Mark 12

1 And he began to speak to them in parables: A certain man planted a vineyard and made a hedge about it and dug a place for the winefat and built a tower and let it to husbandmen: and went into a far country.
2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant to receive of the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
3 Who, having laid hands on him, beat and sent him away empty.
4 And again he sent to them another servant: and him they wounded in the head and used him reproachfully.
5 And again he sent another, and him they killed: and many others, of whom some they beat, and others they killed.
6 Therefore, having yet one son, most dear to him, he also sent him unto them last of all, saying: They will reverence my son.
7 But the husbandmen said one to another: This is the heir. Come let us kill him and the inheritance shall be ours.
8 And laying hold on him, they killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.
9 What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy those husbandmen and will give the vineyard to others.
10 And have you not read this scripture, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is made the head of the corner:
11 By the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes.
12 And they sought to lay hands on him: but they feared the people. For they knew that he spoke this parable to them. And leaving him, they went their way.
13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and of the Herodians: that they should catch him in his words.
14 Who coming, say to him: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker and carest not for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar? Or shall we not give it?
15 Who knowing their wiliness, saith to them: Why tempt you me? Bring me a penny that I may see it.
16 And they brought it him. And he saith to them: Whose is this image and inscription? They say to him, Caesar’s.
17 And Jesus answering, said to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.
18 And there came to him the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection. And they asked him, saying:
19 Master, Moses wrote unto us that if any man’s brother die and leave his wife behind him and leave no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up seed to his brother.
20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife and died leaving no issue.
21 And the second took her and died: and neither did he leave any issue. And the third in like manner.
22 And the seven all took her in like manner and did not leave issue. Last of all the woman also died.
23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise again, whose wife shall she be of them? For the seven had her to wife.
24 And Jesus answering, saith to them: Do ye not therefore err, because you know not the scriptures nor the power of God?
25 For when they shall rise again from the dead, they shall neither marry, nor be married, but are as the angels in heaven.
26 And as concerning the dead that they rise again have you not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spoke to him, saying: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?
27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You therefore do greatly err.
28 And there came one of the scribes that had heard them reasoning together, and seeing that he had answered them well, asked him which was the first commandment of all.
29 And Jesus answered him: The first commandment of all is, Hear, O Israel: the Lord thy God is one God.
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like to it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these.
32 And the scribe said to him: Well, Master, thou hast said in truth that there is one God and there is no other besides him.
33 And that he should be loved with the whole heart and with the whole understanding and with the whole soul and with the whole strength. And to love one’s neighbour as one’s self is a greater thing than all holocausts and sacrifices.
34 And Jesus seeing that he had answered wisely, said to him: Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
35 And Jesus answering, said, teaching in the temple: How do the scribes say that Christ is the son of David?
36 For David himself saith by the Holy Ghost: The Lord said to my Lord: Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord. And whence is he then his son? And a great multitude heard him gladly.
38 And he said to them in his doctrine: Beware of the scribes, who love to walk in long robes and to be saluted in the marketplace,
39 And to sit in the first chairs in the synagogues and to have the highest places at suppers:
40 Who devour the houses of widows under the pretence of long prayer. These shall receive greater judgment.
41 And Jesus sitting over against the treasury, beheld how the people cast money into the treasury. And many that were rich cast in much.
42 And there came a certain poor widow: and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And calling his disciples together, he saith to them: Amen I say to you, this poor widow hath cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury.
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want cast in all she had, even her whole living.

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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.

Mark 12 Commentaries