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Mark 12 - Gotcha Politics

Trying to trap opponents with quick witted words in nothing new. Unlike our politicians, Jesus passes the test.

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Mark 12 Summary

  • v1-12 - Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard, and from our perspective, the meaning is quite clear.

  • v13-17 - The first two of three establishment sects, the Pharisees and Herodians (Jewish people who had sold out to curry favor with the Roman government) fail to trap Jesus by asking Him about taxes.

  • v18-27 - The third establishment sect, the Sadducees, step up to the plate with a pathetic challenge that Jesus swats down immediately.

  • v28-34 - The last attempt is a religious scholar, the cream of the establishment crop, asking Jesus' opinion of what the most important of the Biblical laws are.

    • Jesus responds with the Shema, the passage from Deuteronomy recited by all Hebrews daily.

    • The second most important is also drawn from the Old Testament: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

  • v35-44 - Jesus warns against religious pride, demonstrating that the poor widow is more faithful than the self promoting religious establishment.

Dig Deeper

If the Shema were the only law in the Bible, all people would still stand convicted:

‘Hear, O Israel:

The Lord our God,

the Lord is one.

And you shall love the Lord your God

with all your heart

and with all your soul

and with all your mind

and with all your strength.’

Who could possibly meet all those conditions?

This wise law teacher seems different from the other establishment goons sent to trap Jesus in His words. He seems genuinely interested in Jesus' answer, and genuinely committed to fulfilling the commands Jesus references.

Jesus' final reply to him doesn't seem as harsh as Jesus' other replies, it actually ought to be the most discomforting:

You are not far from the Kingdom of God.

In other words, following God's laws will get you close to the Kingdom, but not into the Kingdom. For that, you must rely on the righteousness of Christ.

Be reminded today of

  1. your inability to keep God's laws;

  2. as well as your dependence upon your Savior who kept those laws on your behalf.

AAA Prayer:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Open your prayer by reciting the Shema along with God's covenant people throughout history;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the strength to truly love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.




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