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.—See study note on Mt 19:1 and App. A7, Map 5.
certificate of dismissal: See study note on Mt 19:7.
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: See study note on Mt 19:5.
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 5:32.) What Mark wrote in quoting Jesus regarding divorce applies if the grounds for obtaining the divorce is anything other than “sexual immorality” (Greek, por·neiʹa) committed by the unfaithful marriage partner.
commits adultery against her: Jesus here rejects the prevailing Rabbinic teaching that allowed men to divorce their wives “on every sort of grounds.” (Mt 19:3, 9) The concept of committing adultery against his wife was alien to most Jews. Their rabbis taught that a husband could never commit adultery against his wife—only a woman could be unfaithful. By putting the husband under the same moral obligation as the wife, Jesus dignifies women and elevates their status.
if ever a woman after divorcing her husband: With this phrase, Jesus recognizes the right of a woman to divorce an unfaithful husband—something that was evidently not acceptable to the Jews of his day. According to Jesus, however, under the Christian system, the same standard would apply to men and women.
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 1:59) but also of Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter (Mr 5:39-42). However, in the parallel account at Lu 18:15, which describes Jesus’ interaction with this group of young ones, Luke uses a different Greek word, one that refers only to very small children, or infants.—Lu 1:41; 2:12.
like a young child: Refers to having the desirable qualities of young children. Such qualities include being humble, teachable, trustful, and receptive.—Mt 18:5.
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 9:36 and could also be rendered “embrace.” Jesus exceeded the expectations of the adults who brought these children to Jesus so that he might merely “touch” them. (Mr 10:13) As the oldest of a family of at least seven children, he understood the needs of young children. (Mt 13:55, 56) Jesus even began blessing them. The Greek word used here is an intensified form of the word for “to bless,” which could be understood to mean that he tenderly and warmly blessed them.
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. (Ge 2:17; 3:4-6) 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.—Mr 10:19.
felt love for him: Only Mark records Jesus’ sentiments toward the rich young ruler. (Mt 19:16-26; Lu 18:18-30) Peter, himself a man of deep emotion, may have been the source of this description of Jesus’ feelings.—See “Introduction to Mark.”
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.”—Mr 10:27.
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.—Lu 18:29, 30; see Glossary, “System(s) of things.”
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 2:22; Joh 2:13; Ac 11:2) Jesus and his disciples were about to ascend from the Jordan Valley (see study note on Mr 10:1), which at its lowest point is about 400 m (1,300 ft) below sea level. They would have to climb some 1,000 m (3,330 ft) to reach Jerusalem.
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.”—Mt 20:20-24; see study notes on Mt 4:21; 20:20.
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.—Ps 110:1; Ac 7:55, 56; Ro 8:34; see study note on Mt 25:33.
drink the cup: See study note on Mt 20:22.
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 Mt 20:22.) 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 6:3, 4) Jesus’ baptism into death is clearly distinct and separate from his water baptism, for he had completely undergone water baptism at the beginning of his ministry, at which time his baptism into death had only begun.
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 2:16; Joh 11:48) Peter evidently got the point, later urging Christian elders to lead by example, not by domination. (1Pe 5:3) A related verb is used at Lu 22:25, where Jesus expresses a similar idea, and it is also used at 2Co 1:24, where Paul says that Christians are not to be “masters over” the faith of fellow believers.
life: See study note on Mt 20:28.
Jericho: See study note on Mt 20:29.
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 3:2, 3; 17:27; 23:25-39; Na 1:1; Ac 13:1; 21:29) Jesus lived most of his early life in the town of Nazareth in Galilee, so it was natural to use this term regarding him. Jesus was often referred to as “the Nazarene,” in different situations and by various individuals. (Mr 1:23, 24; 10:46, 47; 14:66-69; 16:5, 6; Lu 24:13-19; Joh 18:1-7) Jesus himself accepted the name and used it. (Joh 18:5-8; Ac 22:6-8) On the sign that Pilate placed on the torture stake, he wrote in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek: “Jesus the Nazarene the King of the Jews.” (Joh 19:19, 20) From Pentecost 33 C.E. onward, the apostles as well as others often spoke of Jesus as the Nazarene or as being from Nazareth.—Ac 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 6:14; 10:38; 26:9; see also study note on Mt 2:23.
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 1:38) However, when John did his writing, perhaps the first person suffix (“-i” meaning “my”) on this word had lost its special significance in the title, for John translates it “Teacher.”—Joh 20:16.