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Bible Commentaries

Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

Mark 12

Verses 13-17

  1. Introduction
    1. READ: Heb 11:8-10 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
    2. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5

      “Our Lord commanded us to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy,” Florea calmly told the prison guards. “I cannot work on this day.”

      The Romanian prisoners were forced to labor every day, but each Sabbath Florea refused. For his refusal, the guards routinely beat him so bad he lost the use of his arms and legs. He could only move his head.

      Because he could no longer labor, Florea was forced to sit in his cell all day long. He had to rely on other prisoners to feed him. In spite of his situation, Florea was not downcast.

      When other prisoners would complain about their situation, Florea would encourage them. “If the outlook is bad,” he would say, “try the 'uplook.’ When Stephen was stoned, he looked up and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. This comforted Stephen’s heart, and it will comfort yours too.” He encouraged his fellow prisoners not to “look out” to their circumstances but to “look up” at Jesus.
    3. Today we will look at 3 small vignettes or episodes in Jesus’ last week on earth. Each will be looked at from context and culture and in each we will look for our life’s application.
    4. Ultimately, as we look at our responsibilities towards our government and to God; as we look at our hope in the resurrection and as we look at the source of our joy…we will seek that gratitude and contentment will lead us to the Joy that only comes from Jesus!
    5. Look at the teachings of Jesus and see how your life can be changed – what area or areas of your life in which God wants you to acquire victory, and to see the amazing blessings that God has already given you!
  2. Your Blessing in Giving
    1. Mar 12:13-17 Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. 14 When they had come, they said to Him, "Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?" But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, "Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it." 16 So they brought it. And He said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this?" They said to Him, "Caesar's." 17 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they marveled at Him.
      1. Jesus is TRUE…Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.
        1. Psa 1:1-2 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
      2. (They say) Jesus cares about no one…He cares about truth but truth cares about people!
        1. ​​​​​​​Mat 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
        2. 1Pe 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
      3. (They say) He regards no one…and that is true with regards to preferential treatment::He loves everyone the same!
        1. ​​​​​​​Jas 2:1, 9, 12 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.
      4. Look also:: He challenges because he knew their hypocrisy… they were as guilty as the rest yet they were seeking to point out the other’s sin! We all need the blood of Christ equally!!!
      5. Render unto Caesar…unto God, God’s
        1. ​​​​​​​Caesar:
          1. ​​​​​​​Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
          2. 1Pe 2:13-16 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men-- 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
        2. God:
          1. ​​​​​​​ Act 20:35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
          2. 2Co 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Verses 18-27

  1. Your Resurrected Body
    1. Mar 12:18-27 Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him, saying: 19 "Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man's brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And the third likewise. 22 So the seven had her and left no offspring. Last of all the woman died also. 23 Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife." 24 Jesus answered and said to them, "Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB' ? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken."
      1. We looked at the rapture in detail last week…but a discussion point that came up in our homegroup discussion is similar to what is being questioned here…
      2. Jesus tells us there is no giving of marriage or marrying in Heaven…why? Because we will be “like” the Angels in Heaven…but, and this is purely my opinion, I don’t think He’s just talking about in physical form…but more in our purpose.
      3. Think about what Paul discusses with us in 1Cor 7…that he wished we all had the gift of celebacy: so that we could be singularly focused upon serving God.
        1. ​​​​​​​1Co 7:32-33 But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord--how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world--how he may please his wife.
      4. Angels are singularly focused on doing the will of God – no matter what God calls them to do…thus, when we are in heaven – we will be singularly focused upon serving our Lord.
        1. ​​​​​​​2Ti 2:11-12a This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him.
        2. Rev 5:9-10 And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."
      5. Certainly know, too, that we will gain different bodies in the rapture: 1Co 15:35-36, 40, 42, 44 But someone will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?" 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
      6. A last thought here…Jesus in bring out that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the God of the living and not of the dead ::: He is saying that there IS A RESURRECTION and proving the Sadducees wrong about the resurrection.
      7. The promise of the resurrection should bring us great comfort and joy – knowing that one day very soon we WILL be with Jesus.​​​​​​​

Verses 28-34

  1. Your First Love
    1. Mar 12:28-34 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?" 29 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'HEAR, O ISRAEL, THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE. 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 32 So the scribe said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." But after that no one dared question Him.
      1. These are meant for us, too – the greatest commandments are to love God and love your neighbor! Everything we do in life will come through these!
      2. Joy in every circumstance will prevail when we are focused on loving God more than anything and then loving our neighbor.
      3. In loving God, believing that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead, in trusting His Word that He will come again for us…Peter says we joy!
      4. 1Pe 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
      5. Also…look at verse 33: loving God and our neighbor trump doing any act of sacrifice. If we don’t love first…nothing else matters! Samuel told King Saul in 1Sam 15 that obedience is better than sacrifice! Why? We are singularly focused on pleasing God and not looking to placate Him through sacrifice or sooth our guilty conscience through some offering. 1Sa 15:22-23 So Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king."
      6. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​There is joy in knowing we have made our Father in Heaven well pleased – let us glorify Him in every area of our lives!
  2. Conclusion
    1. ​​​​​​​To conclude: Let me read from 1Cor 13 – we remember that we are to love like it tells us, but let’s also remember that God loves us perfectly in this way…
    2. 1Co 13:1-8 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

Verses 35-37

  1. Introduction
    1. READ: Rev 19:11-16
      1. Jesus had been being questioned by the religious leaders of the day in an attempt to catch Him or trick Him that they might convict Him and get rid of Him…all unsuccessfully!
      2. Today, we are going to see Jesus starting asking His own questions and end on a teaching point for all of us…the understanding of our sin in relation to His goodness.
      3. We will ask 3 questions today:
        1. ​​​​​​​Is Jesus your Lord?
        2. Do you live sacrificially?
        3. Do you undertand God’s sacrifice and His love?
  2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Is Jesus Your Lord?
    1. ​​​​​​​Mar 12:35-37 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: 'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, TILL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES YOUR FOOTSTOOL."' 37 Therefore David himself calls Him 'LORD'; how is He then his Son?" And the common people heard Him gladly.
      1. Jesus is quoting from Psalm 110:1 which says in the Hebrew, “Jehovah said to Adonai…” è which speaks to God the Father saying to His Son (the Messiah) to sit at His right hand which is the place of honor.
      2. Contextually, in this culture, the younger always called the older “Lord”. Therefore, one who was a descendent of David would naturally call David “Lord” as he is the elder…yet, it says David calls his “Son” Lord which means He only could be the Messiah.
      3. What’s really happening is that Jesus is challenging them – asking them, in a teaching sort of way, do they “REALLY” know who the Messiah is going to be? They were looking for a worldly power to take them out of the Roman’s rule. They were looking for a man, a prophet perhaps, predominantly a King – but they most likely were not looking for God in the form of a man.
      4. The question can be asked of us…”do we really know our Lord and Savior?” Does our life reflect His Lordship?
      5. He is the Son of God, He is God, He is our Savior, He is our Lord, He is our creator, our redeemer, our justifier, our sanctifier and our hope! Jesus is our righteousness, our healer, our banner and our peace. He is our Good Shepherd, the ancient of days, the alpha and the omega and the author of our faith! He is our All in All!
      6. ​​​​​​​Do we see Jesus’ great love for us? Do we recognize the incredible mercy we have received because of His love? Do we walk in His grace day by day?

Verses 38-40

  1. Are Your Prayers to God?
    1. Mar 12:38-40 Then He said to them in His teaching, "Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 40 who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation."
      1. These scribes love the attention! They want people to know them and acknowledge them and not only think highly of themselves but want everyone else to think they are great, too!
        1. ​​​​​​​Mat 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
      2. Their motive was self and pride! Their prayers were made on the horizontal – speaking to people.
      3. Therefore, our motives in public prayer can never be of pride (or self-focus because of pride). …our prayers should be “VERTICAL” meaning to God - short and to the point! God already knows the situation: we just need to lift them up.
      4. Our prayers are not to be sermons (I’ve heard some long prayers before that were really sermonettes in disguise), nor are they to be explanations (because God already knows the situation) or gossip! Simply lift the person or situation up to the Lord and make the petition and let it drop!
      5. What does this mean? Our prayers need to be directed to God and spoken to God and not to people.

Verses 41-44

  1. Is Your Life Sacrificial?
    1. Mar 12:41-44 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."
    2. The widow did not give of her abundance but of her necessity. She gave sacrificially!
    3. David set a precidence for us in 2Sa 24:24 “And the king (meaning David) said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.”
    4. Our giving is to be based upon our Joy in the Lord…
    5. 2Co 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
    6. But, know…this is not just the idea about money (although, the context Jesus is speaking to is financial) – but our entire lives. Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
    7. 1Co 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
    8. Herein lies the solution to the problem – the reason for the love, the motivation for the sacrifice: God the Father, in His infinite love, bought us by paying the price of the broken body and shed blood of His Son (the 2nd person in the trinity) and saved us from Hell is saving us to Heaven!
    9. Our motivation should come through our devotion to the God of the Universe who demonstrated His love on the cross –
      1. ​​​​​​​His unconditional and sacrificial love in that we didn’t have to do anything to receive it
      2. And…that Jesus died in our place taking our punishment and endured our shame so we could be eternally His!
    10. READ: Luke 7:36-50
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Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Mark 12". "Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". 2017.