Holy Week: Day 3: Tuesday (con’t)
Yesterday we began talking about what happened on the last Tuesday before Jesus’ death. We also began looking closely at what He taught. It is my belief that Jesus would have wanted to hit on the most important points of His ministry. Yesterday we saw how Jesus used many parables to show how important it was to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Today we will look at questions He answered, His warnings regarding the teachers of the Law, His prediction of His death, the foretelling of the destruction of Israel, and more.
Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar (Mark 12: 13-17)
13 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words.14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax[b] to Caesar or not?15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
And they were amazed at him.
Here, the Pharisees and Herodians were trying to trap Jesus or create an opportunity for His arrest. However, Jesus surprises them by proclaiming that people are to pay their taxes as well as give money to God. Now while this was directed at the leaders, the lesson for us is that we too are to pay our taxes. This is one of the scriptures that teaches us to respect authority, even if it is not necessarily God’s authority.
Marriage at the Resurrection (Mark 12:18-23)
18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection[c] whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[d]? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”
The Pharisees were just shot down by Jesus, now it is time for the Sadducees to take their turn.
[The Sadducees were not skeptics so to speak, but rather literalists. They were prideful about their knowledge of scriptures and did not believe in the afterlife (resurrection) because they could not find any mention of it in the scriptures. While they believed in the letter of the law, they did not believe in the traditions of Pharisees, which left them at odds with one another.]
The Sadducees’ question about what happens in heaven with a woman who has more than one husband seems innocent enough, but it was far from innocent. They were not asking to prove anything regarding marriage; they were just trying to show that life after death was ridiculous. Furthermore, it is even possible they were trying to trip up Jesus and have him condone incest and break one of God’s laws (if a woman is married to all seven brothers in heaven she is committing incest). Jesus, one again, doesn’t fall for the trap, and uses the scriptures they do accept against them (Sadducees quoted Moses in their question and Jesus answers with a quote from Moses). In Moses, God stated he was the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, as in present tense. He is their God, not he was their God. But before that, he simply lets them know that heaven is not like earth, and marriage will not be the same in heaven.
The Greatest Commandment (Mark 12:28-34)
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
Ever wonder what God wants most? Well, here it is in black and white. The most important commandments are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Last Friday I covered this pretty thoroughly. The short version is that if we love our neighbors as ourselves then we will honor the other commandments because it is hard to steal from our neighbors, lie to our neighbors, covet our neighbors’ spouses if we love them the way we love us. Furthermore, the only way we are going to be able to love our neighbors as ourselves is if we first truly love God. A strong relationship with God leads us to want to follow his commandments. Only God is able to give us the strength and abilities to love the way He demands.
Whose Son Is the Messiah? (Matthew 22:41-46)
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David,” they replied.
43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’[e]
45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Thus ends the questions, but not the teaching. Join me later today as I will next go into the warnings Jesus has against teachers of the laws and the such.
Until next time,