Mark 10:2 the Pharisees came to him... tempting him
"And what of the power of that simple unembellished voice of Mark, the shortest, most direct of all the presentations of the life of the Savior? How clearly that firm voice sounds in our ears as Mark recounts the drama of the Christ contending powerfully with his Pharisaic adversaries and counseling patiently his astonished disciples.... It is not a subtle contest carried on in backbiting whispers, but a face-to-face challenge as the scribes and Pharisees point and gesture, question, and demand... In every encounter Jesus gives an answer that is the simplest possible and yet the one most devastating to those seeking to thwart his work." (Neal E. Lambert and Richard H. Cracroft, "The Powerful Voices of the Gospels," New Era, Jan. 1973, 38)
Mark 10:9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder
"Elder Bruce R. McConkie has commented, 'Divorce is not part of the gospel plan no matter what kind of marriage is involved. But because men [and women] in practice do not always live in harmony with gospel standards, the Lord permits divorce [as in Moses' time] for one reason or another, depending upon the spiritual stability of the people involved. ...
"'In this day divorces are permitted in accordance with civil statutes, and the divorced persons are permitted by the Church to marry again without the stain of immorality which under a higher system would attend such a course.' (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1973, 1:547.)
"If our societies were on a higher plane, then, marriage covenants would be held in great, sacred trust; essentially, divorce would not exist or be considered except for truly serious reasons such as adultery. I would also suggest that in a higher system, with individuals living in harmony with all the Lord's teachings, there would be no such serious problems and thus no divorce.
"Unfortunately, our societies are less than ideal. Some persons do live in unbearably difficult marital circumstances, suffering as victims of spouse abuse, substance abuse, promiscuity, and other evils that are sometimes addressed through divorce as a last resort. In such cases, the Lord in his mercy 'permits his agents to exercise the power to loose [to authorize divorce] as well as the power to bind.' (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 204.)
"President David O. McKay stated, "In the light of scripture, ancient and modern, we are justified in concluding that Christ's ideal pertaining to marriage is the unbroken home, and conditions that cause divorce are violations of his divine teachings. ... There may be circumstances which make the continuance of the marriage state a greater evil than divorce. But these are extreme cases-they are the mistakes, the calamities in the realm of marriage. If we could remove them I would say there never should be a divorce. It is Christ's ideal that home and marriage should be perpetual-eternal." (Treasures of Life, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1965, p. 66.)" (Jonathan M. Chamberlain, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Jan. 1993, 59-60)
James A. Cullimore
Marriage is a sacred relationship entered into primarily for the rearing of a family, in fulfillment of the commandments of the Lord.
Marriage with children, and the beautiful family relationship which can come of it, is the fulfillment of life. If things were as they should be, we would see a mother and father in a home having been married in the temple for time and eternity. The father honoring his priesthood, presiding in his home in righteousness. Father and mother loving each other and their children. Children loving and respecting each other and mother and father. All actively engaged in their church responsibilities. The Lord intended that marriage performed for eternity in the temple should endure forever. This was his plan. President Joseph Fielding Smith has said: "Marriage, as understood by Latter-day Saints, is a covenant ordained to be everlasting. It is the foundation for eternal exaltation, for without it there could be no eternal progress in the kingdom of God." (Doctrines of Salvation [Bookcraft, 1967], vol. 2, p. 58.)
"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Mark 10:9.) It is evident from the scriptures that marriage performed in the Lord's way should not be dissolved.
It is sad, indeed, to see how lightly some take their marriage vows. There is great concern among the Brethren as to the increasing number of divorces in the Church today.
Even though the divorce rate among members of the Church is considerably less than the national rate, and the rate of divorce among those married in the temple is less than with those married civilly, yet the rate is alarmingly high.
Divorce is usually the result of one or both not living the gospel. I suppose this is the same reason divorce was finally permitted in the time of Moses, as referred to by the Savior as he answered the Pharisees, when he said: "Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so." (Matt. 19:8.) And so in our day members do not abide by the law of the gospel in its fullness, and, as in the day of Moses, divorce is permitted, when deemed necessary, although it was never intended to be.
If, in marriage, both parties would make gospel standards and principles the basis of their marriage, few problems would arise they could not handle. When one or the other or both begin to compromise gospel standards, problems follow. Marriage is a sacred relationship, and good members of the Church would know that it is entered into primarily for the rearing of a family. ("Marriage Is Intended to Be Forever," Ensign, June 1971, 93)
Mark 10:10 And in the house his disciples asked him the same question
Singular to Mark's account is the detail that this doctrine was taught differently to the Pharisees than to the disciples. To the Pharisees who were trying to trick him, the Master taught that Moses, their great mentor, was allowing divorce because of the wickedness of the people. In so doing, he disarmed their trap, implied they place too much emphasis on Moses, and taught the true principle of marriage.
Once the group had gathered together in the house, this subject resurfaced. It was to his disciples that He taught the celestial standard. Out of earshot of the wicked, the Master taught the consequences of divorce for one who understands the celestial standard. The difficult doctrine was given not to the world but to the elect. Their response was incredulous, "If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry" (Matt. 19:10). The Savior's response again was meant for his disciples, "All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given" (Matt. 19:11) That statement is as true today as it was when the Master taught it. To whom was the saying given? It was to the elect whom the Lord expects can keep such a difficult standard.
Mark 10:13-14 his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased
Franklin D. Richards
Our Savior while here in the flesh, perceiving the people thought that children were of less importance than grown persons, was much displeased and said: "Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." Who, I ask, among my hearers... has listened to their songs, so sweet and melodious, without feeling that the very blessing of the Lord was there, that it was delightful and lovely to be in their midst? Who has gone into the little associations of the Primaries, now held so regularly, among us, and heard them answer their questions, from perhaps the youngest that were able to speak distinctly and articulate so as to be heard-heard them answer the questions put by their teachers concerning the kind of knowledge they are expected to obtain and are obtaining-who among us have attended these associations and listened to those little ones, without feeling the fragrance of heaven shed abroad upon their souls and being sensible that there is to be found in them a beauty of innocence, of sweetness and purity that we cannot expect in the hearts of a concourse of grown people? Jesus said of them: "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." He might also have said, "their angels, their spirits had always dwelt in the presence of God, or before the face of my Father which is in heaven." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 25: 373.)
Mark 10:16 he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them
Jay E. Jensen
The inspiring and tender account of Jesus blessing the children is found in three of the four gospels (see Matt. 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17). The three accounts vary slightly. Matthew reports that Jesus "laid his hands on them" (Matt. 19:15). Luke does not record Him blessing them. Only in Mark's account is found this tender experience: "And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them" (Mark 10:16). We do not know how many children were so blessed to have Him take them into His arms, put His hands on them, and bless them. Painters have captured tender expressions and scenes depicting Jesus holding little children, touching them, or blessing them. Yet happily for all of us, adults included, if we keep the commandments of God and prove faithful, He has promised, "I will encircle thee in the arms of my love" (D&C 6:20). ("Little Children and the Gospel," Ensign, Jan. 1999, 34)
Thomas S. Monson
When I was a boy your age, I too had a teacher in Sunday School. From the Bible she would read to us of Jesus, the Redeemer and the Savior of the world. One day she taught us how the little children were brought to Him, that He should put His hands on them and pray. His disciples rebuked those who brought the children. "But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."
That lesson has never left me. Indeed, years ago I relearned its meaning and partook of its power. My teacher was the Lord. May I share with you this experience.
Far away from Salt Lake City, and some 80 miles from Shreveport, Louisiana, lived the Jack Methvin family. Mother, Dad, and the children are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There was a lovely daughter who, by her presence, graced that home. Her name was Christal. She was but 10 years old when death ended her earthly sojourn.
Christal liked to run and play on the spacious ranch where her family lived. She could ride horses skillfully and excelled in 4-H work, winning awards in the local and state fairs. Her future was bright, and life was wonderful. Then there was discovered on her leg an unusual lump. The specialists in New Orleans completed their diagnosis and rendered their verdict: carcinoma. The leg must be removed.
Christal recovered well from the surgery, lived as buoyantly as ever, and never complained. Then the doctors discovered that the cancer had spread to her tiny lungs.
Christal's condition deteriorated. The end drew nigh. But her faith did not waver. She knew that stake conference was approaching. To her parents she said, "Do you think whoever is assigned to our stake conference could give me a blessing?"
Meanwhile in Salt Lake City, with no knowledge of the events transpiring in Shreveport, an unusual situation developed. For the weekend of the Shreveport Louisiana Stake conference, I had been assigned to El Paso, Texas. President Ezra Taft Benson, who was then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, called me to his office and explained that one of the other Brethren had done some preparatory work regarding the stake division in El Paso. He asked if I would mind were another to be assigned to El Paso and I assigned elsewhere. Of course there was no problem; anywhere would be fine with me. Then President Benson said, "Brother Monson, I feel impressed to have you visit the Shreveport Louisiana Stake."
The assignment was accepted. The day came. I arrived in Shreveport.
That Saturday afternoon was filled with meetings: one with the stake presidency, one with priesthood leaders, one with the patriarch, then yet another with the general leadership of the stake. Rather apologetically, stake president Charles F. Cagle asked if my schedule would permit me time to provide a blessing to a 10-year-old girl afflicted with cancer. Her name: Christal Methvin. I responded that, if possible, I would do so, and then inquired if she would be at the conference, or was she in a Shreveport hospital. Knowing the time was tightly scheduled, President Cagle almost whispered that Christal was confined to her home many miles from Shreveport.
I examined the schedule of meetings for that evening and the next morning, even my return flight. There simply was no available time. An alternative suggestion came to mind. Could we not remember the little one in our prayers at conference? Surely the Lord would understand. On this basis we proceeded with the scheduled meetings.
When the word was communicated to the Methvin family, there was understanding but disappointment as well. They prayed fervently, asking for a final favor-that their precious Christal would realize her desire.
At the very moment the Methvin family knelt in prayer, the clock in the stake center showed the time to be 7:45 P.M. The Saturday leadership meeting had been inspirational. I was sorting my notes, preparing to step to the pulpit, when I heard a voice speak to my spirit. The message was brief, the words familiar: "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." My notes became a blur. My thoughts turned to a tiny girl who desired a blessing. The decision was made, the meeting schedule altered. After all, people are more important than meetings. I turned to Bishop James Serra and asked that he leave the meeting and advise the Methvins.
The Methvin family had just arisen from their knees when the telephone rang and the message was relayed. They were informed that early on Sunday morning-the Lord's day-in a spirit of fasting and prayer, we would journey to Christal's bedside.
I shall ever remember and never forget that early-morning journey to a heaven the Methvin family called home. I have been in hallowed places-even holy houses-but never have I felt more strongly the presence of the Lord than in the Methvin home. Christal looked so tiny, lying peacefully on such a large bed. The room was bright and cheerful. The sunshine from the east window filled the bedroom with light as the Lord filled our hearts with love.
The family surrounded Christal's bedside. I gazed down at a child who was too ill to rise-almost too weak to speak. Her illness had now rendered her sightless. So strong was the Spirit that I fell to my knees, took her frail hand in mine, and said simply, "Christal, I am here." She parted her lips and whispered, "Brother Monson, I just knew you would come." I looked around the room. No one was standing. Each was on bended knee. A blessing was given. A faint smile crossed Christal's face. Her whispered "thank you" provided an appropriate benediction. Quietly, each filed from the room.
Four days later, on Thursday, as Church members in Shreveport joined their faith with the Methvin family and Christal's name was remembered in a special prayer to a kind and loving Heavenly Father, the pure spirit of Christal Methvin left its disease-ravaged body and entered the paradise of God.
...For us there is no need to wonder or to wait. Said the Master, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." To you, Jack and Nancy Methvin, He speaks: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." And from your sweet Christal could well come the comforting expression: "I go to prepare a place for you ... that where I am, there ye may be also." ("The Faith of a Child," Ensign, Aug. 1998, 2-5)
Mark 10:21 Jesus beholding him loved him
Mark's account alone describes Jesus' love for the rich man. How remarkable that Jesus loved this young man! Indeed, he loves us all. He loves us whether we keep all the commandments or not. He even loves those who reject his message. Indeed, he loved the rich man and wanted nothing more than to offer him eternal life. But the covetous man was not ready to accept such a great gift. Ironically, while Jesus beheld him and loved him, he beheld Jesus and loved his riches.
Mark 10:21 One thing thou lackest
Neal A. Maxwell
"We may say quite sincerely and even somewhat accurately that we are doing reasonably well at commandment keeping. Let us ponder, however, the episode with the young man who told the Savior that he too had kept the commandments from his youth. Jesus then gave him an added and very customized challenge: to go and sell all that he had and give the proceeds to the poor and then 'take up the cross, and follow me.' Doing this, said the Savior to the young man, would take care of the 'one thing thou lackest.' (Mark 10:21.) For some of us, would that it were just one thing! But having a healthy consciousness of that which we yet lack can become an additional test and spur. Though we may have already proved we can play checkers, are we now ready to play chess? Are we willing to let the Lord lead us into further developmental experiences? Or do we shrink back? The things that 'greatly enlarge the soul' have no part with shrinking!" (Notwithstanding My Weakness [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 115.)
Harold B. Lee
"We were back East a short time ago and a good bishop made an interesting comment about what he called the saddest words that he knows of a man in high station. He read from the words in the days of the Apostle Paul when Paul before King Agrippa had borne his powerful testimony of his conversion. King Agrippa's reply was, 'Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.' (Acts 26:28.) Then the bishop said, 'The king knew the truth but he lacked the courage to do that which would be required; and he could only say then, 'Almost thou persuadest,' almost persuaded under certain circumstances to do the thing the Lord would want him to do.'
"And then he characterized some things that he discovered in his own ward in a short but powerful sermon. 'In response to the Master, `Come . . . follow me' (Mark 10:21), some members almost,' he said, 'but not quite, say, `thou persuadest me almost to be honest but I need extra help to pass a test.`'
"'Almost thou persuadest me to keep the Sabbath day holy, but it's fun to play ball on Sunday.
"'Almost thou persuadest me to love my neighbor, but he is a rascal; to be tolerant of others' views, but they are dead wrong; to be kind to my sister, but she hit me first-to go home teaching but it's so cold and damp outside tonight; to pay tithes and offerings, but we do need a new color TV set; to find the owner of a lost watch, but no one returned the watch I lost; to pass the Sacrament, but I've graduated from the deacons now, almost thou persuadest me to be reverent, but I had to tell my pal about my date last night; almost thou persuadest me to attend stake leadership meeting, but I know more than the leader on that subject, so why should I go. Thou persuadest me almost to go to Sacrament meeting but there is going to be such an uninteresting speaker tonight. Almost! Almost! Almost! but not quite, not able quite to reach.'" (Conference Report, April 1964, Afternoon Meeting 24.)
Neal A. Maxwell
A customized commandment thus came for that man. It was something he needed to do, not something he needed to stop doing, that kept him from wholeness...Yes, the avoidance of wickedness remains ever important, but the sins of omission also represent a haunting failure. How often, may I ask you, do we speak about the need for repentance concerning our sins of omission? Or how often do we make personal confessions of them to God? ("The Pathway of Discipleship," Ensign, Sept. 1998, 8)
Neal A. Maxwell
The Lord's focus is not on the one thing we do which is good, but, instead, on the one or more things we still lack in order to have eternal life. (See Mark 10:21; 2 Pet. 1:9.) To compose a symphony, to win a battle, or to save a company-each can be a commendable and worthy entry in the book of life, but these do not fully compensate for breaking the seventh commandment. In the arithmetic of heaven, several commendables do not cancel out one inexcusable! ("Answer Me," Ensign, Nov. 1988, 33)
Mark 10:21 come, take up the cross, and follow me
The Master was really requesting two things of the young ruler. Not only was he required to donate his money to the poor. That was only the first step. The second, more important step was to give his heart and soul to the Savior-to begin a life of service-not just keeping the commandments, but to 'take up the cross' and follow Him.
Alvin R. Dyer
"The young man erroneously thought that Jesus referred to the distribution of his earthly riches only...Actually he was being given the challenge of service. It is not enough to keep the commandments of commission only, as Jesus clarified, for if one is to find the real meaning of a successful life and to understand fully the message of Jesus Christ, there must be service given unto others." (Conference Report, October 1962, First Day-Morning Meeting 11.)
John A. Widstoe
"I have the feeling, brethren, that we can't accomplish this work unless we give our whole selves to it. Half-hearted service will not suffice. There must be complete surrender to this work if it shall accomplish the purposes of the Almighty. The old proverb maker said: 'Son, son, give me thine heart.' Are we giving our hearts to this work that the purposes of the Lord may be accomplished? That is the question for us in this day. That surrender, that giving of one's self, must be full of eagerness. We must not wait to be called to serve. You know what the Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith a long time ago about men who wait to be called. We must be eager in service. You remember the story from the days of Christ:
'And when he [Jesus] 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?' (Mark 10:17.)
"That story is for us today, leaders in Israel. Are we so eager that we run to do the will of God, to help work out his purposes?" (Conference Report, April 1945, Afternoon Meeting 94.)
Mark 10:22 he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved
"A Protestant commentator, John MacArthur, offered the following insight into this sad scenario: Jesus 'challenged his claim to having kept the law. In effect, Christ told the young man, `You say you love your neighbor as yourself. OK, give him everything you've got. If you really love him as much as you love yourself, that should be no problem.`
"'Here is the ultimate test: will this man obey the Lord? Jesus is not teaching salvation by philanthropy. He is not saying it is possible to buy eternal life with charity. But He is saying, `Are you going to do what I want you to do? Who will run your life, you or I?` The Lord put his finger on the very nerve of this man's existence. Knowing where his heart was, He said, `Unless I can be the highest authority in your life, there's no salvation for you.` By placing Himself alongside the man's wealth and demanding he make the choice, our Lord revealed the true state of the young man's heart.
"'Do we literally have to give away everything we own to become Christians? No, but we do have to be willing to forsake all (Luke 14:33), meaning we cling to nothing that takes precedence over Christ. We must be eager to do whatever he asks. . . . The Lord made a frontal attack on the man's weakness-the sin of covetousness, indulgence, and materialism.'
"'We might well ask,' Elder Bruce R. McConkie observed, ' `Isn't it enough to keep the commandments? What more is expected of us than to be true and faithful to every trust? Is there more than the law of obedience?`
"'In the case of our rich young friend there was more. He was expected to live the law of consecration. . . . We are left to wonder what intimacies he might have shared with the Son of God, what fellowship he might have enjoyed with the apostles, what revelations and visions he might have received, if he had been able to live the law of a celestial kingdom. As it is he remains nameless; as it might have been, his name could have been had in honorable remembrance among the saints forever.'" (Robert L. Millet, An Eye Single to the Glory of God: Reflections on the Cost of Discipleship [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 31-32.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"...any determination to seek greater consecration will soon expose what we yet lack, a painful but necessary thing. Remember the rich, righteous young man who was told by Jesus, 'One thing thou lackest'? (Mark 10:21.) Ananias and Sapphira, otherwise good members of the Church, 'kept back' a portion instead of consecrating their all. (Acts 5:1-11.) Some would never sell Jesus for thirty pieces, but they would not give Him their all either!
"Unfortunately, we tend to think of consecration only in terms of property and money. But there are so many ways of keeping back part. One might be giving of money and time and yet hold back a significant portion of himself. One might share talents publicly yet privately retain a particular pride. One might hold back from kneeling before God's throne and yet bow to a particular gallery of peers. One might accept a Church calling but have his heart more set on maintaining a certain role in the world." ("Settle This in Your Hearts," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 66)
Neal A. Maxwell
"The portions of the key attributes lacking in each of us vary from person to person. It is meekness which facilitates working on what is lacking. For instance, the rich, righteous young man, otherwise clearly a high achiever, who came to Jesus asking what he might do to have eternal life, was told, 'One thing thou lackest' (Mark 10:21; see also Luke 18:22). His lack was not of marketplace acumen or of honesty in business affairs; instead, he lacked meekness. This, alas, kept him from doing that customized thing which Jesus asked him to do-sell all that he had, give to the poor, and come follow Him. The young man lacked consecration." (Henry B. Eyring, ed., On Becoming a Disciple Scholar [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1995], 14 - 15.)
Mark 10:24 how hard is it for them that trust in riches
"The acquisition of material riches is not prohibited in the scriptures; however, there are instructions about how one should manage whatever he obtains.
"When the rich man was 'grieved' at the prospect of giving his 'great possessions' to the poor, Jesus declared, 'How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!' This astonished the disciples, so Jesus explained, '... how hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!' (Mark 10:21-24. Italics added.)
"It has also been observed: 'There is a sore evil which I have seen ... namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt' (Eccl. 5:13), because the possessors supposed 'that gain is godliness' (1 Tim. 6:5). Paul also pointed out that it is not money per se, but 'the love of money [that] is the root of all evil. ...' (1 Tim. 6:10. Italics added.)" (Robert J. Matthews, "Searching the Scriptures: Managing Money and Earthly Treasures," Ensign, Sept. 1973, 25)
Dallin H. Oaks
"This man's failing was not his possession of riches but his attitude toward them. As was demonstrated by his apparent failure to follow the Savior's challenge, he still lacked the attitude toward the things of this world that is required to 'inherit eternal life.' As the Prophet Joseph Smith taught in our own day, 'A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation' (Lectures on Faith 6:7)." (Pure in Heart [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 76.)
Harold B. Lee
"I bear witness that until a person has been willing to sacrifice all he possess in the world, not even withholding his own life if it were necessary for the upbuilding of the kingdom, then only can he claim kinship to Him who gave his life that men might be." (Latter-day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels, by Pinegar, Bassett, and Earl, p. 276)
Mark 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God
"A hyperbole is a statement exaggerated for effect. It is a way of verbally underscoring an idea or principle. Hyperbole or overstatement is a figure of speech common to peoples of all ages, and it is natural that the scriptures would abound with it. It can be used in flattery, as in the song of the dancing women: 'Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands' (1 Samuel 18:7). It is also used in lament: 'They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions' (2 Samuel 1:23). It was a device frequently used by Jesus. To the Pharisees he said, you 'strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel' (Matthew 23:24). To those who trusted in their wealth he said, 'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God' (Mark 10:25). Literalists suggest to us that the needle's eye was the name for a low gate, like the door into the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem, but since we find him using exaggerated statements so effectively and frequently one is left to wonder why the fuss in this instance." (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Gospel Symbolism [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1999], 22.)
Mark 10:26 they were astonished out of measure, saying... Who then can be saved?
Neal A. Maxwell
The hard sayings of the scriptures are, therefore, in fact just that. They are especially hard to bear if we are guilty. Little wonder that we read on one occasion how, having heard the rigorous requirements of a revealed religion, the disciples of Jesus became anxious. Of them we read:
And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? (Mark 10:26; italics added.)
The ways of God are not the ways of the world. Just because sometimes behavior is changed gradually is no reason to obscure the ideal. ("Some Thoughts on the Gospel and the Behavioral Sciences," Ensign, July 1976, 72)
Mark 10:27 with God all things are possible
Russell M. Nelson
"How is it possible to achieve the 'impossible'? Learn and obey the teachings of God. From the holy scriptures, heaven-sent lift will be found for heaven-sent duties. To so achieve, at least three basic scriptural themes loom repeatedly as requirements. [These are 1) Faith, 2) Focus, 3) Strength and Courage]
"...You who may be momentarily disheartened, remember, life is not meant to be easy. Trials must be borne and grief endured along the way. As you remember that 'with God nothing shall be impossible' (Luke 1:37), know that He is your Father. You are a son or daughter created in His image, entitled through your worthiness to receive revelation to help with your righteous endeavors. You may take upon you the holy name of the Lord. You can qualify to speak in the sacred name of God (see D&C 1:20). It matters not that giants of tribulation torment you. Your prayerful access to help is just as real as when David battled his Goliath (see 1 Sam. 17).
"Foster your faith. Fuse your focus with an eye single to the glory of God. 'Be strong and courageous' (2 Chr. 32:7), and you will be given power and protection from on high. 'For I will go before your face,' the Lord declared. 'I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up' (D&C 84:88).
"The great latter-day work of which we are a part shall be accomplished. Prophecies of the ages shall be fulfilled. 'For with God all things are possible' (Mark 10:27), I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." ("With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible," Ensign, May 1988, 35)
Mark 10:30 he shall receive an hundredfold
"'The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home ...' Just a song. But not so to Allen and Elisabeth Terry, who, after having spent eighteen months in the Kentucky Louisville Mission, consider the area their second home. In fact, letters from their Sulphur Well or Glasgow Branch 'families' often end with, 'Y'all come back home to Kentuck-and stay!'
"The urge to return to those rolling green hills and country folk, to towns with names like Bugtussell, Chicken Bristle, and Knob Lick, was so strong, in fact, that after completing their mission and returning to Salt Lake City, the Terrys headed back to Kentucky to visit for a spell.
"It's obvious that this gentle couple-he, twice bishop, and she, a convert from Germany who has served in every auxiliary at least once-is loved by the Kentuckians among whom they labored with experienced devotion. It's the little, homespun things that tell the tale. For example, whenever the branch held a potluck dinner (sixty or so members who came to the party loaded three long tables with more than one hundred different succulent, downhome, Southern dishes), some of the sisters always remembered to bring desserts flavored with artificial sweeteners, just for Brother Terry. 'How do you think that made me feel?' he sighs. 'See, I'm diabetic.'
"...How did such a touching relationship begin, one that brought two cultures together and created bonds of love and respect that the Terrys will cherish for eternity? It started when this faithful couple decided to heed the call of a prophet urging retired couples who are financially and physically able to serve full-time missions for the Church.
"'Were you afraid to go?'
'"No. We were a little nervous about renting our home out. And it's hard to leave the children and grandchildren too. But the prophet says every year in conference that these aren't reasons not to go-so, when the bishop asked us, we agreed.'
"'And your children? Were they supportive?'
"'Oh, yes. Wonderful.'
"'Let me read you something,' says Brother Terry, reaching for his Bible. 'This is what really convinced us everything would be all right.' [Quotes] Mark 10:28-30...
"'We saw a fulfillment of that scripture,' says Brother Terry with great conviction. 'We did gain homes and children and brothers, a hundred times over.'
"'We certainly didn't lose a thing,' agrees Sister Terry." (Renon Klossner Hulet , "Y'all Come Back to Kentuck-and Stay!" Ensign, Apr. 1983, 16-18)
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
"Do not forget the goodness and the mercy and the kindness of the Savior. Do not forget the blessings which the Gospel has for you. Do not overlook the joy of the Spirit, the joy which comes from living as the Savior has taught us to live.
"Remember that when the Savior was here and bestowed the blessings which he, the Divine One, had to give, in no case did he give riches. He gave health, he gave strength, he restored sight, he made the dumb to speak, he pardoned sin, he led people from sin. The one thing that he did not do was to give of earthly riches, and in this conversation with the rich young man, he tells us why he did not make this gift.
"And so, I would like to leave with you this thought, this message, that you will seek after the treasures of the Spirit, seek after the riches of goodness and mercy and righteous living. Go always after those things which are good. Follow along as you have been doing, seeking the finer cultural things of life. Discard the dross, cast it aside, trample it underfoot; cherish always and guard that which is beautiful in your lives....Let all your activities, everything that you do in life, let them all lead unto this great fundamental fact, that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Only Begotten, and there shall come to you in this life joy and peace and happiness; there shall come to you more satisfaction in living and following this life than anything else you could do in this world; and in the life which is to follow after this there shall come eternal lives-the highest glory which can come to man." (Behold the Lamb of God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 337-338.)
Mark 10:33-34 The Savior prophecies of his sufferings, death, and resurrection
The Master could not have described the future with language any more simple and clear than used here. Yet, the disciples could not bear it. They could not understand-or perhaps did not want to understand what was to transpire. Each of them still held to the notion of a Messiah as understood by the culture of the day-a political emancipator. When the Master started to paint a different picture of His destiny, the Apostles struggled.
How often does our cultural understanding inhibit our ability to see what the Lord is trying to show us? Are we so set in our preconceived notions, that we miss what is plainly before us? The Prophet Joseph ran into this same problem.
There has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle. Even the Saints are slow to understand.
I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 331.)
Mark 10:40 to sit on my right hand and on my left... shall be given to them for whom it is prepared
The prophets who are on Christ's right and left hand will likely be the greatest prophets in the history of the earth. Michael and Gabriel would certainly be candidates. However, there is an irony in the Master's response. He appropriately puts down the brothers' lofty aspirations, but in reality, they will both be on his right side, clothed in glory, when He comes again.
And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, and it hath gone forth in a firm decree, by the will of the Father, that mine apostles, the Twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem, shall stand at my right hand at the day of my coming in a pillar of fire, being clothed with robes of righteousness, with crowns upon their heads, in glory even as I am, to judge the whole house of Israel... (D&C 29:12)
Mark 10:41 when the ten heard it, they began to much displeased with James and John
James E. Talmage
The ten apostles were indignant at the two brothers, possibly less through disapproval of the spirit that had prompted the petition than because the two had forestalled the others in applying for the chief posts of distinction. But Jesus, patiently tolerant of their human weaknesses, drew the Twelve around Him, and taught them as a loving father might instruct and admonish his contentious children. He showed them how earthly rulers, such as princes among the Gentiles, domineer over their subjects, manifesting lordship and arbitrarily exercising the authority of office. But it was not to be so among the Master's servants; whoever of them would be great must be a servant indeed, willingly ministering unto his fellows; the humblest and most willing servant would be the chief of the servants. "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Jesus the Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 468.)
Mark 10:44 whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all
H. Burke Peterson
A selfless person is one who is more concerned about the happiness and well-being of another than about his or her own convenience or comfort, one who is willing to serve another when it is neither sought for nor appreciated, or one who is willing to serve even those whom he or she dislikes. A selfless person displays a willingness to sacrifice, a willingness to purge from his or her mind and heart personal wants, and needs, and feelings. Instead of reaching for and requiring praise and recognition for himself, or gratification of his or her own wants, the selfless person will meet these very human needs for others. Remember the words of the Savior as he taught his disciples on an occasion when personal recognition was being sought: "But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, ... whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 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 10:42-45.) ("Selflessness: A Pattern for Happiness," Ensign, May 1985, 66)
Mark 10:47 Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me
"How simple Mark's message is. There is no artifice, no embellishment, no filigree. There is just the quiet, straightforward, but powerful narrative that builds with unalloyed intensity, reducing the gospel message and Christian living to its essence. Consider, for instance, the remarkable account of Bartimaeus, the blind man, sitting by the roadside just outside Jericho, begging from the passersby, hearing the shuffle and shouts of an approaching crowd, discerning in the passing hubbub one name repeated again and again, realizing, crying out of his own darkness into the dust and confusion of the highway, 'Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.' The people of the crowd looking down on this negligible bit of human flotsam, telling him to be quiet, to 'hold his peace,' but Bartimaeus persisting, continuing his cries louder and louder. It is easy to see what an imaginative writer might do with such possibilities. But listen to the absolute simplicity of Mark's conclusion of these events, and feel the power of his unadorned narrative:
And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. (Mark 10:49-52.)
"How joyous it would be if we too could have the faith to call without ceasing, to arise, to see, to be whole again, and, by the power of our faith, take the way with our Master. Through the words of Mark this joy comes nearer to realization. Simplicity is power, in words and in faith." (Neal E. Lambert and Richard H. Cracroft, "The Powerful Voices of the Gospels," New Era, Jan. 1973, 39-40)