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JESUS FORETELLS HIS DEATH. AMBITION OF THE SONS OF ZEBEDEE REPROVED.
BLIND BARTIMÆUS HEALED.
MARK X. 32–52.
32. And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem ; 17-34. Luke xviii.
and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed ; and 31–43. as they followed, they were afruid. And he took again the
twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him,
33. Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem ; and the Son of mun 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 :
34. 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.
Such was the prophecy. The history was related by St. Peter, some two months afterwards : (Acts ii. 22:) “Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know ; Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain : whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death. Whereof we all are witnesses."
* Probably their amazement and their fear arose from what Jesus had frequently declared to them that he must needs suffer at Jerusalem. So (John xi. 8) "bis disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again ?"
The Son of man goeth, as was determined of him. “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."
35. And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.
36. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you ?
37. They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what
ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with ?
39. And they say unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that 1 drink of ; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye
be baptized :
40. But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give ; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepured.
In one sense, we know, and are sure, that the places in the kingdom of heaven are Christ's to give, and his alone. “ All things are delivered unto him of the Father.” “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to
execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man."
But it was not Christ's to give, in the way of arbitrary favour or partiality, or except to those for whom it is prepared : namely, those “who by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory and honour and immortality.” It was morally impossible for Christ to assign it to others.
And a great practical lesson is derived to us, from this unseasonable demand of the two disciples. It is vain to expect a place in the kingdom of Christ, without the prescribed qualifications. And middle place there is none; no place between the kingdom of Christ, and the regions of darkness where Satan reigns. But in this there is nothing arbitrary or exclusive. Nothing assigned to one, from which another is necessarily shut out. Nothing which our Lord would even give to his favourite apostle, and deny to another preferring a like claim. John was beloved by our Lord in an especial manner; yet he was one of the two to whom this declaration was returned.
This, then, is the reflection which each one of us ought to dwell upon. Certain characters will sit in the kingdom of Christ, and except to these, it is not even his to give. And we who hear this positive assurance, are either among those for whom it is prepared, or for whom it is not prepared. Those for whom it is prepared, are clearly described. They are described by that same apostle, who now met with a rebuke, because instead of entering “by the door into the sheep-fold,” he was trying “ to climb up some other way."
But he found the
way, the true way : and he has opened it to us also. “ This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life: and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life ; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.” 2 Faith, vital, practical faith in him as the author and giver of the heavenly kingdom, is the indispensable qualification. He “is the door of the sheep.” He is the entrance, through which his flock shall be received into the heavenly fold. 3
His flock are they, who “hear his voice and follow him.” And as they must have thus attached themselves to him, so likewise they must drink of the cup that he drank of, and be baptized with the baptism that he was baptized with. They must submit, as he did, to the will of God, whether it calls them to enjoy, or to suffer.
For “ if they suffer with him, they shall also reign with him.” They must “mortify, therefore, their members, which are upon the earth :” they must “crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts.” For every man who hath this faith in him, “purifieth himself,” that he may be “counted worthy to attain that world,” and to “stand before the Son of man” when he comes in glory.
41. And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.
42. But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles erercise lordship over them : and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
? 1 John v. 11.
3 John x. 3.
43. But so shall it not be among you : but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister :
44. And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
45. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ranson for many.
Such is the character of the religion of Christ, and of the views which it introduces : entirely distinct from those of the present world. The Gentiles look to the present world : those who are great among them desire to exercise authority and lordship. It is natural and reasonable that it should
The Christian looks to a heavenly kingdom, and therefore is content to be a servant here, that he may reign hereafter. This too is reasonable, and follows as a natural consequence from his faith. But as it is not natural to his inclination, he has an example to encourage him. He can be called to no self-denial, like that of his Master, who when he came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, resigned not earthly state, but heavenly majesty ; and submitted not merely to privation, but to misery, and gave his life a ransom for many.
Therefore let the same mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus: “possess your souls in pati. ence,” and “be clothed with humility.”
46. And they came to Jericho : and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaus, the son of Timaus, sat by the highway side begging."
* Matthew speaks of two blind men. Probably Bartimæus was a well-known person, and is therefore mentioned by Mark and Luke individually.