Mark Chapter 12
Memory verses for
this week: Josh 21:45 There failed not
ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of
Israel; all came to pass.
We continue with our study
of Mark this week as we cover Chapter 12. In last week’s lesson,
Jesus made his triumphal entry to Jerusalem fulfilling scripture over
in Zechariah Chapter 9. Jesus purified the temple by driving out the
money changers and overthrowing their tables of merchandise. We
closed studying his lesson on faith to the disciples.
I. Parable of Wicked Husbandmen
Mark 12:1 And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain
man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place
for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and
went into a far country.
In his private instructions to the disciples, Jesus spoke
plainly and directly to the apostles. As the crowds gathered around
Christ, he began to speak to them in parables. In verse one, Christ
mentions the man who planted a vineyard. This would remind the
people of Isaiah chapter 5 where the vineyard spoke of the house of
Israel. As in that teaching, Jesus is again teaching about Israel.
Isa 5:1 Now will I
sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My
wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
Isa 5:2 And he
fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with
the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made
a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes,
and it brought forth wild grapes.
Isa 5:3 And now, O
inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt
me and my vineyard.
Isa 5:4 What could
have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?
wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it
forth wild grapes?
Isa 5:5 And now go
to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away
the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall
thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
Isa 5:6 And I will
lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come
up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no
rain upon it.
Isa 5:7 For the
vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of
Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold
oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
The hedge mentioned is a stone fence while the wine vat
speaks of a winepress. The tower would be the top section on the
fence where a guard would stand at watch. These were integral parts
of a vineyard. The owner let it out to husbandmen and went abroad.
Of course this speaks of the nation of Israel and the owner is God.
He lets it out to the husbandmen which are the leaders of the nation
Mark 12:2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant,
that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the
Mark 12:3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away
The servant mentioned in verse two speaks of the prophets
that God sent to Israel. Israel always mistreated the prophets of
God, and pretty well ignored what they said.
Psa 80:7 Turn us
again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be
Psa 80:8 Thou hast
brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and
Israel is of course the vine brought out of Egypt, after they
were there 430 years in bondage. God delivered them and brought them
to the land of Canaan by the hand of Moses and Joshua. In the portion
of scripture we read earlier in Isaiah Chapter 5, God looked for good
grapes on Israel, and she had brought forth wild grapes.
Hosea 10:1 Israel is
an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the
multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the
goodness of his land they have made goodly images.
Israel in the time of Hosea did not bring forth fruit to God,
but rather brought it to themselves.
Mark 12:4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him
they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away
Mark 12:5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many
others; beating some, and killing some.
The prophets were greatly mistreated by God’s chosen nation
of Israel. Why they hated the prophets is not clear, but they
rejected some, wounded others, and it says they beat and killed
Mark 12:6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent
him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
Mark 12:7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the
heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.
Mark 12:8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of
After rejecting the messages of God’s prophets, God sent his
only Begotten Son (Jesus Christ) and they killed him. Because of
this, we see God took the spiritual privileges away from Israel and
gave them to the Gentiles as we read in Verse 9.
Mark 12:9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he
will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto
Mark 12:10 And have ye not read this scripture;
The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the
Mark 12:11 This was the Lord's doing, and it is
marvellous in our eyes?
Mark 12:12 And they sought to lay hold on him,
but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable
against them: and they left him, and went their way.
They may rejected Christ, but now He has become the head of
the corner. The leaders of Israel heard this and acknowledged that
this parable was spoken against them. As we read last week, the
leaders feared the people because they reverenced Christ due to his
miracles and correct teaching of the scriptures.
Luke 4:21 And he
began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your
Luke 4:22 And all
bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded
out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?
II. The Question of
Mark 12:13 And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of
the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
Mark 12:14 And when they were come, they say unto him, 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: Is it lawful
to give tribute to Caesar, or not?
The Sanhedrin had publicly challenged Jesus’ authority in
last weeks lesson, and he had silenced them with his wisdom. Now they
send a delegation of Pharisees and Herodians to try and catch Jesus
with his words. They hoped that Jesus would say something that they
could use to get him in trouble with either the Law or the Roman
government. They really lay it on think when they call him Master
and go on to say things that were true, but they didn’t believe them.
They said “Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man
(in regards to pleasing men rather than God), for thou regardest not
the person of men, but teaches the way of God in truth.” Not a
single thing spoken was untrue, but they did not truly believe this,
but wanted to get Jesus to fall for their trap. They then ask, “Is it
lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” If Jesus spoke against
Caesar, they would have something to get him in trouble with the
government. Jesus always taught the way of truth. They hoped by
flattering Christ, they might throw him off his guard. You know
what… Jesus was God. You don’t trip him up or confuse Him.
Mark 12:15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing
their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny,
that I may see it.
Mark 12:16 And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is
this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's.
Mark 12:17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar
the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.
And they marvelled at him.
Jesus answers them with a question. He knew they were being
hypocritical, and was not at all fooled by them. He asks, “Whose
image and superscription is written on a the coin?” They answered,
“Caesar’s”. He then tells them straight on… “Render to Caesar the
things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. If
they used money that belonged to Caesar, they should be willing to pay
taxes that he required. It says the marveled at him. This was no
ordinary man, but God himself manifested in the flesh.
John 1:1 In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
John 1:2 The same
was in the beginning with God.
John 1:14 And the
Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the
glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Men may be willing to pay the taxes they owe to the
government, but some will not pay the tithes that belong to God. If
we want to be blessed of the Lord, we need to both pay the taxes we
owe and the tithes that we owe to the Lord.
Mal 3:7 Even from
the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and
have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith
the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
Mal 3:8 Will a man
rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed
thee? In tithes and offerings.
Mal 3:9 Ye are
cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Mal 3:10 Bring ye
all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine
house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will
not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that
there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Mal 3:11 And I will
rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the
fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before
the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
Mal 3:12 And all
nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land,
saith the LORD of hosts.
III. Question of the
Mark 12:18 Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no
resurrection; and they asked him, saying,
Mark 12:19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die,
and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother
should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
Mark 12:20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a
wife, and dying left no seed.
Mark 12:21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any
seed: and the third likewise.
Mark 12:22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all
the woman died also.
Mark 12:23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise,
whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
This whole thing was a bit silly and preposterous.
Supposedly, some fellow had a wife and died. The law stated that if
he had no children, his brother was to take his wife that he might
have a family. In this story, all seven brothers die with no
children, so they want to know whose wife she will be in the
resurrection. We know the Sadducees didn’t even believe in the
Acts 23:6 But when
Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other
Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a
Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the
dead I am called in question.
Acts 23:7 And when
he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the
Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
Acts 23:8 For the
Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor
spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.
Mark 12:24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore
err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
Mark 12:25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither
marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in
Jesus said they erred because they did not know the
Scriptures nor the power of God. In the resurrection, they neither
marry nor are given in marriage. We will be more like the angels in
Albert Barnes in his commentary on the New Testament said:
Are as the angels
That is, as
the angels in respect to
relations. What those connections and relations may be we
know not, but this
passage teaches that the special relation of “marriage”
will not exist. It does
not affirm, however, that there will be no recollection
of former marriages, or
no recognition of each other as having existed in
this tender relation.
Mark 12:26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not
read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying,
I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
Mark 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the
living: ye therefore do greatly err.
God is not the God of the dead, but he is the God of the
living. We need to know and understand the Word of God, that we
might not greatly err like these men did.
W. A. Criswell, in his notes in the Believer’s Bible, said
this about the Sadducees.
Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection (v. 18), and their
question is designed to make belief in the resurrection look
ridiculous. Jesus counters their question by firmly asserting the
reality of resurrection, and by pointing out the Sadducees’ failure to
understand both the Scriptures (which clearly teach resurrection) and
the power of God (which accomplishes resurrection). Jesus demonstrates
their lack of scriptural understanding by quoting from the Pentateuch
(the only portion of the O.T. Scripture which the Sadducees accepted).
There God calls Himself “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the
God of Jacob,” meaning that they were alive (now with God), even
though they had been dead for quite some time (cf. Ex. 3:6, 15). Jesus
also corrects the Sadducees on their understanding of resurrection
life. Jesus affirms that it is life of a different order, where there
are no marital relations, but the purpose and central focus is
communion with God.
The First Commandment
Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them
reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well,
asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
Mark 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the
commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
Mark 12:30 And 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.
After the scribes hear Jesus’ response to the Sadducee’s
question, one of them asks Christ a question. Which is the first and
great commandment? Jesus answers that the first and great commandment
is to love God first. We are to love God with all our heart and our
soul and mind and strength. In other words, we should be wholly and
totally given to the Lord in areas of our life. God is not to be
served on Sunday and then set on a shelf all week like many do with
their bibles. (I’m guilty some weeks of not reading my bible every
day too.) But we should read everyday. All things should
gravitate from our relationship with God. The only way we will ever
do that is to stay close to the Lord and give our lives to be directed
by the Holy Spirit. And this takes a renewing of the mind everyday.
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
Rom 12:2 And be not
conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your
mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and
perfect, will of God.
Mark 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than
Mark 12:32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast
said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
Mark 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the
understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and
to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt
offerings and sacrifices.
Mark 12:34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said
unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after
that durst ask him any question.
Jesus goes on to tell the scribe that the second great
commandment was to love our neighbor as ourselves. There are no
commandments greater than these two. This scribe agrees with Christ
and goes on to say that there is one God, and there is none other but
To love God with all our heart and understand and love our
neighbor as himself is more important that all the burnt offerings and
sacrifices. Jesus recognized that the man answered wisely and
discreetly and say he is not far from the kingdom of God. God
clearly wants obedience rather than sacrifice.
Heb 10:5 Wherefore
when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou
wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
Heb 10:6 In burnt
offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
Heb 10:7 Then said
I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do
thy will, O God.
Heb 10:8 Above when
he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for
sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are
offered by the law;
Heb 10:9 Then said
he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that
he may establish the second.
Heb 10:10 By the
which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus
Christ once for all.
V. Jesus’ Question
about the Son of David
Mark 12:35 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the
temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?
Mark 12:36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said
to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy
Mark 12:37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is
he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
Jesus asks in the temple a question to the people. How say
the scribes that Christ is the son of David? This was difficult for
the people to understand. God the Father spoke to the son about
sitting on His right hand. David calls Christ Lord, and he questions
how then David could be Christ’s father. But according to the flesh,
Jesus was the son of God and came from the line of David. He was also
the Son of God, and so was truly David’s Lord.
VI. A Warning
Against the Scribes
Mark 12:38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the
scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in
Mark 12:39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the
uppermost rooms at feasts:
Mark 12:40 Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make
long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
Jesus warns to not be like the scribes. They loved to be
seen of men and be saluted in the marketplace. They like the chief
seats in the synagogues and the upper rooms at feasts. But in
reality, rather than being true to God, they devour widow’s houses and
make long prayers to be seen of men. God wants us to serve from the
heart, not to be seen of men.
Luke 18:10 Two men
went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a
Luke 18:11 The
Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I
am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as
Luke 18:12 I fast
twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luke 18:13 And the
publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes
unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me
Luke 18:14 I tell
you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other:
for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that
humbleth himself shall be exalted.
VII. Jesus and the
Mark 12:41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how
the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast
Mark 12:42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in
two mites, which make a farthing.
Mark 12:43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto
them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in,
than all they which have cast into the treasury:
Mark 12:44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of
her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
Jesus was standing by and watching as the people came by and
put in their offerings. And he watches still today as we make our
offerings and gifts. Jesus said that those that came by and put in
large amounts of money did it out of their abundance. But the poor
widow woman, gave all she had. Sometimes it is good when we give
until we have to rely on the Lord to supply for us. This woman’s
offering was small in monetary value, but it is remembered forever by
it being recorded in God’s word.
Matthew Henry said this about the woman’s gift.
There was a poor widow
that cast in two mites, which make a farthing (v. 42); and our
Lord Jesus highly commended her; called his disciples to him,
and bid them take notice of it (v. 43); told them that she could very
ill spare that which she gave, she had scarcely enough for herself, it
was all her living, all she had to live upon for that day, and
perhaps a great part of what she had earned by her labour the day
before; and that forasmuch as he knew she did it from a truly
charitable disposition, he reckoned it more than all that put
together, which the rich people threw in; for they did cast in of
their abundance, but she of her want, v. 44. Now many would have
been ready to censure this poor widow, and to think she did
ill; why should she give to others, when she had little enough for
herself? Charity begins at home; or, if she would give it, why did she
not bestow it upon some poor body that she knew? What occasion was
there for her bringing it to the treasury to be disposed of by
the chief priests, who, we have reason to fear, were partial in the
disposal of it? It is so rare a thing to find any that would not blame
this widow, that we cannot expect to find any that will imitate her;
and yet our Saviour commends her, and therefore we are sure that she
did very well and wisely.
If Christ saith,
Well-done, no matter who saith otherwise; and we must hence
learn, 1. That giving alms, is an excellent good thing, and
highly pleasing to the Lord Jesus; and if we be humble and sincere in
it, he will graciously accept of it, though in some circumstances
there may not be all the discretion in the world. 2. Those that have
but a little, ought to give alms out of their little.
Those that live by their labour, from hand to mouth, must give to
those that need, Eph. 4:28. 3. It is very good for us to straiten
and deny ourselves, that we may be able to give the more to the poor;
to deny ourselves not only superfluities, but even conveniences, for
the sake of charity. We should in many cases pinch ourselves, that we
may supply the necessities of others; this is loving our neighbours as
ourselves. 4. Public charities should be encouraged, for they bring
upon a nation public blessings; and though there may be some
mismanagement of them, yet that is not a good reason why we should not
bring in our quota to them. 5. Though we can give but a
little in charity, yet if it be according to our ability, and be
given with an upright heart, it shall be accepted of Christ, who
requires according to what a man has, and not according to what he
has not; two mites shall be put upon the score, and brought to
account, if given in a right manner, as if they had been two pounds.
6. It is much to the praise of charity, when we give not only to
our power, but beyond our power, as the Macedonian
churches, whose deep poverty abounded to the riches of their
liberality, 2 Co. 8:2, 3. When we can cheerfully provide for
others, out of our own necessary provision, as the widow of Sarepta
for Elijah, and Christ for his five thousand guests, and trust God to
provide for us some other way, this is thank-worthy.
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4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day.
e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will be
Criswell, Believer’s study
Bible [computer file], electronic ed. , Logos Library System,
(Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1991 by the Criswell Center for
Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody,
MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.