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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Mark 12

Verse 1

1 See the comments at Mat 13:3 as to the right use of Parables. For other comments as to the householder see Mat 21:33.

Verse 2

2 At the season. It takes time to produce fruit, hence the householder did not expect any products until the proper time when he sent a special servant for them.

Verse 3

5 This refers to the mistreatment that the Jews showed to the prophets and other righteous teachers who were sent among them by the Lord.

Verse 6

6 Jesus was a Jew who was sent to that nation as the rightful heir of all his Father's possessions, and he should have been received with great respect.

Verse 7

7 Being the heir, if he could be removed there would seem to be no one to claim the property, hence the workers planned to make away with him.

Verse 8

8 The wicked workers carried out their plot and slew the son of the householder, which refers to the treatment that Jesus was soon to receive at the hands of the wicked Jews.

Verse 9

9 According to Matthew's account (chapter 21:40, 41), this answer to the question of Jesus was made by the Jews. Having in mind some literal case of an earthly vineyard, they answered correctly, not realizing that their own answer would condemn them for their wicked attitude towards the servants of God.

Verse 10

1 Jesus began opening their understanding of the parable by referring to a prediction in the Old Testament.

Verse 12

2 They doubtless were aware of this statement and must have begun to see the light that was exposing them. But they were restrained from doing anything to Jesus because of their fear of public sentiment that was favorable to him.

Verse 13

3 Herodians were a family party among the Jews who favored the Romans. This is described more extensively in the comments on Mat-Mat 22:16.

Verse 14

4 After some expressions of pure flattery these hypocrites came out with their question. They had the delusion that the kingdom which Jesus was soon to set up would be a temporal one, and hence a rival of the Roman Empire. In that case he would logically disapprove of any financial support of Caesar. If they could get him to say so, they would have a basis for accusing him of being an enemy of the lawful government.

Verse 15

5 Knowing their hypocrisy, Jesus did not answer directly by "yes" or "no," but asked to see a piece of money.

Verse 16

6 The coins of about all countries have the image of some important person on them, and also some saying or motto is inscribed thereon. Jesus took the critics by surprise by asking to whom the coin belonged. They answered correctly that it was the property of Caesar. Incidentally, this very coin was the kind that was used in paying the tribute to Caesar's government.

Verse 17

7 Anyone would have to say it is right to give back to a man that which is rightfully his. They just had said the coin belonged to Caesar, so it was natural that Jesus would tell them to give It back to him. In so doing they would be performing the very thing they asked Jesus if it was lawful to do. They marveled means they were amazed and so stunned that they had nothing more to say.

Verse 18

3 To save space let the reader see comments on Mat 22:23-28.

Verse 24

5 For the explanation of this paragraph see Mat 22:29-30.

Verse 26

6 Book of Moses is so called because God inspired him to write it. God declared himself to be the God of these patriarchs whom the Sadducees professed to love.

Verse 27

7 God is not a God of the dead (which these Sadducees as well as everyone else admitted), yet these patriarchs had been in their graves for centuries. That proves there is something in man that lives after the body is placed in the grave.

Verse 28

8 In Matthew's account of this conversation (chapter 22:34-40) it is stated that the purpose of this question was to tempt Jesus, while the present passage says nothing about that. Instead, the latter part of the conversation indicates a favorable attitude toward Jesus. Both phases of it are true and explanable on a reasonable basis. After the scribe put the tempting question to Jesus, the reply was so unanswerable that he was drawn over to the better view of it and brought forth the good remarks reported of him. The question asked of Jesus was unfair because no one of God's commands is any more important or greater than another.

Verse 29

9 The one great difference would be the contrast between God and man. Logically, then, a command to love God would come first in the sense of priority.

Verse 30

0 This command requires that God shall be loved with all the powers of man.

Verse 31

1 The preceding command is first in priority, but the second one is like it in the sense of authority that is back of it.

Verse 32

2 The scribe was affected by the answer of Jesus and verified it. He went farther and stated the reason why we should love the Lord wholeheartedly, and that was because there is only one God.

Verse 33

3 The scribe summed up in this verse what constitutes the entire Decalogue, in that he cites the two commandments on which all the law and prophets hung (Mat 22:40). The reason he assigned for his conclusion was that it was better than burnt offerings. A man might offer whole droves of animals for the outward show, but not actually be moved by genuine love for God or man.

Verse 34

4 The kingdom of God had not been set up when this conversation took place, hence no actual distance could exist between it and any person as to specific items required for entrance into it. But the scribe expressed a principle of life that was so different from that of the Pharisees, that Jesus meant he was advocating ideas that were much like what would be required of persons in the kingdom when it did become a fact on earth. This conversation silenced the critics so that none of them asked Jesus any more questions.

Verse 35

5 Many of the Jews admitted that Christ was an actual descendant of David according to the flesh, but denied that he was divine or related to him spiritually.

Verse 36

6 Jesus then quoted Psa 110:1 where David referred to him as "my Lord."

Verse 37

7 The question put to them was how Christ could be both a son of David and also his Lord. Common people has been referred to from a sentimental motive as if it was a contrast between the humble folks and the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees. We may say these people were of that type if we offer our remarks as a comment, but the word does not mean that. It is from POLUS which means "the masses."

Verse 38

8 Long clothing was worn to attract attention and obtain special salutations in public such as the market places where many people resorted.

Verse 39

9 Chief seats means the front pews that faced the audience, and uppermost rooms at feasts means the highest seats, those that gave an advantage of display.

Verse 40

0 Devour widows' houses means they took advantage of them to obtain their property. For more detailed comments on this verse see the comments on Mat 23:14.

Verse 41

1 This money was a voluntary offering made for the upkeep of the temple. The rich cast in much in actual count of the money.

Verse 42

2 This widow cast in two mites instead of "one" as generally stated.

Verse 43

3 Jesus stated in literal language what he meant comparatively.

Verse 44

4. Jesus explained his statement to mean that the widow made the sacrifice in that she gave all that she had. The rich gave much and yet had much left and hence did not make any sacrifice.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Mark 12". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/mark-12.html. 1952.