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Exegesis: Mark 10:17-31

 

Randall J. Consford

The Ministry of Preaching (MIN 6302)

Dr. Stan Reid

Austin Graduate School of Theology

February 13, 2008

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to write an exegesis on the assigned text of Mark 10:17-31 utilizing Dr. Stan Reid’s Exegetical Methodology for Sermons.  

Establish the Text

Determine the pericope: Mark 10:17-31 can serve as a self contained unit.  However, it is clear that there are connections to Jesus’ pronouncement that the kingdom of God belongs to children while excluding those who are not like these children (10:13-16).   For the purpose of this paper, noting the relationship between the pericope of the children and the rich man will suffice and it will be excluded to focus on the assigned text.

Read the text multiple times in various translations: The Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th Edition; English Standard Version; The New International Version; The New Revised Standard Version; American Standard Version; and, The Message was utilized (See Appendix A).

Notice any Variant Readings: There are several variants worth noting in this pericope.  In verse 19, μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς - “do not defraud” appears but is omitted in many texts (Matt. 19:18; Lk. 18:20; etc.) because a copyist may have determined it inappropriate to include with a list related to the Decalogue.  In verse 23, εἰσελεύσονται “to go, in, or enter” appears as a transposition in some Western texts.  It appears a redactor decided that the text would be improved by making a more logical sequence (rearranging some of the verses) and it is considered secondary to the primary text.  In verse 24, ἐστιν (“I am, is”) appears to soften the text. Some manuscripts read “for those who trust in riches;” others insert “a rich man;” or others read “those who have possessions.”  In verse 24, κάμηλον (“camel”) is replaced by κάμιλον (“a rope, ship’s cable”) by a few of the later Greek manuscripts. Through time these two Greek words evolved to a similar pronunciation.  In verse 26, πρὸς ἑαυτούς (“to one another”) is corrected by πρὸς αὐτόν (“to him”) in some Alexandrian texts. The last variant, verse 31, [οἱ] (“the”) there appears to be minimal evidence for including this word.  However, it was included in brackets to indicate doubt.  The reason for inclusion is due to a question whether it was omitted originally by scribes in recollecting the parallel in Mt. 19:30 (Metzger).

Give Attention to the Context: Mark 10:17-31 is part of a larger section 8:27-10:52.  The context surrounding this section is the journey (“way”) of Jesus towards His death and resurrection to include three predictions (8:31-9:1; 9:30-32; 10:32-34).  Intermingled is an emphasis of Jesus as the “anointed one” or king (8:29).  However, the disciples cannot see clearly (cf. 10:46-52) and do not perceive the true nature of Jesus’ kingship.  The disciples are looking for success defined by their own wants, beliefs, and/or traditions.  Mark reflects Jesus working to dispel their ideas of success and reframes them around the “way” (a theme in Mark) of the cross.  Discipleship follows Jesus to the cross and initiates a life of service to God.  There is a theme of fertile soil, weaving itself through the text.  One question in Mark is how do you become or can you be fertile soil? The “Parable of the Sower” (Mk. 4:1-20) reveals seeds being sown on various surfaces and related to the text, the rich man can be recognized as one who lets riches choke the seed. 

Mark 10:17–31 consists of two units of material: First, the dialogue with the rich man (17–22); and second, Jesus’ teaching on the danger of riches (23–31).  The earlier pericope of the children (13-16) appears to be a part of this section. It is linked by the theme of entry into the kingdom (children have access while the rich man has difficulties).  Children face perilous status in the ancient world and have uncertain futures.  Yet, without any conditions they come to Jesus.  In contrast, the rich man follows the commands and appears to be sincere but is caught up in the cares of the world and does not embrace Jesus because his future on earth seems more certain with his possessions.  Theologically, Mark raises the question about our flirtation with the world instead of the cross and ultimately who will enter the kingdom of God.  There is a message of judgment or at the very least caution related to what our response to Jesus will be.  The disciples will follow Jesus to Jerusalem but when the passion begins they flee.  Mark vindicates those who follow Jesus in the midst of suffering, shame, misunderstanding, and ultimate death.

Make a Word List: There are many words that appear to have significant literary and theological meaning.  Due to the length of this paper only a few will be listed and discussed later under the word studies section.

Literary and Grammatical Work

What Literary Form is this Text?  To understand Mark as a Gospel, one must try to uncover its deep meaning in the ancient world.  Mark’s Gospel has characteristics of a Graeco-Roman biography.  Yet, it appears to be distinct to the Christian tradition (Craddock).  Many scholarly debates question the Gospel’s true relationship to these secular materials. Suggs suggests that if the Gospels were a completely unprecedented literary genre, ancient readers would not have understood them. It seems that similarly to Paul’s epistles which followed customary literary type forms, the Gospels would be recognizable to ancient readers.  However, this material appears to be unique. Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis (C. 130) writes:

For I did not consider that I got so much profit from the contents of books (Speaking of the Gospels) as from the utterances of a living and abiding voice…(Bettensen)

Papias relates a contrast between “books” and a “living and abiding voice.”  He recognizes that ancient material was primarily written to be heard.  Mark is focused on how the reader might hear the text and be a participant.  So, the structure of his material is laid out theologically with narratives to assist the reader.

Ancient biographies focus on birth accounts that were unusual.  Childhood exploits prefigure the hero’s later life. An ancient biography would emphasize a hero’s life that ends in triumph and honor (TNIDB). The Gospels do not always fit the model provided by such biographies.  Mark does not write an account of Jesus’ birth or childhood.  Also, Mark departs from the traditional ancient biographies by not emphasizing a hero’s ability to manipulate their moral superiority over an “accuser” or “enemy.”  Instead, he introduces a suffering hero who is revealed as “Son of God” at His baptism (occurs at 3 important points in Mark: 1:11: 9:7: 15:39) and the introduction of the coming kingdom of God; the hero (Jesus) is often misunderstood by His disciples and others; and who at His death on a cross defeats His “accusers” and “enemies” by overcoming this death and being vindicated in His resurrection.  

Marks’ literary style emphasizes misunderstanding and triumph to reinterpret the idea of a hero.  These characteristics have significant impact upon the periscope of Mark 10:17-31.  Williamson calls this a “call narrative.”  Mann sees it as a “pronouncement story.”  Within the pericope both “call” and “pronouncement” are recognizable.  A rich man who thinks he understands the “call” of Jesus misunderstands the cost of discipleship and how to enter the kingdom of God.  Mark’s  “pronouncement” to the readers is that entrance into the kingdom of God is marked not by our victories but is achieved through discipleship that encompass the “way” to the cross with the attitude of serving others or the first becoming last.

The following outline is based upon an interpretation of Mark’s Gospel as theological and narrative in form.

I.                   The opening of Jesus’ ministry: preaching the coming of God’s kingdom (1:1-3:6).

II.                Jesus’ ministry: mystery and misunderstanding (3:7-6:6)

III.             Final journey: mission and miracles (6:7-8:26)

IV.             Jesus’ teaching on discipleship is misunderstood (8:27-10:52)

V.                Jesus in Jerusalem: passion, resurrection, and revealing of true victory and discipleship  (11:1-16:8)  

Word Studies: ὁδὸν - noun, accusative, singular, feminine of ὁδός: a way, road. γονυπετήσας - verb, aorist, active, participle, singular, nominative, masculine of γονυπετέω: to fall on the knees, used 4 times in NT. κληρονομήσω - verb, aorist, active, subjunctive, first person, singular of κληρονομέω: to inherit. οἶδας - verb, perfect, active, indicative, second person, singular of οἶδα: to have seen or perceived, hence to know. ἐφυλαξάμην - verb, aorist, middle, indicative, first person, singular of φυλάσσω: to guard, watch. νεότητός - noun, genitive, singular, feminine of νεότης: youth, used 4 times in N.T. ἐμβλέψας - verb, aorist, active, participle, singular, nominative, masculine of ἐμβλέπω: to look (at). πτωχοῖς - adjective, dative, plural, masculine of πτωχός: (of one who crouches and cowers, hence) beggarly.  ἀκολούθει - verb, present, active, imperative, second person, singular of ἀκολουθέω: to follow. στυγνάσας - verb, aorist, active, participle, singular, nominative, masculine of στυγνάζω: to have a gloomy appearance, used 2 times in NT.  λυπούμενος - verb, present, passive, participle, singular, nominative, masculine of λυπέω: to distress, to grieve.  κτήματα - noun, accusative, plural, neuter of κτῆμα: a possession, used 4 times in NT.  περιβλεψάμενος - verb, aorist, middle, participle, singular, nominative, masculine of περιβλέπω: to look around. ἐθαμβοῦντο - verb, imperfect, passive, indicative, third person, plural of θαμβέω: to astonish, used 3 times in NT. δύσκολόν - adjective, nominative, singular, neuter of δύσκολος: hard to satisfy with food, used 1 time in NT.  κάμηλον - noun, accusative, singular, masculine of κάμηλος: camel.  τρυμαλιᾶς - noun, genitive, singular, feminine of τρυμαλιά: a hole, eye (of a needle), used 1 time in NT.  πλούσιον - adjective, accusative, singular, masculine of πλούσιος: wealthy. ἐξεπλήσσοντο - verb, imperfect, passive, indicative, third person, plural of ἐκπλήσσω: to strike out, hence to strike with panic, to amaze. δύναται - verb, present, either middle or passive, indicative, third person, singular of δύναμαι: to be able, to have power.  σωθῆναι - verb, aorist, passive, infinitive of σῴζω: save, keep from harm, preserve, rescue.  ἐμβλέψας - verb, aorist, active, participle, singular, nominative, masculine of ἐμβλέπω: to look at, fig. to consider. δυνατ - adjective, nominative, plural, neuter of δυνατός: strong, mighty, powerful. ἠκολουθήκαμέν - verb, perfect, active, indicative, first person, plural of ἀκολουθέω: to follow. ἑκατονταπλασίονα - adjective, accusative, plural, neuter of ἑκατονταπλασίων: a hundred times, used 3 times in NT. διωγμός: noun, genitive, plural, masculine: persecution. 

Sentence Structure: Mark 10:17-31

Mark 10:17

Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ εἰς ὁδὸν προσδραμὼν εἷς καὶ γονυπετήσας αὐτὸν ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν· διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ, τί ποιήσω ἵνα ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω;  - and he was setting out on the way, a man ran up, knelt down before him and asked, “Good Teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

Several versions (ESV, NRSV, MSG) interpret the Greek word  ὁδός as a “journey” or “street.” These are not incorrect but the inconsistencies of the translation throughout Mark misses a connection with a theological theme. It is used at the beginning of the gospel to prepare the “way” of the Lord (1:2,3); Jesus teaches the “way” of God (12:14); Christians were called the “way” (Acts 9:2; 18:25, 26; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14); Mark uses this term in close proximity to all three passion predictions (8:27; 9:33,34; 10:32).  

The use of the term “good teacher” is unique.  It would be rare to use this title in Jesus’ day.  Williamson notes that the use of “inherit” is an interesting term in connection with a rich man.  He would understand the need to do something to remain in favor with the one issuing the inheritance.  He may even have expected the same from those who may inherit from him.

“Eternal life” is the LXX rendering of Dan. 12:2 in connection with the resurrection of the dead.  The origin of the phrase is eschatological.  Mann notes that the eschatological “sense is that life is a gift of God by inheritance (as here), or is ‘entered into’ (cf. 9:43, 45).” 

Mark 10:18

δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ· τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς θεός. And Jesus said to him, “why do you say, I am good? No one is good but God alone.”

Jesus offers a counter question to the rich man that appears to be centered in Jesus not wanting to call attention to himself but to God alone.  The Word Biblical Commentary (WBC) suggests this is in line with Jesus’ “radical view of God’s unique goodness.”  Jesus’ purpose is to announce the coming kingdom of God and it is from God that all goodness results (e.g., forgiveness, salvation, etc.). 

Mark 10:19

τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας· μὴ φονεύσῃς, μὴ μοιχεύσῃς, μὴ κλέψῃς, μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς, μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς, τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα.  – “you know the commandments, do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not fraud, honor your father and mother.” 

Jesus quotes a variety of commands from the Decalogue (cf. Ex. 20.12–16; Deut. 5.16–20).  An interesting note is that he adds “do not defraud.” It is suggested (WBC) that Jesus is substituting a variation against theft or coveting.  Since, the man is rich; he may not have an issue with stealing or coveting.  He may however, have had a problem defrauding the poor.

Mark 10:20

δὲ ἔφη αὐτῷ· διδάσκαλε, ταῦτα πάντα ἐφυλαξάμην ἐκ νεότητός μου.  – And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”

Mark 10:21

δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ἠγάπησεν αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· * ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ· ὕπαγε, ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον καὶ δὸς [τοῖς] πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι. – And Jesus, looking at him intently, loved him (warmed to him), “You lack one thing; go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 

Jesus "looked" or "stared" at him intently. This same word was used of the blind man. After the second touch, "his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly" (8:25). It is used of the servant girl who stared at Peter and knew the truth about him: He had been with Jesus. Peter denied it (14:67).  This is more than "looking at" someone; it is more like "looking into" someone's thoughts and feelings.  Jesus looks at this man and knows the truth about him. Jesus does the same thing a little later in our text with the disciples (10:27).  Jesus sees that neither the rich man nor his disciples "get it." They continue to carry the baggage of their expectations and traditions that have elevated salvation to a list of things to do.

Williamson connects this encounter between Jesus and the rich man as evidence of the man’s sincerity and argues the man’s long history of following the commands and this unique greeting further explains it.  Here marks a distinct connection with the theme of discipleship.  Williamson calls this section a “call narrative” and it is characterized by five imperatives (“go,” “sell,” “give,” “come,” and “follow”) given to the rich man in response to his question.  Here the text appears to be moving between “going” and “coming.”

Mark 10:22

δὲ στυγνάσας ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ ἀπῆλθεν λυπούμενος· ἦν γὰρ ἔχων κτήματα πολλά.Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful (grieved or distressed), for he had great possessions. 

This verse shows the depth of the issues facing the rich man.  The cost of discipleship is beyond our actions to in essence of emptying or disposal of all we are and have that creates a tension between our world and God’s kingdom.  Do Jesus' words ever "shock" or "grieve" us? Are we willing to proclaim such a harsh word about discipleship that may cause people to leave the church severely distressed at Jesus' demands? One reason it is harder for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God than children is that the wealthy have usually been very successful in running their lives by themselves. They don't have to be dependent on anyone. They can buy it themselves. In contrast, young children know about being dependent on others. They know that there are many things beyond their abilities to do. Perhaps that's why it is easier for them to enter the kingdom. They know that they need help and are willing to accept it.

Mark 10:23

Καὶ περιβλεψάμενος Ἰησοῦς λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ· πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελεύσονται.  – And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have possessions to enter the kingdom of God!” 

Williamson notes that “Jesus turns explicitly to his disciples, a Marcan device to introduce elaboration of Jesus’ teaching that has specific meaning for the period of the early church and of our own when addressing issues of our possessions. 

Mark 10:24

οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις αὐτοῦ. δὲ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει αὐτοῖς· τέκνα, πῶς δύσκολόν ἐστιν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν·  – And the disciples were amazed at his words.  But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God.”

Mark 10:25

εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ [τῆς] τρυμαλιᾶς [τῆς] ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν.  – “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 

The analogy of the camel has created some difficulty.  As noted early with the textual variants, a letter has been changed in some manuscripts to change κάμηλον (“camel”) to κάμιλον (“a rope, ship’s cable”).   Another interpretation says that the "Needle's Eye" was the name of a small gate into the city of Jerusalem. This was the way one had to enter after the main gates were closed. In order for someone to get a camel through this small gate, the camel would have to be unloaded and bow down to get through.  These interpretations appear to be attempts to tone down the text.  Never the less, the text wants to clearly state how “difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God” for men and turns the attention to God and what He can do.  

Mark 10:26

οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες πρὸς ἑαυτούς· καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι;  – And they were exceedingly (beyond measure) astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 

The disciples’ response is probably the response everyone seeking the Lord would make.  The question for the church may be will we trust in what God can do or in our own actions?

Mark 10:27

ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς λέγει· παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον, ἀλλʼ οὐ παρὰ θεῷ· πάντα γὰρ δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ.Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God.  For all things are possible with God.”

No matter the commands we keep or what we achieve, salvation or entrance into the kingdom of God is for those who are like children that need it (10:13-16). 

Mark 10:28

Ἤρξατο λέγειν Πέτρος αὐτῷ· ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα καὶ ἠκολουθήκαμέν σοι.  – Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.”

Mark 10:29

ἔφη Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν ἀδελφοὺς ἀδελφὰς μητέρα πατέρα τέκνα ἀγροὺς ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ καὶ ἕνεκεν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου,  – Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mothers or father or children or lands, for me and for the gospel,”

Mark 10:30

ἐὰν μὴ λάβῃ ἑκατονταπλασίονα νῦν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ οἰκίας καὶ ἀδελφοὺς καὶ ἀδελφὰς καὶ μητέρας καὶ τέκνα καὶ ἀγροὺς μετὰ διωγμῶν, καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.  – “who will not receive a hundred times now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in this age to come eternal life.”

Jesus assures his disciples that whatever they have given up for his sake and for the sake of the gospel will be paid back a hundredfold.  However, Jesus includes persecutions to the list. As the early church read this, they most likely associated the phrase “μετὰ διωγμῶν” (“with persecutions”) with the difficult times they were experiencing as followers of Christ.  This addition validates discipleship and counters “the gospel of success.”

Mark 10:31

πολλοὶ δὲ ἔσονται πρῶτοι ἔσχατοι καὶ [οἱ] ἔσχατοι πρῶτοι. – “but many who are first will be last and the last first.”

Since, the rich man did not accept the call to follow Jesus and in context the children did in the previous pericope, Mark summarizes the entire section with this statement. Theologically, Mark parallels this story to that of the disciples.  Throughout, the gospel, we have come to understand that the disciples have misunderstood Jesus along the way.  As readers of the gospel, the early church struggling through tough times understands that even though the disciples sought to be first and failed, in the end, the disciples had a radical change after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  This is a great message of hope for the church then and now. We still have the opportunity after a lifetime of striving to be first to finally get it right by giving up and becoming last.  We are still on a journey to the cross and there is still time for us to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.

Background and Foreground

Biblical Background (Historical and Cultural) – The Gospel of Mark is an anonymous work; there is no internal evidence that specifically name who the author is. The title “According to Mark” is not original to the text. Church tradition has attributed it to "John Mark." Papias indicates the author was a close associate of Peter and others such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and clement of Alexandria name Mark as the author.

Mark is attributed to young Christians that lived in Rome around the late 60’s–70’s A.D However, there is no internal evidence to support the area to which it was written.  While it is impossible to fix the book's date securely, many date it at the time of Jerusalem’s fall (70 A.D.) since Mark 13 appears to be composed in the shadow of the event. These Christians appear to be experiencing suffering because of their faith.  No doubt these early Christians experienced confusion as they remembered the mighty works of Jesus and His proclamation of a coming kingdom and a new life with God.  The unfulfilled expectations may have led many to wonder if they had gotten it right.  Mark in this context would reflect on the disciples’ failure to understand Jesus’ teaching but ultimate hope is revealed in the cross.  Mark provides encouragement to stay the course or the “way” because Jesus’ predictions of death came true therefore suffering is a mark of discipleship and so is the hope of the resurrection.  

Theological Emphasis

The story of Jesus’ encounter with the rich man may provide varying perspectives depending on the reader’s socioeconomic status.  It can be troublesome for those who live good lives and see the rich man walking away from Jesus.  On the other hand, for those who are not wealthy it may bring encouragement.  However, if socioeconomic status is used as the interpretive method, it may not recognize the deeper theological meaning.  Jesus defines discipleship not as a means to earn one’s way into the kingdom of God but radically calls for faith in God beyond our possessions, ideas, attitudes, human traditions, and degrees of power and prestige to become the fertile soil that receives the seed as the children responded to Jesus.  We are called to give everything up and follow Jesus to the cross.  Williamson states:

In our efforts to take seriously Jesus' teaching, we institutionalize, generalize, or spiritualize the message of Mark 10:17-31, and in the process we may say many things that are true and helpful. Yet the tension of this radical text resists resolution in any way that removes its pressure on all disciples relative to wealth. After we have done our best to make this text say something less upsetting to our system of values, Jesus looks intently at us and continues quietly to affirm that life is to be had not by accumulating things, but by disencumbering ourselves. Contrary to the dominant voices of our culture, but in keeping with the entire section on discipleship in Mark, this text proclaims the good news that the way to be really rich is to die to wealth.

How does the message of suffering resonate in a culture that is based on ease and instant gratification?  The church has often recognized the hundredfold gift that will be added to us upon following Christ, but we often leave out the idea of persecutions that are included in these lists of goods promised.  Maybe the message makes sense in our world when we come to terms with our own suffering.  The message is not when, how, or why we suffer but through the cross, we have a message that overcomes and transcends it.

Mark 10:17-31 provides a word of judgment upon the things we fill our lives with. It seems in our lives we elevate created things into competition with our faith.  However, there is nothing that can compete with a way of life in Christ.  Edwards begins his comments on this section with:

The call to follow Jesus does not constitute an additional obligation in life, but rather judges, replaces, and subordinates all obligations and allegiances to the one who says, 'Follow me'" (p. 309).

Mark appears to show that life begins at the cross and we may think our lives are sufficient to enter into the kingdom of God and it is there, we encounter Jesus as a rich man/woman.  We may be sincere, we may have followed the commands, we may have been loyal to our religious traditions, we may have dedicated our lives, we may have unconfessed sins, but the encounter with Jesus should leave us uneasy, torn, and confused and tension should mount in our inner being because we all have elevated something that needs to be left behind.  Williamson writes:

If this message does not take our breath away, if we are not shocked, appalled, grieved, or amazed, we have either not yet heard it or heard it so often that we do not really hear it any more” (p. 188).

We cannot complain about discipleship, lessen the call to it, or ignore it, because, we see that Jesus is on His way to the cross and he leaves it all behind, even His life.

Paraphrase

And he (Jesus) was setting out on the way, a man ran up, knelt down before him and asked, “Good Teacher/Rabbi what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus said to him, “Why do you say, I am good? No one is good but God alone.  You know the commandments, do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not fraud, and honor your father and mother.”  And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him intently, loved him (warmed to him), “You lack one thing; go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.”  Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful (grieved or distressed), for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have possessions to enter the kingdom of God!”  And the disciples were amazed at his words.  But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God.  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly (beyond measure) astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God.  For all things are possible with God.”  Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mothers or father or children or lands, for me and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundred times now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in this age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last and the last first.”

Claim Statement/Focus and Function

Claim of the Text: Discipleship is not a means to earn one’s way into the kingdom of God but radically calls for faith in God beyond our possessions, ideas, attitudes, human traditions, and degrees of power and prestige to become the fertile soil that receives the seed as the children responded to Jesus.  We are called to give everything up and follow Jesus to the cross. 
Focus: Encountering Jesus on the way to the cross may challenge our expectations of what discipleship really means.  As disciples we are called to give up everything that we have elevated as important in our lives because we follow the one who gave up everything at the cross.
Function: To explore the riches or possessions that prevents us from entering the kingdom of God. To enable hearers (our class) to experience the shock of Jesus’ response to his ministers who have all elevated something that needs to discarded. Finally, we need to hear the good news that it is not too late to become last.

                      

                      

                      

| ! APPENDIX A: PARALLELL BIBLE VERSIONS OF MARK 10:17-31

 | Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th Edition | English Standard Version | The New International Version | The New Revised Standard Version | American Standard Version | The Message |

17 Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ εἰς ὁδὸν προσδραμὼν εἷς καὶ γονυπετήσας αὐτὸν ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν· διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ, τί ποιήσω ἵνα ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω; 17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 17 And as he was going forth into the way, there ran one to him, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 17 As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”
18 δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ· τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς θεός. 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, even God. 18 Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God.
19 τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας· μὴ φονεύσῃς, μὴ μοιχεύσῃς, μὴ κλέψῃς, μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς, μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς, τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’ ” 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor thy father and mother. 19 You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.”
20 δὲ ἔφη αὐτῷ· διδάσκαλε, ταῦτα πάντα ἐφυλαξάμην ἐκ νεότητός μου. 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 20 And he said unto him, Teacher, all these things have I observed from my youth. 20 He said, “Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!”
21 δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ἠγάπησεν αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· * ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ· ὕπαγε, ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον καὶ δὸς [τοῖς] πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι. 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “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.” 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 21 And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 21 Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.”
22 δὲ στυγνάσας ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ ἀπῆλθεν λυπούμενος· ἦν γὰρ ἔχων κτήματα πολλά. 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. 22 But his countenance fell at the saying, and he went away sorrowful: for he was one that had great possessions. 22 The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
23 Καὶ περιβλεψάμενος Ἰησοῦς λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ· πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελεύσονται. 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 23 Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?”  
24 οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις αὐτοῦ. δὲ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει αὐτοῖς· τέκνα, πῶς δύσκολόν ἐστιν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν· 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 24 The disciples couldn’t believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: “You can’t imagine how difficult.
25 εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ [τῆς] τρυμαλιᾶς [τῆς] ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν. 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 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.” 25 It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 I’d say it’s easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for the rich to get into God’s kingdom.”
26 οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες πρὸς ἑαυτούς· καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι; 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 26 And they were astonished exceedingly, saying unto him, Then who can be saved? 26 That set the disciples back on their heels. “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked.
27 ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς λέγει· παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον, ἀλλοὐ παρὰ θεῷ· πάντα γὰρ δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ. 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” 27 Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for all things are possible with God. 27 Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.”
28 Ἤρξατο λέγειν Πέτρος αὐτῷ· ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα καὶ ἠκολουθήκαμέν σοι. 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 28 Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!” 28 Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 28 Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 28 Peter tried another angle: “We left everything and followed you.”
29 ἔφη Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν ἀδελφοὺς ἀδελφὰς μητέρα πατέρα τέκνα ἀγροὺς ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ καὶ ἕνεκεν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 29 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 29 Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for my sake, and for the gospel’s sake, 29 Jesus said, “Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message
30 ἐὰν μὴ λάβῃ ἑκατονταπλασίονα νῦν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ οἰκίας καὶ ἀδελφοὺς καὶ ἀδελφὰς καὶ μητέρας καὶ τέκνα καὶ ἀγροὺς μετὰ διωγμῶν, καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον. 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 30 but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 30 will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life!
31 πολλοὶ δὲ ἔσονται πρῶτοι ἔσχατοι καὶ [οἱ] ἔσχατοι πρῶτοι. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” 31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first. 31 This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first.”

APPENDIX B: RESOURCES

Aland, Barbara; Aland, Kurt; Black, Matthew; Martini, Carlo M.; Metzger, Bruce M.; Wikgren, Allen: The Greek New Testament. 4th ed. Federal Republic of Germany : United Bible Societies, 1993, c1979, S. 122

Bettensen, Henry, ed. Documents of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford Press, 1974., p. 27.

Bratcher, Robert G.; Nida, Eugene Albert: A Handbook on the Gospel of Mark. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993], c1961 (UBS Handbook Series; Helps for Translators), S. 317

Craddock, Fred B. The Gospels. Nashville: Abingdon, 1981, p.25.

Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Mark.

Evans, Craig A.: Word Biblical Commentary: Mark 8:27-16:20. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002 (Word Biblical Commentary 34B), S. 91

Hengel, Martin, Studies in the Gospel of Mark, Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1985,

Mann, C.S., The Anchor Bible Commentary: Mark. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1986 (Anchor Biblical Commentary 17).

Metzger, Bruce Manning; United Bible Societies: A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.). London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994, S. 89

Rienecker and Rogers, Lingusitic Key to the Greek New Testament, Grand Rapids, 1980, p.102.

Suggs, M. J. “Gospel, Genre.”  The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Supplementary Volume. Nashville: Abingdon, 1976, p. 370.

Williamson, Lamar, Jr. Mark.  Interpretation Commentaries.  Louisville: John Knox, 1983.

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