the borders of Judea across the Jordan: This apparently refers to Perea, a region on the E side of the Jordan River, especially the parts of Perea bordering on Judea.
certificate of dismissal: Or “certificate of divorce.” By requiring a man who was considering divorce to prepare a legal document and likely to consult the elders, the Law gave him time to reconsider such a serious decision. The intent of the Law was evidently to prevent rash divorces and to provide women with a measure of legal protection. (De 24:1) But in Jesus’ day, religious leaders had made divorce easy to obtain. The first-century historian Josephus, himself a divorced Pharisee, suggested that divorce was allowable “for any cause whatsoever (and many such causes happen among men).”
the beginning of creation: Evidently referring to the creation of mankind. Jesus here describes how the Creator instituted marriage between a man and a woman, thus forming the nucleus of human society.
He: Some ancient manuscripts make the subject specific and read “God.”
one flesh: This expression is a literal rendering into Greek of the Hebrew term at Ge 2:24 and could also be rendered “one body” or “one person.” It describes the closest bond possible between two humans. It not only refers to sexual relations but extends to the whole relationship, making the two individuals faithful and inseparable companions. Such a union cannot be broken up without damage to the partners bound by it.
divorces his wife: Or “sends his wife away.” Jesus’ words as recorded by Mark must be understood in the light of the more complete statement at Mt 19:9, which includes the phrase “except on the grounds of sexual immorality.” (See study note on Mt 5:
commits adultery against her: Jesus here rejects the prevailing Rabbinic teaching that allowed men to divorce their wives “on every sort of grounds.” (Mt 19:
if ever a woman after divorcing her husband: With this phrase, Jesus recognizes the right of a woman to divorce an unfaithful husband
young children: The children may have been of varying ages, since the Greek word here rendered “young children” is used not only of newborns and infants (Mt 2:8; Lu 1:
like a young child: Refers to having the desirable qualities of young children. Such qualities include being humble, teachable, trustful, and receptive.
took the children into his arms: Only Mark’s account includes this detail. The Greek word for “take into one’s arms” occurs only here and at Mr 9:
Good Teacher: The man was evidently using the words “Good Teacher” as a flattering and formalistic title, since such honor was usually demanded by the religious leaders. While Jesus had no objection to being properly identified as “Teacher” and “Lord” (Joh 13:13), he directed all honor to his Father.
Nobody is good except one, God: Jesus here recognizes Jehovah as the ultimate standard of what is good, the One who has the sovereign right to determine what is good and what is bad. By rebelliously eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, Adam and Eve sought to assume that right. Unlike them, Jesus humbly leaves the setting of standards to his Father. God has expressed and defined what is good by means of what he has commanded in his Word.
felt love for him: Only Mark records Jesus’ sentiments toward the rich young ruler. (Mt 19:16-
easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye: Jesus is using hyperbole to illustrate a point. Just as a literal camel cannot go through the eye of an actual sewing needle, it is impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God if he continues to put his riches ahead of his relationship with Jehovah. Jesus did not mean that no wealthy person would inherit the Kingdom, for he went on to say: “All things are possible with God.”
to him: Some manuscripts read: “to one another.”
the coming system of things: Or “the coming age.” The Greek word ai·onʹ, having the basic meaning “age,” can refer to a state of affairs or to features that distinguish a certain period of time, epoch, or age. Jesus is here referring to the coming era under God’s Kingdom rule, in which everlasting life is promised.
going on the road up to Jerusalem: The city was about 750 m (2,500 ft) above sea level, so the Scriptures often speak of worshippers going “up to Jerusalem.” (Lu 2:
spit on him: Spitting on a person or in his face was an act of extreme contempt, enmity, or indignation, bringing humiliation on the victim. (Nu 12:14; De 25:9) Jesus here states that he would experience such treatment, which fulfilled a prophecy regarding the Messiah: “I did not hide my face from humiliating things and from spit.” (Isa 50:6) He was spat on during his appearance before the Sanhedrin (Mr 14:65) and by the Roman soldiers after his trial by Pilate (Mr 15:19).
sons: A few manuscripts read “two sons,” but the shorter reading has strong manuscript support.
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him: According to Matthew’s account, the mother of James and John approaches Jesus with this request, but her two sons are evidently the source of the request. This conclusion is supported by Matthew’s report that on hearing about this request, the ten other disciples “became indignant,” not at the mother, but “at the two brothers.”
one at your right hand and one at your left: Here both positions indicate honor and authority, but the place of greatest honor is always on the right.
drink the cup: In the Bible, “cup” is often used figuratively of God’s will, or the “assigned portion,” for a person. To “drink the cup” here means to submit to God’s will. In this case, the “cup” involved not only Jesus’ suffering and death under the false charge of blasphemy but also his being resurrected to immortal life in heaven.
be baptized with the baptism with which I am being baptized: Or “be immersed with the immersion that I am undergoing.” Jesus here uses the term “baptism” in parallel with “cup.” (See study note on drink the cup in this verse.) He is already undergoing this baptism during his ministry. In his case, he will be fully baptized, or immersed, into death when he is executed on the torture stake on Nisan 14, 33 C.E. His resurrection, which includes a raising up, will complete this baptism. (Ro 6:
lord it over them: Or “dominate them; are masters over them.” This Greek term is used only four times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (Mt 20:25; Mr 10:42; 1Pe 5:3; and at Ac 19:16, where it is rendered “overpowered”) Jesus’ counsel brought to mind the hated Roman yoke and the oppressive domination by the Herods. (Mt 2:
life: The Greek word psy·kheʹ, traditionally rendered “soul,” is here used in the sense of “life.”
Jericho: The first Canaanite city W of the Jordan River to be conquered by the Israelites. (Nu 22:1; Jos 6:1, 24, 25) By Jesus’ time, a new city had been built about 2 km (a little over a mile) S of the old city. This may explain why Lu 18:35 says of the same incident that “Jesus was getting near to Jericho.” Perhaps Jesus performs the miracle while leaving, or going out of, the Jewish city and approaching the Roman city, or vice versa.
a blind beggar: Matthew’s account (20:30) of this event states that two blind men were present. Mark and Luke (18:35) each mention one, evidently focusing on Bartimaeus, whose name appears only in Mark’s account.
the Nazarene: A descriptive epithet applied to Jesus and later to his followers. (Ac 24:5) Since many Jews had the name Jesus, it was common to add a further identification; the practice of associating people with the places from which they came was customary in Bible times. (2Sa 3:
Rabboni: A Semitic word meaning “My Teacher.” It may be that “Rabboni” was originally more respectful or conveyed more warmth than the form “Rabbi,” a title of address meaning “Teacher.” (Joh 1: