They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished. Mark 10:32
This chapter covers Jesus’ teaching in many areas. It’s hard to know which area caused the disciples the most astonishment.
Firstly there was his teaching on divorce (verses 2-12) which so surprised the disciples that they asked Jesus about it again when they were alone. Possibly one of the things that surprised them was men, not just women, could be guilty of adultery. This was generally not considered in divorce cases.
Then there was Jesus’ reaction to children (verses 13-16). At this time in history, children were considered insignificant and disposable. Jesus took the time to include them and portrayed them as having valuable things to teach us.
Next, there was Jesus’ teaching about riches (verses 17-27). Jews felt that riches indicated God’s blessings. It was astounding to the disciples that the rich would find it difficult to enter the kingdom of God.
Lastly, there was Jesus’ teaching on rewards (verses 28-31), where God blesses those who were really only doing their duty (Luke 17:10). In all four areas, Jesus’ teaching was completely different to the teaching the disciples had received from their religious teachers and from Roman culture.
Today we are more familiar with Jesus’ teaching. Yet divorce is undertaken lightly. Children still aren’t valued. Riches are seen as significant and God’s rewards aren’t taken seriously. Yet Jesus’ words no longer take us by surprise. We have heard them so often that we take them for granted.
The challenge for us as Christians is to regain the sense of being astonished, to take Jesus’ words seriously, reflect on what they meant to the disciples in their day and consider what the implications are for us.