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Questions from a Closed Mind and Stubborn Heart

Mark 12:18-23

Very few people ask honest open questions.  The quest for learning with an unprejudiced mind is rare.  Scientists start with an idea which they try to prove through experiments.   A cross examining barrister in Court will assume where the truth lies and then ask questions to prove it.  Questions are usually designed to verify what has been assumed a point; so those with an axe to grind ask questions that will vindicate themselves and condemn their opponents.  

Wilfully Disregarding God's Word

Mark 12:24-25

The Sadducees had their own idea about how life should work … they thought that 'what you see is all there is and when you are dead you are gone for ever'.  They concocted a scenario for Jesus to comment on regarding Levirate marriage – a Mosaic law to ensure that a dead man's property remained in the family (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).  They asked that if a woman had many husbands, whose husband would be in heaven?  They thought it was a clever way to logically prove that there was no heaven or hell (Mark 12:18-23).  

The Authority which Defines Eternity

Mark 12:26-27

Worshipping God must be on His terms.  Without revelation, nobody can understand God's character, or what pleases Him (Ephesians 5:10).  The best they can do is to see the awesome creation and conclude the Creator will demand an account of our time spent here (Romans 1:20).  Jesus wanted to discuss the resurrection: a tutorial for the disciples who would soon witness it, and a theology lecture to the Sadducees who thought it could not happen.

The Truth about Jesus

Mark 12:28

There is an extraordinary drawing power in the words of wise people.  Jesus greatly exceeded human wisdom, and became a magnet for those who hated Him; yet they could not get Him out of their minds.  His stunning responses to trick questions evoked the admiration of the crowd (Mark 1:22) and fascination by His enemies.  Although it is not clear whether this Rabbi was genuine or cynical, he came with an assumption - that some commandments were more important than others. The assumption was, of course, wrong.

Vertical and Horizontal Love

Mark 12:29-31

In response to the question, "Which is the most important commandment?", Jesus appears to give two answers.  But in fact, He only gives one because He concludes by saying of the two commandments, "There is no commandment greater than these".  By using the singular, 'commandment', with the plural, 'these', He makes clear that the two commandments are one.  And more than that, these two summarise all the Old Testament laws.  Love for God and love for other human beings is indivisible.  Love comes from God.  It can only be shared because it has been received (1 John

Loving the Wisdom of Christ

Mark 12:32-34

The rightness of God is obvious, but only to those who desire to be right with God.  After Mark has recorded a battery of questions from the cynically rebellious hearts of the religious leaders, this man was willing to listen to Jesus' answer.  More than that - he could see that what Jesus said made sense ...

Jesus is Lord

Mark 12:35-37

It's quite striking how Jesus goes on teaching right up to the moment of His arrest and trial. This was crucial teaching for the trainee apostles - 'last words' always embed themselves in the memory.  Having faced questioning from His accusers, Jesus then puts the crowd on the spot.  He forced them to rethink their doctrine of who the Messiah (the Christ) would be; but knew the disciples would need this tutorial as they taught the Early Church. They thought that the Messiah would be their victorious leader but also a son of David … and therefore one who would be their son to serve them.

A Public Rebuke to Religious Hypocrites

Mark 12:38-40

The crowds had been listening with delight as Jesus cut through the pomposity and cynical arrogance of the religious leaders (Mark 12:37).  Now Jesus rebuked those men publicly!  Warning the crowds against the self-righteous and self-seeking clerics, Jesus was advising the ordinary people not to get caught up in the religious hatred that would finally call for His death.  But by exposing these men for what they were, Jesus knew He was also sealing His own death warrant.

Money Talks

Mark 12:41-44

'Money talks’, is an expression to mean that 'money can gain influence and power over others'.  But just days before His crucifixion, Jesus used the sacrificial gift of a poor woman to explain the sacred meaning of sacrificial giving.  The action took place in the Court of the Women, the outermost of three Temple courts, where the Treasury was housed.  This area was 60 feet square surrounded by colonnades where there were thirteen trumpet shaped containers (narrow at the top and wide at the bottom – for stability and to deter pilferers!) for temple tax, the value of obligatory sacrifices an

Where Do You Put Your Trust?

Mark 13:1-2

With only days until Jesus' death, He taught His trainee apostles about the future.  It was an important lesson which the church would need.  In the dark days of persecution, they must not run to the Temple for sanctuary, but run away from it - to the Lord who would send them to the right place (Mark 13:14-18).  The magnificent temple was largely completed in 4 BC but was still under construction in Jesus' day, and was only completed in AD 64.  It was an architectural wonder, a matter of pride for all Jews (who paid for it), as well as Herod.