Mark 12

The Tenants: As you reflect on this story again, about the landowner who rented his vineyard to farmers, we already know that Jesus was talking about the Pharisees who, like their fathers before them, had rejected God’s message and his messengers. The worst offence in the story is the rejection of the son. Does this parable still apply today? Can we repeat the errors of the Pharisees?: They excuse their own disobedience, while laying heavy burdens of extra rules on others. The pay lip service to God, but live to please themselves. They lack mercy and justice, and think themselves better than other people. They won’t repent of their own selfishness, and don’t recognize or accept those who really have changed from sinful to holy living. The errors didn’t disappear with the Pharisees, but remain a real problem among Jesus own disciples. “Lord, Have mercy on us!”

Paying Taxes: It’s ironic that people fear to cheat on their taxes, fearing what the government will do. Why are we so lax in giving God His due? Is it because he is so loving and kind? Shouldn’t that make us eager to do everything that he in his wisdom tells us to do? Shouldn’t we trust God, even recognizing that our very lives belong to him? “Give to God what is God’s!” Indeed!

Marriage in the Resurrection: Here’s an issue that the Sadducees didn’t raise: If there is no marriage in the resurrection, will we have to love our spouses less? Will God be jealous of our love for those who were very special to us in this life? Some think that their parents, children and friends will be the greatest joy in heaven, while others rightly point out that our love for God should be greater than any other love. I think of it this way- we will love perfectly in eternity, which means we will actually love our children parents or spouse more than we ever did in this life. But our love for God will be greater still, and we will worship him as the giver of all our other loves. We won’t even miss marriage in heaven, but we will enjoy the company of the saints more in eternity than anything we enjoy now.

The Greatest Commandment: A teacher asks Jesus for the greatest command and Jesus answers with two. These are two inseparable commands. You can not love God without loving the people he loves. And you cannot properly love your neighbour without the love of God in your heart. These two commands are inseparable, and the love of God must be the greater love, to guide and sustain our love for our neighbour.

Whose Son is the Christ? If the Christ is not David’s son, whose son is he. The mystery of the Trinity, that the one God exists in three persons is something the bible points to, but never fully explains. It is doubtful that we can ever understand the being of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But Jesus tells us we know the Father if we know the Son.

Having shown that the teachers of the law did not understand who the Christ is, Jesus goes on to warn the people about their proud and puffed up characters. He shows their vanity in their bearing and selfishness in their actions , . Then by contrast he upholds a poor widow who give only a tiny amount, with no fanfare, but has made a greater sacrifice by giving everything she had. It’s not hard to guess whether Jesus would have us be more like the scribes and Pharisees, or like that widow. Let’s aim to be like her!

Lord, may we give to you what is due to you – everything we are!