-4.)
a. One school of thought allowed divorce for almost any reason the husband chose: dressing improperly, speaking to another man, burning the lamb stew, answering with disrespect.
b. Another school of thought allowed divorce only in cases of adultery- the wife's.
4. Jesus ignored reasons for divorce, and focused on God's original intention;
5. His ideal for man and woman.
a. At creation, Jesus said, God "made them male and female" that the two might become "one flesh."
b. He didn't plan that man should separate them.
c. But, "because of the hardness of your heart," Jesus said, "he [Moses] wrote you this precept" (Mark 10:5-8).
6. Jesus established equality between men and women...
a. When He suggested that men as well as women should be held accountable for committing adultery.
b. This was a new teaching to the Jews of this time.
B. He ministered to the children.
1. Perhaps Jesus was thinking of broken homes caused by divorce when he said to the disciples, "...Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:14)
2. To enter the kingdom, hearts must not be hard, but rather as tender as a child's.
C. He taught a rich young man.
1. As they continued their journey, a rich man who knew all the commandments and had kept them from his youth, came and knelt before Jesus.
2. We get the impression that the man, in spite of his wealth and position, felt something was missing from his life.
3. He came humbly, believing that Jesus had the answer to his question:
"And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" (Mk 10:17)
4. But, like many people today, he came to Jesus as the "Good Teacher," and didn't accept Him as the Messiah, the Son of God.
5. Jesus saw the rich man as poor because he had a great unseen need.
a. His possessions made him "greater" and "first" in the eyes of the world.
b. But Jesus told him to give to the poor that he might become servant of all and fulfill the requirements of being first in the kingdom.
c. The Law and the commandments the man knew so well couldn't make him "good" or "first."
d. They could only point him toward God.
e. The man made his choice and went away from Jesus sad.
f. Someone once said, "The Lord does not count the sacrifice great or small by the amount given, but by the amount withheld for ourselves."
6. Jesus taught that each of us must give up all that we have to follow Him.
a. For some this means literally giving up all those things that hinder placing God first.
b. For all of us it means a change of heart attitude, releasing all our possessions to God that He may determine how they are to he used.
D. He taught the disciples.
1. Jesus knew how difficult it was for men to separate themselves from earthly possessions and focus on things of eternal value.
2. And He must have known how little the disciples understood about the decision they had made to follow Him.
3. Once again on the road to Jerusalem, He took the Twelve aside and explained His mission for the third time.
4. This time He gave more details:
"Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again." (Mark 10:33-34)
5. But the disciples held tightly to the Christ of glory and couldn't accept Isaiah's Suffering Servant. (See Isaiah 53.)
6. James and John came to Jesus asking to sit on His right in left when He came into His glory.
7. In reality, two thieves later occupied these positions, places the disciples would have rejected at this point in their lives.
8. Jesus taught them once again that if they wanted to be first, they must be servants.
"And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:44-45)
E. He ministered to blind Bartimaeus.
1. The eyes of the disciples were still seeing only dimly when a blind beggar cried out, "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me." (v47)
2. He knew who Jesus was!
3. James and John had asked for glory; blind Bartimaeus asked for sight.
4. Jesus healed him and he "followed Jesus in the way" (v52).
II. Jesus Entered Jerusalem as a King. 11:1-26
A. When the King of kings entered Jerusalem on that first day of Passover week, He rode on a borrowed colt.
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." cf Zec. 9:9
B. His escort was a crowd of poor people who spread before Him their garments and some palm branches.
1. They were a joyful groupI shouting "...Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:"
2. Ironically, however, within a few hours, many in the crowd would join the Pharisees and Sadducees, now lurking in the background, in a determined effort to kill this One who claimed to be the Messiah.
C. Late in the day Jesus went to the Temple, looked around, and left with His twelve disciples for Bethany, a few miles away.
1. But Jesus returned to Jerusalem the next morning as a judge.
2. He began with a fig tree which had no fruit, condemning it to remain forever fruitless.
3. Next, He cast the moneychangers and businessmen out of the Temple, declaring that the Temple had become a "den of thieves."
4. By these actions Jesus acted out a parable of Israel.
a. The fig tree is a time-honored symbol of Israel, a people God ordained to spread His word to all nations.
b. But when the Son of God came looking for fruit, He found none.
c. There were no Gentiles in the Temple, and His house of prayer had been turned into a place of business.
d. Like the fig tree, the Temple and the nation of Israel were judged.
D. The next morning, as Jesus and His disciples again passed by the withered fig tree.
1. Jesus taught them that the prayer of faith can accomplish the impossible.
2. But, such prayers must come from forgiving hearts.
III. Jesus Has All Authority. (Mk 11:27- 12:44)
A. Authority over religious institutions.
1. After the religious leaders of Judaism first rejected Jesus, He began to speak in parables revealing the meaning only to those who heard and asked.
2. Now, however, in answer to questions from the chief priests, teachers of the law and elders about His authority to cleanse the Temple, Jesus told a parable which none of them had any difficulty understanding.
3. Tenant farming was common in first century Palestine, and the Jews all agreed that the owner had a right to expect a harvest from his tenants.
4. The religious leaders understood that Jesus was condemning them because they had not only failed to produce fruit, but had mistreated and killed the prophets.
5. Through the parable, Jesus revealed their plan for killing Him and declared that the owner of the vineyard would give it to other more responsible tenants.
6. It's interesting that the tenants in the parable recognized the owner's son: "This is the heir" (Mark 12:7).
a. Was Jesus saying that the religious leaders knew who He was yet continued to plot His death?
b. This conclusion shouldn't surprise us when we remember that a large percentage of Americans believe that God exists.
c. Yet, many of these reject Him, refusing to obey Him or to have anything to do with Him.
B. Authority over governments. v13-17
1. Next the Pharisees joined with the Herodians, normally their enemies, to test Jesus.
2. They began by flattery, and then asked, "Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? v14-15
a. The Pharisees and the masses of people objected to paying tribute to Caesar; the Herodians sided with Caesar and would quickly notify Roman authorities if Jesus supported the Pharisees.
b. The question had been chosen with care.
c. This time, His enemies thought, we have Him!
3. But Jesus caught them off guard and asked why they were trying to trap Him.
a. Then He called for a coin bearing Caesar's inscription and said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:17).
b. This answer, which amazed all who heard, established the principles separating church and state by which we live today.
C. Authority over life. v18-27
1. The Sadducees were next to try to trap Jesus.
2. This powerful political and religious group denied life after death, yet their question concerned marriage at the resurrection.
3. Jesus could have asked why such a problem existed for them, but He didn't. He gave them an answer which confirmed life after death.
4. Pointing them to the book of Moses, which they accepted, He reminded them of God's words spoken from the burning bush, "I am the God of your Father-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exodus 3:6).
5. The Sadducees knew these patriarchs had died, but by saying "I am . . ." God declared that they were still living.
6. Jesus closed the conversation by saying, "He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err." v27
D. Authority over the Law. v28-34
1. Jesus declared His authority over the Law by answering a scribe who asked which commandment was the most important.
2. The man was sincere.
3. He was puzzled by the more than six hundred laws religious leaders had added to be sure that the laws originally given by God were obeyed.
4. Jesus answered the scribe by first quoting the Shema, a name given to the words of Deuteronomy 6:4-5 which the Jews recited every morning and evening.
a. The word "Shema" means "Hear."
b. Today, every synagogue service begins with the Shema.
c. Note: v29-30 5. Then Jesus quoted Leviticus 19:18.
5. The scribe agreed with Jesus and understood that the burnt offerings and sacrifices, the "outside" things, were not to be compared with the "inside" things-the love of God and man.
6. Jesus' answers were so astonishing that no one else dared to ask Him any more questions.
E. Authority over people. v35-44
1. Jesus had established God's authority over religious institutions, government, life itself, and the Law.
2. Now He pointed to the Scriptures and to Himself not as David's son, but as David's Lord.
3. As Lord, He warned all who would hear to beware of the teachers of the law, who in their pride, placed all importance on "outside" things rather than giving attention to the "inside" things.
4. And as Lord, Jesus sat down and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.
5. By this action He established His authority to judge people's hearts.
6. Jesus didn't deny that the rich people gave much, but He said that the poor widow who put in two mites gave more.
7. Theirs was a contribution; hers was a sacrifice.
IV. Jesus Knows the Future. Mark 13
"And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." (Mark 13:37)
A. Watch out for false christs. cf 13:1-8; 21-22
1. Jesus' first warning was about false christs, men who would come claiming to be the Messiah and lead many astray.
2. These, along with wars, famines, and earthquakes, Jesus said, would be only the "beginnings of sorrows."
3. They would not be the end.
4. All these things appeared during the first century and have continued to be a part of every age since.
B. Watch out for yourselves. cf 13:9-20
1. Jesus warned the disciples that they would be arrested, tried, and beaten in the synagogues.
2. But He assured them of the presence and help of the Holy Spirit.
3. There on the Mount of Olives, Jesus told them of the persecutions which Christians would face not only in the first century, but down through the ages.
C. Watch for changes and social chaos. cf 13:23-31
1. Following all the persecutions, the day will come when the institutions of the world will be in chaos.
2. The earth will be shaken, and man will know that he has lost all control.
3. Then, "they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory" (Mark 13:26).
4. It will be a great day for believers.
5. The angels will be with Jesus as He gathers His people from all the earth.
6. This truth is certain. cf v31
D. Watch lest you be found sleeping. cf 13:32-37
1. As time passes, things once thought to be important have a way of becoming less urgent.
2. But Jesus warned, "Watch!"
3. The disciples probably understood very little of what Jesus was telling them at the time, but they could not have missed His message that they were to live in a constant state of watchfulness.
Jesus has all authority-over religious institutions, governments, life, the law, and people-but He warns that He came to serve not to be served. He is concerned about the "inside" things, and His is a spiritual kingdom. If we are to be His followers, we must become servants of all.