Mark 12

Listen to Mark 12

The Parable of the Tenants

1 1And he began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted 2a vineyard 3and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and 4leased it to tenants and 5went into another country.
2 When the season came, he sent a servant[a] to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.
3 6And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
4 7Again 8he sent to them another servant, and 9they struck him on the head and 10treated him shamefully.
5 11And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed.
6 He had still one other, 12a beloved son. 13Finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
7 But those tenants said to one another, 14'This is the heir. Come, 15let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'
8 And they took him and killed him and 16threw him out of the vineyard.
9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? 17He will 18come and destroy the tenants and 19give the vineyard to others.
10 20Have you not read 21this Scripture: 22"'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;[b]
11 this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?"
12 And 23they were seeking to arrest him 24but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they 25left him and went away.

Paying Taxes to Caesar

13 26And they sent to him some of 27the Pharisees and some of 28the Herodians, to 29trap him in his talk.
14 And they came and said to him, "Teacher, 30we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For 31you are not swayed by appearances,[c] but truly teach 32the way of God. Is it lawful to pay 33taxes to 34Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?"
15 But, knowing 35their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why 36put me to the test? Bring me 37a denarius[d] and let me look at it."
16 And they brought one. And he said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to him, "Caesar's."
17 Jesus said to them, 38"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they marveled at him.

The Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection

18 And 39Sadducees came to him, 40who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying,
19 "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that 41if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man[e] must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.
20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring.
21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise.
22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died.
23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife."
24 Jesus said to them, "Is this not the reason you are wrong, because 42you know neither the Scriptures nor 43the power of God?
25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither 44marry nor 45are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
26 And as for the dead being raised, 46have you not read in 47the book of Moses, in 48the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 49'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?
27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong."

The Great Commandment

28 50And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?"
29 Jesus answered, "The most important is, 51'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, 52the Lord is one.
30 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.'
31 53The second is this: 54'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment 55greater than these."
32 And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that 56he is one, and 57there is no other besides him.
33 And to love him with all the heart and with all 58the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, 59is much more than all 60whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." 61And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Whose Son Is the Christ?

35 62And as 63Jesus taught in the temple, he said, "How can the scribes say that 64the Christ is the son of David?
36 David himself, 65in the Holy Spirit, declared, 66"'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies 67under your feet.'
37 David himself calls him Lord. So 68how is he his son?" And the great throng 69heard him gladly.

Beware of the Scribes

38 70And in his teaching he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces
39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and 71the places of honor at feasts,
40 72who devour widows' houses and 73for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."

The Widow's Offering

41 74And he sat down opposite 75the treasury and watched the people 76putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 And a poor widow came and put in two 77small copper coins, which make a penny.[f]
43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, 78this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.
44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her 79poverty has put in everything she had, all 80she had 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.

Cross References 80

  • 1. For ver. 1-12, see Matthew 21:33-46; Luke 20:9-19
  • 2. Psalms 80:8; Isaiah 5:1; Matthew 21:28
  • 3. Isaiah 5:2
  • 4. Song of Songs 8:11, 12
  • 5. Mark 13:34; Matthew 25:14, 15
  • 6. Matthew 5:12; Matthew 22:6; Matthew 23:34, 37; [2 Chronicles 24:19; 2 Chronicles 36:15, 16; Nehemiah 9:26; Jeremiah 37:15; Jeremiah 38:6; Acts 7:52; 2 Corinthians 11:24-26; 1 Thessalonians 2:15; Hebrews 11:36, 37]
  • 7. [See ver. 3 above]
  • 8. Matthew 22:4
  • 9. [Acts 14:19]
  • 10. Acts 5:41(Gk.)
  • 11. [See ver. 3 above]
  • 12. See Matthew 3:17
  • 13. [Hebrews 1:1]
  • 14. Hebrews 1:2; [John 1:11; Romans 8:17]
  • 15. [1 Kings 21:19]
  • 16. Hebrews 13:12
  • 17. [Luke 19:27]
  • 18. [Matthew 24:50; Matthew 25:19]
  • 19. Matthew 21:43; Acts 13:46; Acts 18:6; Acts 28:28; [Matthew 8:11, 12]
  • 20. See Matthew 21:16
  • 21. Luke 4:21; Acts 8:35
  • 22. Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7; Cited from Psalms 118:22, 23
  • 23. Mark 11:18; Luke 19:47, 48; John 7:25, 30, 44; [Matthew 26:4]
  • 24. Mark 11:32
  • 25. Matthew 22:22
  • 26. For ver. 13-27, see Matthew 22:15-32; Luke 20:20-38
  • 27. Mark 3:6; [Mark 8:15]
  • 28. Mark 3:6; [Mark 8:15]
  • 29. Luke 11:54
  • 30. [John 3:2]
  • 31. See Acts 10:34
  • 32. Acts 18:25, 26; [Acts 13:10]
  • 33. Matthew 17:25
  • 34. Luke 2:1; Luke 3:1
  • 35. Matthew 23:28; Luke 12:1
  • 36. See John 8:6
  • 37. See Matthew 18:28
  • 38. Romans 13:7
  • 39. Matthew 3:7; Matthew 16:1; Matthew 22:34; Acts 4:1; Acts 5:17; Acts 23:6
  • 40. Acts 23:8; [Acts 4:2]
  • 41. [Deuteronomy 25:5]
  • 42. John 20:9
  • 43. 1 Corinthians 6:14
  • 44. Matthew 24:38; Luke 17:27
  • 45. Matthew 24:38; Luke 17:27
  • 46. See Matthew 21:16
  • 47. [Luke 3:4; Luke 20:42; Acts 1:20; Acts 7:42]
  • 48. Ex. 3:1-4, 17
  • 49. Acts 7:32; Cited from Exodus 3:6
  • 50. For ver. 28-34, see Matthew 22:34-40, 46; [Luke 10:25-28]
  • 51. Luke 10:27; Cited from Deuteronomy 6:4, 5
  • 52. Romans 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6; Galatians 3:20; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19; James 4:12; Jude 25; [Matthew 19:17; Matthew 23:9]
  • 53. [1 John 4:21]
  • 54. Cited from Leviticus 19:18; See Matthew 19:19
  • 55. [Matthew 23:23]
  • 56. [See ver. 29 above]
  • 57. Cited from Deuteronomy 4:35(Gk.)
  • 58. Deuteronomy 4:6; Luke 2:47; Colossians 1:9; Colossians 2:2
  • 59. 1 Samuel 15:22; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8; Matthew 9:13; Matthew 12:7
  • 60. Psalms 40:6; Hebrews 10:6, 8
  • 61. Luke 20:40
  • 62. For ver. 35-37, see Matthew 22:41-45; Luke 20:41-44
  • 63. See Matthew 26:55
  • 64. See Matthew 1:1, 17
  • 65. [Luke 10:21; 1 Corinthians 12:3]
  • 66. Acts 2:34, 35; Hebrews 1:13; Cited from Psalms 110:1; [1 Corinthians 15:25; Hebrews 10:13]
  • 67. [Acts 7:49]
  • 68. [Romans 1:3, 4]
  • 69. Mark 6:20
  • 70. For ver. 38, 39, see Matthew 23:1, 2, 5-7; Luke 20:45, 46; [Luke 11:43]
  • 71. Luke 14:7, 8
  • 72. [Luke 11:39; Luke 16:14]
  • 73. [Matthew 6:5, 7]
  • 74. For ver. 41-44, see Luke 21:1-4
  • 75. Matthew 27:6; John 8:20
  • 76. 2 Kings 12:9
  • 77. Luke 12:59
  • 78. [2 Corinthians 8:2, 12]
  • 79. Philippians 4:11
  • 80. Luke 8:43

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Greek bondservant; also verse 4
  • [b]. Greek the head of the corner
  • [c]. Greek you do not look at people's faces
  • [d]. A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer
  • [e]. Greek his brother
  • [f]. Greek two lepta, which make a kodrantes; a kodrantes (Latin quadrans) was a Roman copper coin worth about 1/64 of a denarius (which was a day's wage for a laborer)

Mark 12 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.