Lesson 13: Mark -Chapter 12

First read Mark 12 all the way through.

The ‘Supernatural’ Acts and Events in Mark 12

Things you don’t see everyday:

Verses 6-12:

-Parable of the tenant foretells the death of Jesus.

Verse 15:

– Jesus prophetically knew that they were trying to trap him.

Verses 15-17:

-The Roman coin and Caesar answer is truly inspired.

Verse 25:

-Prophetic info.: The risen dead will not marry.

Verse 40:

-Jesus predicts that the teachers opposing him will be punished.

Verse 44:

-Prophetic/word of knowledge-widow gave all she had.

Now read it again in detail along with  the Notes and Commentary below:

Notes and Commentary:

Jesus Teaching in The Temple –Chapter 12

Jesus began teaching in the Temple in the form of parables.  Notice that after a while, the authorities began to perceive that Jesus was talking against them, particularly in the Parable of the Tenants.

I.  The Parable of The Tenants –Verses 1-12

The Vineyard in this parable represents Israel. 

Verses 2-5:  The servants that the master sent represents the prophets. Many were mistreated over the years by the authorities in Israel and even killed. 

Verses 6-9:  The tenants kill the Master’s Son figuring that they will gain the vineyard in the process.  The Master in the parable kills unfaithful tenants and gives the vineyard to others. Jesus is really the master’s son in this parable.

In 70 AD the temple and Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and the leaders at that time were killed fulfilling this parable.  

Verses 10-11:  Jesus also represents the rejected stone of Psalm 118:22.  The time is coming when he is going to put a cap on history and an end to the present age.

Verses 12:  The chief priests confirm what Jesus is alluding to in the parable. They are looking for some way to arrest him but are afraid of the crowds that are following him. Later they would not only have him arrested but killed.

II.  Give To Caesar and To God –Verses 13-17

Again the Pharisees, along with some Herodians, try to trap Jesus.  They start out pretending to pay Jesus a complement, however Jesus perceives their hypocrisy. 

Verses 14b-15:  They are presenting Jesus with a clever ‘no win’ scenario.  If Jesus says to go ahead and pay Roman taxes, then many of his supporters, especially Zealots, would probably abandon him, so these ‘smart guys’ reason.  On the other hand, if Jesus tells them not to pay the taxes, then they can charge him with treason before the Roman authorities.  Actually, quite a brilliant plan. 

Verses 15b-17:  However, Jesus sees the trap and resolved the question in such a way that even the ‘smart guys’ were amazed.  Notice that he ends with: “and to God what is God’s”-after all, God is really the ultimate authority. on that they can all agree.

III.  Marriage and The Resurrection –Verses 18-27

Verses 18-23:  Next, a bunch of Sadducees, who didn’t believe in the Resurrection, try to demonstrate the crazy problems one might experience in the Resurrection if one had been remarried a number of times. After seven marriages, who would one be married to in the after life? 

This was probably one of the favorite unsolvable questions that they usually presented to their ‘smart’ Pharisee adversaries (who believed in the resurrection).  No one had ever been able to solve this problem before so the Sadducees were confident that they had Jesus where they wanted him.

Verse 24:  But Jesus spoke with unusual authority and proclaimed that there would  be no marriage in the life to come. 

Verses 25-27:  Then he deals brilliantly with the real question and demonstrates the truth of the resurrection and the after life, by quoting from the Pentateuch (first five books), the only scriptures that the Sadducees fully recognized. 

Jesus, quoted from Exodus 3:1-6,  citing God himself as proof for the continuing existence of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in an after life.  The Sadducees had to be surprised and totally defeated by his answer.

IV.  The Greatest Commandments –Verses 28-34

The final question of the day posed to Jesus comes from one of the scribes or teachers.  This seems to be a genuine query rather than a trap. 

Verse 29-31:  This teaching of Jesus is just as valid for Christians today.  We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Secondly, we are called to love others as ourselves. 

Verse 32-34:  Notice that this teacher agrees with Jesus and states that these two commandments were more important than “all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  Jesus commends this teacher:  “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”  Later, hundreds of scribes, teachers, and Pharisees joined the early Christian church.  Perhaps this teacher was one of them. 

I love the last line of verse 34: 

“And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.” 

Obviously, Jesus had demonstrated his superiority that day over the smartest and the best educated men in Judea.

V.  The Messiah is Son of David and More? –Verses 35-37

Now it is Jesus’ turn to ask a question and there were no takers. But the regular folks are hanging on his every word.

Jesus points out that according to the scriptures, the Christ (the Messiah or the ‘anointed one’) was supposed to be a descendant (a son) of King David, and yet in Psalm 110:1, David refers to his descendant as ‘Lord’:

David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

Jesus does not answer his own question here, but leaves it hanging. In reality, only Jesus could fulfill this scripture as a descendant of David but also the Son of God. But none of the authorities recognized who Jesus really was or even wanted to know.

The answer:  If the Messiah was merely David’s descendant (son), than David would naturally hold the primary position of authority.  However, Jesus was not only the Messiah and a descendant of David, but he was also the Son of God.  Therefore, David recognized his own descendant as his Lord and his superior.

VI.  Who Has Real Authority -the Teachers or Jesus? – Verses 38-40

Now Jesus teaches in the temple to a large crowd, and they listened to him with wonder and delight.  All the ‘smart guys’ were gone, they had enough, but the regular folk received it all with pleasure.

Verse 38:  Jesus than warns the people that the teachers of the law they respect and who are suppose to represent God and his teaching are really hypocrites that will be judged severely by God.

Jesus points out that those teachers of the Law, who demand respect and positions of authority, who seek honor and commendation, but actually rob widows are not following God’s Word at all.

VII.  The Poor Widow’s Offering vs. The Rich –Verses 41-44

Jesus and his disciples watched as people filed in to give money to the temple treasury.  A whole lot of rich folks came in with all sort of ‘pomp and circumstance’ and gave huge amounts of money to the temple.  I am sure that the disciples were appropriately impressed.

Verses 42-44:  Among the crowd was a poor humble widow who dropped in two small copper coins.  She contribution would have probably gone unnoticed except for maybe a sneer by the priest overseeing the collection.  The disciples may have missed it or may have dismissed it along with the temple priest. But they would have been shocked when Jesus said:

“Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.

It was a popular teaching in Israel at the time, and especially among the priests and temple teachers, that the poor were sinners that deserved their poverty while the rich were righteous folks blessed by God. It was a false doctrine but the temple priests would have looked down on the poor widow assuming that she was a ‘sinner.’

But Jesus knew something that they did not know.  The widow gave all she had and was giving it to God fulfilling the First Commandment.  Now that is really righteous and impressive!

-Read: Mark 13 for the next lesson.

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