“and again, as was his custom, he taught them” (Mark 10.1c)
Recently our son began driving. As we spent time with him he obviously began to learn the rules of the road and became more familiar. One thing he seemed to continue to forget about where the speed bumps. We would cruise over them at 35 mph only to elevate and then bottom out. Each time he’d say, “Whoops.” Eventually he learned to slow down a bit as he came upon the speed bumps.
Sometimes, when reading the life of Jesus, we just cruise over the Christological speed bumps. In other words, we jump over what appear to be minor details in order to get to bigger details that we we know are coming.
I would argue, however, that there really are no insignificant items.
Take for instance the above reference to Jesus teaching the crowds. We know that Mark 10 goes on to provide a highly charged debate between Jesus and the Pharisess on the topic of divorce and marriage. In this case Mark puts a Christological speed-bump before us. We are bidden to slow down a bit before charging into the narrative.
When we do slow down, what do we find? We find the truth that Jesus teaches the crowds. Mark adds the emphasis that this was his custom. This passage bleeds compassion. It is like a healthy pine in a forest of verses. There is pitch to be seen and felt as we draw close.