Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
2 Samuel 11 – In the spring, David sends his army to besiege Rabbah (Ammonite city east of the Jordan). But he remains behind in Jerusalem. He sees a beautiful woman, Bathsheba, bathing on the roof of her house. He sends someone “to inquire about the woman” (11:3), and it turns out she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite, who is off fighting with Joab. David sends for her and sleeps with her. She gets pregnant and David has a problem on his hands.
David sends word to Joab to send Uriah home. After asking Uriah how things at the front are going, he tells Uriah to go home and “wash [his] feet” (11:8) -- relax. He wants him to sleep with Bathsheba. But Uriah is too virtuous to do anything so pleasurable when the army is suffering at the front (11:11). David has him over again, this time to get him tipsy, so he will go home and do his duty. But Uriah still does not. So David sends Uriah back with a note to Joab instructing him to place Uriah in a position of danger so he will be killed (11:15).
It happens as David plans. Joab sends word along with a reminder that what happened was done at the request of David. When Bathsheba learns that Uriah has been killed, she mourns for him. But soon after, David sends for her and makes her one of his wives. She bears him a son. We are told that the Lord is not pleased (11:27).
Mark 10:32-52 - Jesus has talked generally about the fact that he will be “handed over” to men who want to kill him, but now Jesus lets them know that it is in Jerusalem – where they are headed – that he will face this passion. Disciples James and John just seem to be thinking about which one of them will be most important when Jesus is on his “throne” in the kingdom they are sure he is going to end up in. I guess it’s possible they understood that Jesus’ passion – his humiliation and death – would result in a “glory” that was other-worldly; but they sound so full of a sense of their own importance, it seems more likely to me that they think whatever suffering lies ahead will end up in a worldly victory and that they will be recognized as Jesus’ leading friends. The other disciples see James and John as self-seeking and highly annoying.
He tells them they will indeed “drink the cup” he drinks but that they just don’t “get” what his “kingdom” is about. Jesus rebukes them all for looking forward to reigning over others. Jesus’ “kingdom” is not about “reigning” over others. It’s about serving others. “[W]hoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life [as] a ransom for many” (10:43-45).
In Jericho, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar meets them and shouts at Jesus (“Son of David”) to have mercy on him. The disciples try to keep him away but he cries out even louder to Jesus. The man calls Jesus “my teacher” and he begs Jesus to let him see, which of course Jesus does.