1a) Mar 9:14-37, Possibility + prophecy + greatness in the kingdom:
1) Mar 9:14-29, All things are possible to him who believes;
2) Mar 9:30-32, The Son of Man will be betrayed, killed, and rise on the third day;
3) Mar 9:33-37, They disputed who would be the greatest + if anyone desires to be first he shall be servant of all;
1b) Mar 9:38-41, We forbade him because he does not follow us + Do not forbid him;
1c) Mar 9:42-48, Cut off the causes of sin;
central axis) Mar 9:49-50, Everyone will be seasoned with fire + have salt in yourselves + have peace with one another;
2c) Mar 10:1-12, Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept;
2b) Mar 10:13-16, The disciples rebuked them + let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them;
2a) Mar 10:17-45, Possibility + prophecy + greatness in the kingdom:
1) Mar 10:17-31, With God all things are possible;
2) Mar 10:32-34, The Son of Man will be betrayed, killed, and rise on the third day;
3) Mar 10:35-45, Whoever desires to become great shall be your servant + whoever desires to be first shall be slave of all.
Most of the individual elements also form smaller chiastic structures. I found the c pair most interesting. How does cutting off the causes of sin pair with Jesus’ discourse on marriage and divorce? And yet, the structure cannot be made any other way. The surrounding elements force the c pair together.
The reason for the law of divorce, Jesus told them, is because they have hardness of heart. In other words, adultery is a sin. Do not commit adultery is one of the Ten Commandments. Disobedience to commandments is the definition of sin, we learned. If you divorce your wife and marry another, you commit adultery. You force your wife to commit adultery when she must marry another.
So what is the cause of this sin? Hardness of heart. You are unwilling to live in peace with each other. Everyone will be seasoned with fire (in other words, trouble will come, testing will come). How do we respond to that trouble and testing? By living in peace with each other, doing the things that Jesus has been teaching us: turning the other cheek, forgiving, taking up our cross and following Him, who did not come to BE served but to serve? And He served without seeing an immediate reward. He is still waiting to come into His full reward. If we do these things, we will bear patiently with trouble, testing, and the imperfections of our mate, loving and serving them instead of divorcing them because WE did not get what WE want.
Hardness of heart is the cause of sin, He is teaching us. Cut off the causes of sin, cut off the worldliness and fleshliness and selfishness of our hearts, and circumcise our hearts afresh to You, O God!