The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Mark 12

Mar 12:1

// Isa 5:1-7.

IN PARABLES: Cp Mar 11:33: Yet Christ's parables explain his origin and rebuke his enemies (v 12).

Mar 12:6

ONE... A SON: Many servants, but only one son.

Mar 12:8

When we cast the "true vine" (John 15) out of our vineyard, we will have no fruit!

OUT OF THE VINEYARD: "Outside the camp" (Heb 13:10-14). Note order in Luk 20:15: (1) took out of camp; and then (2) killed.

Mar 12:9

HE: God, not Christ. This is God's wrath against Israel for their rejection of His Son. (In parable, the son is already dead!)

Mar 12:10

THE STONE: Cited from Psa 118:22; cp Eph 2:20.

Mar 12:12

TO ARREST HIM: Trying to fulfill prophecy (Mat 21:39; Mar 12:8; Luk 20:15), but time was not yet right.

The parables of Christ, when perceived, only brought their wickedness to the fore, and increased their hatred of him. They convicted themselves.

Mar 12:13

PHARISEES AND HERODIANS: Traditional enemies, but agreeing together against Christ. "An unholy alliance."

TO CATCH HIM IN HIS WORDS: The Gr word is used often of the hunter trapping his prey (cp Pro 6:25,26).

But cleverness is no match for godliness.

Mar 12:14

Jesus did not bow down before the Jewish rulers.

IS IT RIGHT TO PAY TAXES TO CAESAR OR NOT?: A "no" would brand Jesus as rebel. A "yes" would destroy his influence with many of the people.

Mar 12:15

SHOULD WE PAY OR SHOULDN'T WE?: A repetition of the question. Indicates Jesus paused before answering them.

Mar 12:16

WHOSE PORTRAIT... WHOSE INSCRIPTION?: Christ is the image of the invisible God (2Co 4:4; Col 1:15; Joh 1:14).

Mar 12:17

See Ecc 12:13: "the whole duty of man".

CAESAR... GOD: Modern governments confuse the two, putting on their money: "In God we trust". Political considerations should play no part in the gospel.

GIVE: Or "give back". The coin belonged to Caesar in the first place. Cp attitudes to riches: the extortioner (vv 40,41) and the poor widow (v 42).

As Christ held up the Roman coin, and asked his question, he was (by design?) offering a clear alternative to his audience: on the one hand, there was Caesar's coin, with Caesar's image and an identifying superscription -- no doubt about ITS ownership! But on the other hand, there was Christ himself, made in the image of the invisible God (2Co 4:4; Col 1:15; Joh 1:14), and over him a different "superscription": "This is My beloved Son!"

Which "image" and "superscription" will we choose? "Caesar" gives to us the coinage of this world, and we use it as we have need, and return to that "god of this world" a portion thereof, as he requests.

But God has given us the "image" of His Son -- which is of course HIS OWN image! (Gen 1:27) -- which may be imprinted in our hearts and minds. Thus we are remade in that image, from the inside out! Who cares to hoard the pitiful pieces of metal on which are stamped the crude impression of a corrupt and wicked "god"? Give them all back to the "god" from whence they came! But treasure the character, the inner man, which is stamped with the image of the One True God in the person of His Son -- keep that safe and clean, so that it may finally be given back to God Himself: "Here, Father, is my gift, my tribute... Your Son's image engraven upon my life! I give it all to you!"

Mar 12:18

SADDUCEES: Who accepted only first five books, authority of Moses, but not the prophets (Elp 233).

Mar 12:24

THE POWER OF GOD: God's promises cannot be broken by the trivial human incident of death!

Mar 12:25

THEY WILL NEITHER MARRY...: Immortal men and women do not need descendants or heirs. A popular false doctrine of the times: cp Lesson, Enoch, Book of.

Mar 12:26

I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM...: "Though he were dead, yet shall he live" (Joh 11:25).

Mar 12:27

For God to be known through the ages as the "God" of 3 eternally dead men would be a mockery of His power.

Mar 12:34

YOU ARE NOT FAR...: Implying that other of his listeners WERE! And some of them even shut the door to the Kingdom against others: Mat 23:13.

NO ONE DARED TO ASK HIM ANY MORE QUESTIONS: This marks the end of the "examination" of Jesus during the four days that the Passover lamb was kept up -- from the 10th to the 14th of the month. It is recorded in both other accounts: Mat 22:46; Mark 12:34; Luke 20:40.

Mar 12:36

UNTIL: See Lesson, AN, Conditional deferment.

Mar 12:37

THE LARGE CROWD: "The common people" (v 37) versus the proud people (v 38...).

Mar 12:41

THE TEMPLE TREASURY: In the Mishna it is said that "there were thirteen horn-shaped chests in the Temple", receptacles for contributions. Each was labeled for specific contributions and evidently set up on the Court of the Women, where all contributors were in public view. It is at these trumpet-shaped chests, which Mark and Luke call "the treasury", that the widow of Mar 12:41,42 and Luke 21:1,2 contributed her "mites." Cp Mat 6:2: "When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do."

Mar 12:42

Ct the motives of the poor widow (here) and the rich extortioners (Mar 12:40,41; Luk 20:46,47). "God will reckon us to be benefactors, not by how much we give, but by how much we have left" (DG). Everything belongs to God; therefore, "render to God what is God's" (Mar 12:17; Luk 20:25).

TWO VERY SMALL COPPER COINS: "It is easy to make offerings to the Lord which cost us little or nothing. The poor woman's meagre gift was the greatest of all because it was so real a sacrifice. In the light of Christ's judgment there are probably few of us who have given much. There may be some of us who have never really given anything. But there are those who have. Many mites have since been added to the two that fell into the temple treasury; offerings rich in their meagreness because they represented all the giver had to give. For the most part those gifts have remained unnoticed amid the welter of more obvious givings; where they are discovered they are sometimes scorned. But there is an unseen watcher who sees and knows, and in the fullness of time those children of the Kingdom whose poverty has excluded them from so many material blessings will be welcomed by the One who became poor that they might be rich" (MP 312).

Mar 12:44

We should give to Christ "all our living"!

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