Review of Mark 12

Review of Mark 12

by Victor Fawole


Challenging Jesus’ authority is one thing, denying His authority is another. Yesterday, we read in Mark 11 how the Pharisees, chief priests, and scribes intentionally did not accept the Messiahship of Jesus, even after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem – a Messianic demonstration. The episode didn’t end there. Let’s continue to Mark 12. We will see five wise answers that Jesus gave in this chapter.


Mark 12:1ff 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…

Yesterday, we ended Mark 11 with this line: Jesus chose not to answer them, although He answered them perfectly. Here comes Mark 12. He answered them by telling them a parable. This is the “cast” of the parable:

1. The landowner — God

2. The vineyard — the nation of Israel (Isa. 5:1–7; Jer. 12:10; Hos. 10:1)

3. The husbandmen — the religious leaders of the Jews

4. The landowner’s servants — the Old Testament prophets of God

5. The son — Jesus

6. Others — Gentiles

God had done “everything necessary” for the vineyard’s survival and fruitfulness. He “set a hedge about it” – to provide protection against bandits and wild animals. He “dug a place for the winefat” – for processing the crop and collecting the juice. He also “built a tower” – for shelter and storage, and to also serve as a post for the watchman. God sent His prophets to Israel – on different occasions – but they were cruelly rejected by the husbandmen, leaders who claimed to be obedient to God.

  • Jeremiah was ridiculed (Jer. 20:7), beaten (Jer. 26:7-11; 38:1-28), and chained (Jer. 40:1)…
  • Amos was wrongly accused (Amos 7:10)…
  • Isaiah and Micah were rejected (Isa. 30:10, Mic. 2:6)…
  • Micaiah was imprisoned and starved (1Kings 22:27)…
  • Zechariah the son of Jehoiada was stoned (2Chr. 24:21)
  • John the Baptist and some others were killed (Matt. 14:1-12, Luke 11:50-51)

…and they were about to kill the Son! Hmmmmn…

When Jesus asked the question: “What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do?” He was helping the religious leaders to see their own miserable fate. In fact, Matthew’s account indicates that the leaders announced their own fate by themselves (Matt. 21:40-41). They were lugubrious to think that if they only killed the Son, the vineyard would be theirs. Jesus, Whom they rejected, will be the cornerstone (foundation) of the Church. In Matt. 21:43, Jesus told them that, because of their disobedience, they will be left out of the kingdom of God. They have misused their opportunity and it will be given to others (the Gentiles). The Church will be a new people of God made up of everyone (Jews and Gentiles) who accepts the Son. The exciting part is that the Church “will produce fruits”(Matt. 21:43), sharing the gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth. Hallelujah!

Mark 12:13-14 And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. 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?

Too much hypocrisy and flattery packed into one trap.

  • We know how honest you are…
  • You are impartial and don’t fancy favouritism.
  • You teach the way of God truthfully.

What a way to make any man’s head to swell! They flattered him because they wanted to trap Him. Learn more about the flattery tongue by listening to Pastor Dammy’s sermon titled: “Proverbs About The Tongue”. You can also listen to “Emotional Stability Over Discussions”.

Taxation was a serious bone of contention between the Jews and their Roman masters. If Jesus agreed the tax should be paid, then He would be denying the sovereignty of God over Israel. If He agreed that the tax should not be paid, then He would be openly declaring Himself an enemy of Rome and be treated as a treasonist. His response was excellent! He started by exposing their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” (v. 15 NLT) He then gave the dazzling answer: “Caesar’s image is on the coin, give him his taxes. God’s image is on you, give Him your totality.” Submit taxes to Caeser, and submit your souls to God. He could not be trapped. They were dazzled!

Mark 12:18-23 Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, 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. Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.

This was an absurd question; it was not a sincere question at all. I remember watching a debate between a freethinker and a Christian apologist on Youtube and the freethinker asked: “Can God make a rock so big that He cannot move it?” That’s a question that pits the Sovereignty of God against His Omnipotence. They quoted Deut. 25:5–6 and proposed a dilemma in order to make resurrection appear foolish. Jesus’ answer differentiates life in heaven from life on earth. Their question already exposed them as poor theologians. “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” (v. 24 NLT) Marriage is an earthly institution. It is a matter that ends here. There won’t be marriage or sexual intimacy in heaven! There is only one marriage – between Jesus the Groom and the Church, His Bride. We will all be married to our Saviour!

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?

This question was asked by a scribe, who was skilled in Jewish law and theology. This guy had seen that Jesus’ answers were damning, dazzling, and differentiating. He probably felt that the other sects didn’t know how to ask tough questions. So, he asked the question to see if Jesus would disregard or neglect some areas of the Law of Moses. But instead of promoting one commandment over another, Jesus defined the law in its real essence. He summarized the whole Law: “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:40) Their 613 laws have only one essence: LOVE – for God and man. The first leads to the second – they cannot be separated. Jesus gave an answer that directed him to the centrality of the Law.

This guy accepted Jesus’ answer as true. He was the only honest “interviewer” there, and was the only one that Jesus commended. “You are not far from the kingdom of God” was Jesus’ way of saying he is not far from being saved through faith.

Mark 12:35-37 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David? 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 footstool. David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.

Although nobody asked him a question at this point, it was necessary for Jesus to end the series of interviews with a declaration of His divinity. He asked the question and gave the answer. While they tried to trap Him with questions, His own question led to the most important matter: “Do you really know who I am?” They thought they knew everything about the Messiah, but they were grossly mistaken. He quoted Psalm 110:1 to show that He is not only the Son of David but also the Lord of David.

Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

He is both the root and offspring of David. Root and offspring. He is both David’s source and son. The son of David is not just a Man but He is God.

I love that part where Jesus said that David was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Some people erroneously claim that Old Testament prophets did not see God clearly. Some question the divine inspiration of the scriptures. Pastor Dammy dealt with this subject in the Part 1 of the sermon titled “Me and My Bible”.

In the rest of the chapter, Jesus warned the large crowd against the hypocrisy of the teachers and leaders. They loved to feel important, they loved attention and respect even in the markets, and were fond of the high tables in the synagogues and parties. They oppress and cheat the widows. Wickedness. And to appear “holy”, they organize long hours of “marathon prayers”. Hmm… Jesus said they will receive greater damnation!

The chapter ended with Jesus commending a widow for generous giving. This widow was most likely one of those that have been cheated and oppressed by the scribes. She literally had “nothing” but she gave sacrificially. Remember: “The heart is God’s focus!” God appreciates some actions that men don’t appreciate, for His assessment is different from ours. The heart that gives is a heart that pleases God. Our giving is not a “requirement” for righteousness before God, but it should reflect our righteousness in God and appreciation to God.

On this note, I recommend the following sermons to everyone who desires to learn more about biblical giving:

Grace to you. Amen.

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