The God of the Living
Comments for Study 23
Memory Verse: 27
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* A time line of this week is as follows.
Friday -Jesus arrives in the Jerusalem area. (John 11:54-12:1)
Saturday (Sabbath) -a day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38.
Sunday -Jesus' triumphal entry. (Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19)
Monday -Jesus curses the fig tree (Matt. 21:18-19; Mark 11:12-14). Jesus clears out the Temple. (Matt 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18)
Tuesday -Jesus' authority questioned. (Matt. 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:18) Jesus teaches in the temple. (Matt. 21:28-22:46; Mark 12:1-44; Luke 20:9-21:4) Jesus wept over Jerusalem's leader's unbelief and rejecting him as their King. (Matthew 23:1-39) Jesus anointed at Bethany. (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 13:3-9; John 12:2-11)
Wednesday -another day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38. The Jews plot to kill Jesus. (Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6)
Thursday (Hebrew month Abib the 13th day) -the Passover meal begins at twilight (see below note) when Jesus and the disciples celebrate the Last Supper. (Matt. 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20; John 13:1-18) Jesus comforts the disciples (John 14:1-16:33) Jesus prays at Gethsemane. (Matt. 26:26-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46)
Friday (Hebrew month Abib, 14 day) -According Hebrew time Jesus is arrest and tried from night to daylight. (Matt. 26:47-27:26; Mark 14:43-15:15; Luke 22:47-23:25; John 18:2-19:16) Jesus' crucifixion at 3:00pm, and death before sunset which is the end of the Hebrew day and Passover. (Matt. 27:27-56; Mark 15:16-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30) Jesus is buried at sunset. (Matt. 27:57-66; mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:31-42)
Saturday (Sabbath Abib 15, Seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread begins) Jesus' body is in the tomb. He appears in Sheol and accompanies the saints previously dead to heaven.
Sunday (Abib 16; day of First Fruits Sheaf Wave) Jesus' morning resurrection and appearing to the women. (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18) Then he appeared to the two on the road. (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35) Then to the ten apostles (no Thomas or Judas) in the evening. (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)
Saturday (Sabbath) -Jesus appears to Thomas and the rest of the apostles. (John 20:26-31)
A week later -Jesus talks and eats with some disciples by the Sea of Galilee. (John 21:1-25)
Forty days since his resurrection -Jesus ascends to his Father from the Mount of Olives. (Matt. 28:15-20; Mark 18:19-20; Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:1-11)
* Note: The Passover is linked to the 14th days of the month not the day of the week. It starting on Thursday twilight is a very rare event; unusually it starts on a different day of the week. (Hebrew days start at sunset/twilight and go thru the night till the next day's sunset.) Falling on a Thursday that year made it possible for Jesus to fulfill the meaning behind the feasts associated with the Passover. His crucified was on Friday (still Passover), the Sabbath (Saturday) rest was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Sunday was the third day since his death, the day of the First Fruit Wave Sheaf, and the day that Jesus rose from the dead. All three feasts were thus fulfilled by Jesus.
I. Give to God What is God's (13-17)
>1. Who sent whom to Jesus? (13a)
* Mark 12:13 "Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words."
* "Later" -in the day
* "they" -refers to 11:27 and 12;12.
* "sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians" -The chief priests did not go themselves.
* "Pharisees" -Jewish teachers of the Mosaic law, enforcers of the Mosaic law. Commanded respect amongst the Jews.
* "Herodians" -Jews Interested in political power. Interested in keeping Herodians in power. They were not at all religious.
* "to catch him in his words"
* They had set many verbal traps for Jesus. Jesus was not trapped by any of their traps.
* They had already concluded that he was not going to be their King, their Messiah, their Lord.
* They were determined to ruin him.
* Their reaction to Jesus is a fulfillment of prophecy.
* The Old Testament declares that the Passover lamb was to be withuut blemish. It was to be examined in great detail. This chapter shows the great detail that was taken to see if Jesus was qualified to be the Passover lamb or not. The tests given here, unknown to those who gave it, proved that Jesus was without blemish and spot. He was perfect in all ways.
>What is their complement of Jesus? (14)
* Mark 12:14 "They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, 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 taxes to Caesar or not?"
* "Teacher" -words of flattery and respect.
* "we know you are a man of integrity" -because every challenge they may to expose the opposite failed.
* They knew what integrity was even though their integrity was of questionable quality.
* "You aren't swayed by men" -What was funny about this statement is that they were talking about themselves. They saw that Jesus was not intimidated by their credentials. Everyone else was and Jesus was not. This infuriated them more than anything. Jesus was not swayed by their power and authority.
* "you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth" -This was everyone knew including those who hated him.
* Elsewhere the authors of the four gospels make it clear that Jesus always knew what was in their hearts and minds.
* Satan's people often hid behind flattery and deceptive words. I have never been comfortable when someone compliments me.
>2. What is their main question? (14-15a)
* Mark 12:14-15a "They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, 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 taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn't we?"
* They expected a yes or no answer. Other verbal traps were set up as a yes or no answer too.
>Why is paying taxes to Caesar such and important issue to the people of Israel?
* Rome did not conquer Judea by a military victory. Rather a group of Jews (Herodians), lead by Herod and others, had invited their occupation of Israel. Many of the Jews did not want the Romans around. As well, they did not want to pay taxes to Caesar.
* Judea's last king was conquered by the Babylonians. When the Medes and Persians defeated Babylon the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland. However, they never gained control and re-establish a kingdom again. They tried several times only to be defeated; first by the Greeks and then by the Romans.
* Many Jews wanted to rebuild a nation again. Paying high taxes that ended up going to Rome was seen as a humiliation and unjust rule.
>3. What does Jesus discern about them? (15b)
* Mark 12:15b "But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked."
* "hypocrisy" -They paid taxes to Caesar because the Roman's allowed them to have control of religious matters. They were not concerned about getting advice from Jesus, no matter what he answered they would never follow or believe.
* They thought that they were wise and tactful, but they were just hypocrites.
* "Why are you trying to trap me?" -He exposed their hypocrisy. He did not expect an answer. He wanted his disciples to see and learn what was going on.
* Jesus' question challenged them back.
>What does he ask them? (15c-16)
* Mark 12:16 "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied."
* "bring me" -Jesus did not have one himself.
* "a denarius" -a days pay.
* "let me look at it" -he was making a point. He already knew what it looked like.
* "Whose... " -Jesus asked them the obvious to prove his point.
>4. What does Jesus command them to do? (17)
* Mark 12:17 "Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him."
* Jesus did not give them the political or religious answer they they had expected and probably heard from others.
* Later Paul would right, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience." (Rom. 13:1-5)
>What does this mean?
* Human government needs financial support to pay for services rendered to its citizens. It is true that throughout history many leaders have used these taxes for selfish gains. Jesus knew this and still said we should pay taxes.
* A believer in Jesus lives by faith in all things. He believes that God controls history and government leaders. Daniel and Joseph are good examples of men of God who served under selfish and corrupt people over them with faith. David served under Saul who tried to kill him. The apostles also learned this after Jesus ascended to heaven.
* God looks at a persons heart to see if we are living by faith and trust in his love. God works all thing for the good of those who believe him. Hardship comes even in the form of governments, leaders, and any responsibility over us. We are to obey God and live by faith in him even still.
* "give" -God expects.
* We have responsibility to God. We have responsibility to our family. We have responsibility to the congregation that we worship and serve with. We have responsibility to government and society. We have responsibility to the earth and environment.
II. The God of the Living (18-27)
>5. Who are the Sadducees? (18)
* Mark 12:18 "Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question."
* "Sadducees" -Jews religious leaders who only believed in the first five books of the Bible (aka Pentateuch, Law, Torah). They consisted mostly of the priests who served in the temple area. They did not believe in the supernatural; resurrection, spirits, heaven, etc.). They only believed in the hear and now.
* "came to him with a question" -The Sadducees were at odds with the Pharisees. They saw Jesus as an upstart Pharisee because he taught the supernatural and often quoted the prophets. The Sadducees had certain points that they said proved that the other books of the Bible were not from God. They said these points conflicted each other. The question they were going to ask Jesus was perhaps their greatest proof of this seemingly counter diction.
>How are they different from the Pharisees? (Acts 23:6-8)
* Acts 23:6-8 "Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead." When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)"
* Neither the Pharisees nor the Sadducees accepted Jesus' teachings even though his points were irrefutable. Later, as seen by Acts, most of them kept to their stubborn ideas.
>6. What is hypothetical situation of the woman? (19-23)
* Mark 12:19-23 ""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 have children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?""
* Her's is a sad story of marriage and lost hopes.
* Marriage, divorce and remarrying was common among many of the religious leaders of the day. Most if not all of the divorces ended up poorly for the woman unless they remarried a rich man which was common.
* Deuteronomy 25:5-6 "If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband's brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel."
>What does this story tells about the inner life of Sadducees? (24)
* Mark 12:24 "Jesus replied, "Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?"
* Concerned about the hear and now, about the things of this world.
* They didn't understand nor have faith the power or will of God.
* They live a life of no hope, or a hope in this world that often faded away.
* People with no hope in the kingdom of God are often the most cruel and selfish people. They do many things for themselves at the expense of others. They don't believe in judgement nor the kindness and rewards of God.
* Their incorrect belief lead them to interpret the Bible incorrectly.
>7. What does Jesus teach about the life in heaven? (25)
* Mark 12:25 "When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven."
* "when the dead rise" -It could be said that this is talking about when our currect physical body ceases to exist and our spirit goes to heaven. However, it seems most likely that Jesus is talking about the resurrection of the dead at the last trumpet. (1 Cor. 15)
* "they will neither marry nor be given in marriage" -we will be married to Jesus the great bridgroom. I talk extensively about this in The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires.
* "they" -the risen dead. Perhaps Jesus was excluding them because of their unbelief.
>What does the story of God's appearing to Moses teach us about God? (26; Ex. 3:13-15)
* Mark 12:26 "Now about the dead rising--have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?
* Exodus 3:13-15 "Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob--has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation."
* Hebrews 11:19 "Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death."
* "book of Moses" -The first five books of the Bible (aka Pentateuch, Law, Torah). Jesus quoted from what they said that they believed.
* "I am" -every phrase of the Bible stresses something. In this case the active present tense indicates they are alive.
>8. What does Jesus teach them about God? (27)
* Mark 12:27 "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!"
* People do not die after death.
* "You are badly mistaken!" -He said harshly. The exclamation point represents that the when Mark wrote he used the ancient exclamation point which was pushing had with the pen.
* God is personal and loving.
* Those who die in this age (if believers this is before they have received a resurrection body) leave their physical body decaying in this world and their souls go to one of two waiting places; one is in heaven and the other is the torment side of Hades (Sheol in Hebrew). Hades means grave. All non-believers souls go to Hades and stay there until Jesus judges them at the great white throne. As Jesus' believers die before his return they go to heaven to await their marriage to Jesus, receiving a new resurrection body, rewards for acts done in this life, and their Millennium rule under King Jesus. Phil. 1:23 says they wait in ďa far better place than this current earth.
>Why is this truth important to know?
* We can have hope in the kingdom of God, a future in paradise. A future that is bliss and exciting, much better than the things of this world. We can have joy and strength in this world.
* Hope in this world eventually amounts to nothing. Hope in the kingdom of God will be a realized hope.
* God is powerful so we can trust him in all things.
* God is faithful. He keeps his promises.