This past sunday, Pastor Larry pointed out something in Mark 10:35-52 I had never seen before.
When reading Mark's version of James' and john's request in 10:35-45, I had previously been struck with the question as to whether Jesus was referring to the two thieves who were "on his left and right" when coming into his glory (and more recently the point that Jesus says James and John will drink the same "cup" he does and undergo the same baptism...an observation with significant soteriological ramifications.)
But Pastor Larry pointed out something more direct and obvious.
The sermon text was the gospel text for the day, and as it was being read, I realized Mark 10:51 is pretty silly. A blind beggar cries "Have mercy on me Son of David" and Jesus asks "what do you want me to do for you?"
Well...duh. Blind beggar.... No points for guessing the answer.
But then in the sermon the pastor pointed out Mark's purpose here, and Jesus' question makes a lot more sense. Jesus asked Bartimaeus the same question as he asked James and John.
In other words, we have another example of Mark casting the disciples in an unenviable light.
So, clearly we are meant to compare/contrast the interaction of John/James with Jesus and the interaction of Bartimaeus with Jesus. The question is...what are the conclusions Mark intends for us to draw?