Mark 12

Parable of the tenant farmers

1 Jesus spoke to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the winepress, and built a tower. Then he rented it to tenant farmers and took a trip.
2 When it was time, he sent a servant to collect from the tenants his share of the fruit of the vineyard.
3 But they grabbed the servant, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.
4 Again the landowner sent another servant to them, but they struck him on the head and treated him disgracefully.
5 He sent another one; that one they killed. The landlord sent many other servants, but the tenants beat some and killed others.
6 Now the landowner had one son whom he loved dearly. He sent him last, thinking, They will respect my son.
7 But those tenant farmers said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'
8 They grabbed him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
9 " So what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.
10 Haven't you read this scripture, The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
11 The Lord has done this, and it's amazing in our eyes?"
12 They wanted to arrest Jesus because they knew that he had told the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.

A question about taxes

13 They sent some of the Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap him in his words.
14 They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know that you're genuine and you don't worry about what people think. You don't show favoritism but teach God's way as it really is. Does the Law allow people to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay taxes or not?"
15 Since Jesus recognized their deceit, he said to them, " Why are you testing me? Bring me a coin. Show it to me."
16 And they brought one. He said to them, " Whose image and inscription is this?"
17 "Caesar's," they replied.Jesus said to them, " Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." His reply left them overcome with wonder.

A question about the resurrection

18 Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Jesus and asked,
19 "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a widow but no children, the brother must marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.
20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman; when he died, he left no children.
21 The second married her and died without leaving any children. The third did the same.
22 None of the seven left any children. Finally, the woman died.
23 At the resurrection, when they all rise up, whose wife will she be? All seven were married to her."
24 Jesus said to them, " Isn't this the reason you are wrong, because you don't know either the scriptures or God's power?
25 When people rise from the dead, they won't marry nor will they be given in marriage. Instead, they will be like God's angels.
26 As for the resurrection from the dead, haven't you read in the scroll from Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God said to Moses, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
27 He isn't the God of the dead but of the living. You are seriously mistaken."

God’s most important command

28 One of the legal experts heard their dispute and saw how well Jesus answered them. He came over and asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?"
29 Jesus replied, " The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord,
30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
31 The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these."
32 The legal expert said to him, "Well said, Teacher. You have truthfully said that God is one and there is no other besides him.
33 And to love God with all of the heart, a full understanding, and all of one's strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself is much more important than all kinds of entirely burned offerings and sacrifices."
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered with wisdom, he said to him, " You aren't far from God's kingdom." After that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Jesus corrects the legal experts

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, " Why do the legal experts say that the Christ is David's son?
36 David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said, The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right side until I turn your enemies into your footstool.'
37 David himself calls him ‘Lord,' so how can he be David's son?" The large crowd listened to him with delight.
38 As he was teaching, he said, " Watch out for the legal experts. They like to walk around in long robes. They want to be greeted with honor in the markets.
39 They long for places of honor in the synagogues and at banquets.
40 They are the ones who cheat widows out of their homes, and to show off they say long prayers. They will be judged most harshly."

A poor widow’s contribution

41 Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money.
42 One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny.
43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, " I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who's been putting money in the treasury.
44 All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on."

Images for Mark 12

Mark 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

The parable of the vineyard and husbandmen. (1-12) Question about tribute. (13-17) Concerning the resurrection. (18-27) The great command of the law. (28-34) Christ the Son and yet the Lord of David. (35-40) The poor widow commended. (41-44)

Verses 1-12 Christ showed in parables, that he would lay aside the Jewish church. It is sad to think what base usage God's faithful ministers have met with in all ages, from those who have enjoyed the privileges of the church, but have not brought forth fruit answerable. God at length sent his Son, his Well-beloved; and it might be expected that he whom their Master loved, they also should respect and love; but instead of honouring him because he was the Son and Heir, they therefore hated him. But the exaltation of Christ was the Lord's doing; and it is his doing to exalt him in our hearts, and to set up his throne there; and if this be done, it cannot but be marvellous in our eyes. The Scriptures, and faithful preachers, and the coming of Christ in the flesh, call on us to render due praise to God in our lives. Let sinners beware of a proud, carnal spirit; if they revile or despise the preachers of Christ, they would have done so their Master, had they lived when he was upon earth.

Verses 13-17 The enemies of Christ would be thought desirous to know their duty, when really they hoped that which soever side he took of the question, they might find occasion to accuse him. Nothing is more likely to insnare the followers of Christ, than bringing them to meddle with disputes about worldly politics. Jesus avoided the snare, by referring to the submission they had already made as a nation; and all that heard him, marvelled at the great wisdom of his answer. Many will praise the words of a sermon, who will not be commanded by the doctrines of it.

Verses 18-27 A right knowledge of the Scripture, as the fountain whence all revealed religion now flows, and the foundation on which it is built, is the best preservative against error. Christ put aside the objection of the Sadducees, who were the scoffing infidels of that day, by setting the doctrine of the future state in a true light. The relation between husband and wife, though appointed in the earthly paradise, will not be known in the heavenly one. It is no wonder if we confuse ourselves with foolish errors, when we form our ideas of the world of spirits by the affairs of this world of sense. It is absurd to think that the living God should be the portion and happiness of a man if he is for ever dead; and therefore it is certain that Abraham's soul exists and acts, though now for a time separate from the body. Those that deny the resurrection greatly err, and ought to be told so. Let us seek to pass through this dying world, with a joyful hope of eternal happiness, and of a glorious resurrection.

Verses 28-34 Those who sincerely desire to be taught their duty, Christ will guide in judgment, and teach his way. He tells the scribe that the great commandment, which indeed includes all, is, that of loving God with all our hearts. Wherever this is the ruling principle in the soul, there is a disposition to every other duty. Loving God with all our heart, will engage us to every thing by which he will be pleased. The sacrifices only represented the atonements for men's transgressions of the moral law; they were of no power except as they expressed repentance and faith in the promised Saviour, and as they led to moral obedience. And because we have not thus loved God and man, but the very reverse, therefore we are condemned sinners; we need repentance, and we need mercy. Christ approved what the scribe said, and encouraged him. He stood fair for further advance; for this knowledge of the law leads to conviction of sin, to repentance, to discovery of our need of mercy, and understanding the way of justification by Christ.

Verses 35-40 When we attend to what the Scriptures declare, as to the person and offices of Christ, we shall be led to confess him as our Lord and God; to obey him as our exalted Redeemer. If the common people hear these things gladly, while the learned and distinguished oppose, the former are happy, and the latter to be pitied. And as sin, disguised with a show of piety, is double iniquity, so its doom will be doubly heavy.

Verses 41-44 Let us not forget that Jesus still sees the treasury. He knows how much, and from what motives, men give to his cause. He looks at the heart, and what our views are, in giving alms; and whether we do it as unto the Lord, or only to be seen of men. It is so rare to find any who would not blame this widow, that we cannot expect to find many who will do like to her; and yet our Saviour commends her, therefore we are sure that she did well and wisely. The feeble efforts of the poor to honour their Saviour, will be commended in that day, when the splendid actions of unbelievers will be exposed to contempt.

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Ps 118:22-23
  • [b]. Deut 25:5; Gen 38:8
  • [c]. Exod 3:6, 15-16
  • [d]. Deut 6:4-5
  • [e]. Lev 19:18
  • [f]. Ps 110:1
  • [g]. Or two lepta (the smallest Greek copper coin, each worth 1/128 of a single day’s pay), that is, a kodrantes (the smallest Roman coin, equal in value to two lepta)

Mark 12 Commentaries