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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Mark 12




The Widow's Two Mites
- Mark Twelve -

God described Israel as His personal vineyard. In Isaiah 5:7 He said, "For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant." There is not the least doubt that Jesus spoke this parable against the Jews that rejected all of God"s efforts to help them and they would soon kill His beloved Son. God had built a hedge around His people. He had blessed and protected them. Yet they continued in rebellion against His love and mercy. God sent His servants, the prophets; Israel treated them worse and worse. Stephen asked, "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?" (Acts 7:52)

The Pharisees and Herodians tried to trap Jesus with questions about paying tax. He turned them away with the powerful statement, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar"s, and to God the things that are God"s." (Mark 12:17) The Sadducees likewise took their turn in trying to trap Jesus. They asked Him a question about marriage and they too got a surprise answer. Jesus said, "For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven." (Mark 12:25) A scribe asked Jesus about the greatest commandment. The answer is familiar to all Christians, "thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." As the chapter closed Jesus raised some questions about His relationship with David and did some amazing teaching about giving.

Verses 1-12

The Stone Rejected by men - Mark 12:1-12 : One of Jesus" most pointed parables was the parable of the wicked husbandmen. In the parable a certain man planted a vineyard, built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in, built a lookout tower and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. When it was harvest time, he sent a servant to get his share of the grapes. These servants represented God"s prophets. The Hebrew writer described what happened when God sent His prophets to the Jews. "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." (Hebrews 11:36-38)

Finally, the vineyard owner sent His son. The son was the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a prophet like Moses. (Deuteronomy 18:15) They said of the Son, "Let"s kill him! That way we can have it all for ourselves." (Mark 12:7) They knew He was the Son but they wanted to kill him anyway! Christ became the rejected Stone. (Psalms 118:22) The question was asked, "Now what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others." (Mark 12:9) They had rejected the Son and the result would be judgment and destruction.

Verses 12-17

Jesus was questioned about taxes - Mark 12:12-17 : Some of the Pharisees and the Herodians were sent to Jesus for the purpose of entrapping Him in His speech. Their trap was baited with false flattery. They said, "Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth." Solomon said, "A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet." (Proverbs 29:5)

Their question for Jesus was, "Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?" They thought they had Jesus in a dilemma. They thought that He might say "Yes." If He said yes they believed that the Pharisees and the people would turn on Him. They also thought that there might be the possibility that He would say "No." If He said no that thought the Herodians and Romans would turn on Him. Jesus did not answer them directly. Instead He asked them to show Him a piece of money. The people marveled at Him when He said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar"s, and to God the things that are God"s."

Verses 18-34

Questions designed to trap Jesus - Mark 12:18-34 : The Sadducees denied that souls are immortal. They said that there is no resurrection, nor spirits nor angels. (Acts 23:8) They acted as if they wanted an explanation as to what was taught in Deuteronomy 25:5-6 concerning marriage. They approached Jesus with the story of seven brothers that all died childless after having this same woman as wife. Their question was, "when they arise whose wife shall she be for all seven had her?" Ignorance of the teaching of Scripture prompted this question. When we rise from the dead, "we neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven." (Mark 12:25)

A scribe heard the wise answers that Jesus had given to the other questions and thought He could ask a more difficult question. He asked Jesus to identify the greatest commandment. He must have thought that the Lord would have real trouble with his question. The Lord"s answer was both simple and profound. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." (Mark 12:30-31) The quote concerning loving God was from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. We learn from Jesus" answer that there is but one true God and we also observe our responsibility toward Him. After this, no one dared to ask Jesus any more questions.

Verses 35-44

Jesus teaching in the temple -- Mark 12:35-44 : The Jews had to admit that Jesus was a descendant of David according to the flesh. However, they denied that He was divine or related to him in any spiritual way. Jesus quoted David as he said, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." The question ask to the Jews was how Christ could be both a son of David and also his Lord? The miraculous conception and virgin birth of Jesus is what makes it possible for Jesus to be David"s sons and also David"s Lord. (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:18-25) Jesus condemned the Pharisees and scribes because of their hypocrisy. (Mark 12:38-40)

Jesus observed the giving in the temple and He observes our giving. He saw the rich casting much into the treasury. Sadly, they made a big show of their giving. He likewise observed the giving of the poor. The Lord especially observed the giving of a poor widow. He said, "I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others." It is not the amount that we give that the Lord observes, but the amount that we keep for ourselves. The poor widow made a sacrifice in her giving. The rich gave a larger amount but had much left and therefore did not make any real sacrifice.

If a person is wrong about Jesus Christ, he is wrong about salvation. Do you have a living faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Mark 12:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". 2014.

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