“Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Mark 12:10-11 NKJV
Today is Monday, the day after the day we celebrate the resurrection. And this week, we are reading about the events of the week that lead up to the Resurrection. We are studying Passion Week, specifically, today we will learn how Jesus answered questions and what lessons needed to be said before he died (and rose again and went to be with the Father).
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is the Book of Mark chapter 12 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers
12 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to [a]vinedressers and went into a far country. 2 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another servant, [b]and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. 5 And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. 6 Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those [c]vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.
9 “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
11 This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
12 And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.
The Pharisees: Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?
13 Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. 14 When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and [d]care about no one; for You do not [e]regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?”
But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” 16 So they brought it.
And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”
17 And Jesus answered and said to them, [f]“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: What About the Resurrection?
18 Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him, saying: 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And the third likewise. 22 So the seven had her and left no offspring. Last of all the woman died also. 23 Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.”
24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore [g]mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly [h]mistaken.”
The Scribes: Which Is the First Commandment of All?
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, [i]perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the [j]first commandment of all?”
29 Jesus answered him, “The [k]first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ [l]This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, [m]with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
But after that no one dared question Him.
Jesus: How Can David Call His Descendant Lord?
35 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’
37 Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”
And the common people heard Him gladly.
Beware of the Scribes
38 Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and [n]for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
The Widow’s Two Mites
41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two [o]mites, which make a [p]quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
- Mark 12:1 tenant farmers
- Mark 12:4 NU omits and at him they threw stones
- Mark 12:7 tenant farmers
- Mark 12:14 Court no man’s favor
- Mark 12:14 Lit. look at the face of men
- Mark 12:17 Pay
- Mark 12:24 Or deceived
- Mark 12:27 Or deceived
- Mark 12:28 NU seeing
- Mark 12:28 foremost
- Mark 12:29 foremost
- Mark 12:30 NU omits the rest of v. 30.
- Mark 12:33 NU omits with all the soul
- Mark 12:40 for appearance’ sake
- Mark 12:42 Gr. lepta, very small copper coins
- Mark 12:42 A Roman coin
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
Isaiah 41:10- “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Friday we read about Palm Sunday and we read that Jesus went daily to the temple to teach. Today we read some of those teachings. Scholars say these were not necessarily taught on Monday of Passion Week, nor were they necessarily taught on the same day. But Mark groups them all together and so they comprise today’s reading.
We start with the parable of the vinedresser. One of my least favorite parables, it lays out how God sent prophets and leaders to his children, and they were all rejected. Then He sent Jesus, His only begotten son – and they thought they could inherit by killing the son?! In long form (meaning the entire Bible) the story is full of love and grief over these ‘vinedressers’ but in this short parable, the lack of emotion for the vinedressers is stark. In the long version, they are called the children of God – so it is no wonder that they thought they could inherit, even after killing servants and the son, because as children, too, they thought grace would abound to them. But when the story is laid out this way – the error of their ways is more evident, less like a parable and more like reality. And the wicked Pharisees and Scribes knew it.
So the Pharisees and Scribes within all their plotting – decide to test Him – maybe get our Lord to slip up, blunder, or stumble on His words in front of the people turning them away from Him. But God’s son doesn’t screw up!
First up – Taxes. Is it lawful to pay taxes? It was a time similar situation to The American Tea Party against Great Britain – taxation without representation (with much refection on the current USA’s illegal taxes and taxation system). There was much public discussion of these taxes and being treated fairly. BUT the question was not if it was legal to be taxed. The question was about paying it. The money, back then held Caesar’s inscription. The money today holds our governments’ inscription. Heck, our money isn’t even made from silver or gold.
As I keep saying this physical world seen with your human eyes is NOT the full reality. So let us open the curtain to the spirit here for a better understanding. Because Jesus was NOT saying it was legal or even ok to tax the people. Let look at what the Bible DOES say about God (who is spirit) and His relationship to wealth in order to pull back the curtain and get some understanding.
“‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts.” Hag. 2:8
And in Psalm 50 He says He owns a cattle on a thousand hills – along with all the land and all the beasts. God is wealth. It is all His. He can transfer it from one person to another.
So Jesus is basically telling them to pay Caesar’s tax – because it doesn’t matter. This is going to become more vital as the end times progress. Besides the prophecy about restrictions on buying and selling – we are looking down the barrel at an economic depression anticipated to be worse than the great depression. They are predicting global famines as well. BUT, do not be afraid – God owns it. The wheat, the bread, the beasts, the meat, the silver and even the gold all belongs to God! And he shall provide all our needs. He shall transfer the wealth to His children to sustain them – IT IS WRITTEN! But we must be righteous and prayerful, we must be humbly repentant, we must be busy working and doing what He has told us to do. So pay Caesar, who cares what it costs, it is God’s bill and He has to provide for it. And pay it as a blessing unto the Lord. Pay for the increased gas prices, but do not complain. Pay for it while blessing the Lord. Pay the rising bread costs, etc and so on. As a child of God, put it in Daddy’s hands to pay for it. (This does not mean, unwise spending and selfish greed. Spend it prayerful in obedience as you strive to do all things in obedience.)
And do not forget the part about giving God the portion which is His… because if all things are His – we must surrender all. Do not look at my physical situation where I surrendered all and Jesus took it. No. Look at the spiritual outcome of my surrender – Look what Jesus is doing with my all in the Spirit! Look at the blessing upon blessing and grace upon grace. Look at how I am reaping seven fold for all the things robbed of me and 100 fold for all the things I freely gave. Plant the seeds in the spirit and stop looking for the blessing and bill money. Look for who you can bless and be a blessing to.
Sadly, I grieved the Lord, today. I passed a homeless man. I should have stopped. I should have offered him Jesus. In my head, it felt cruel to do without food or something for him. I had nothing with me except my Bible and a spare Bible. I could have offered him my spare Bible. Instead, I drove past. I stared at him from the street light. I then went about my day – begging God for forgiveness. I went back, He was gone. I had God to give him. I had the very thing he needed to change him and therefore his situation and circumstances. And you know how I justified it – well, I am a lady and it is unsafe to go help a male stranger. As if I wasn’t a mighty child of God, as if I did not have warring Angels around me as if my God wasn’t big enough to protect me and work in that man’s life. As if my God did not own it all and I could have taken the man into the store near there and bought him some food, paid with my bank card and God could have put the funds in the account. He does own ALL the wealth. Money and a construct of man. Money does not provide – my God provides! Obey the provider and stop looking for the provisions. (I am preaching at myself here.) I still feel so bad – and I pray to God that he sent someone else who was obedient.
I don’t know about you – but when I screw up, I beat myself up about it. The devil doesn’t even have to do anything, I do it for him! I asked forgiveness, I repented, and I went back. There is nothing else to be done, but be obedient next time.
Back to the reading – the next test ‘they’ give Jesus is about marriage in the afterlife. Most of the proverbial “they” and therefore “their” tests had something to do with documented social issues of the day – but this one doesn’t seem to have a documented social situation associated with it. I can only imagine there might have been a case of many brothers having the same wife that was prominent in their society at the time. I mean, if one woman in our time had every single husband die – the tabloids would pick that up and the internet would be buzzing with speculation.
However, the Sadducees, only believed the first 5 books of the Bible – the Torah – and therefore denied the immortality of the soul and the afterlife. So why would these Sadducees be asking about heaven of all things? Not only did they lack any background to present a logical argument in the face of whatever answer they might receive – showed their lack of understanding by even asking.
Jesus says to them – you are asking the wrong question here. There is no marriage in heaven. I heard people speak on afterlife theories and near death experiences (and one of these who died for a few minutes and came back with a supernatural experience). They all are similar and do not contradict, which is interesting in itself. They say you see loved one, but in the presence of perfect love and without any needs, they aren’t what matters – all that matters is worshiping God.
Jesus says we become like angels – NOT that we become angels. Angels are their own beings – not like us who are created in His image. But angels worship God and have jobs to do (as we saw in Ezekiel). Angles war against the enemy and deliver messages.
Then Jesus teaches them from their own limited understanding – Jesus speaks from the Torah.
“But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.” Verses 26-27
Everyone took turns trying to test Jesus and make Him slip up. The Pharisees, the Sadducees and now the Scribes:
Which is the greatest commandment? Obvious, to the personification of love, that it is Himself. Love is the greatest – love God, love each other. And when applied with 1 Corinthians 13 (where God is Love and Love is described), we start to understand that we do not understand what love is. And that is because as do not fully understand our God. You and I, we are interested in studying and reading and learning about God, so we should have a better grasp on love. And therefore we also should understand the verse where God said His people perish for lack of understanding (Hosea 4:6). Love is life – therefore with knowledge of love, we have death. Ah, but that is a big lesson, let us stay focused on the passage before us.
When the Scribe agreed with Jesus’s answer, Jesus said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Verse 34). I wonder if that Scribe made it into the kingdom.
So Jesus then took a turn asking them the question: how can David call His Descendant Lord? In asking the question (which no one is recorded to have answered) He implies He is the Christ and the “common people” heard Him gladly. Sometimes a preacher preaches meat too deep for your understanding, and sometimes milk, and sometimes it is just right. These “common people” might have been hearing meat that was too much for them to understand. I say this because every time I study it, I learn more and understand deeper – and understand more why Jesus was bringing it up. This is a hard passage to fully understand, it is abstract in many ways. But, hear Him gladly, even when you do not fully understand. Gladly. With all joy! HEAR Him. Pray for ears to hear. Understanding will come. And hopefully not all at once – every time learn more and dig deeper.
These common folks are the ones like you and me – glad to be learning from Jesus.
It is Passion Week – and Jesus is teaching about the Christ as He fulfills the prophecies of the Christ. It is really a beautiful thing.
And a warning: Beware. There are certain types of people we should NOT be like. We should take note of them and avoid. We should guard and protect ourselves from. Let’s modernize it without taking it out of context. So these would be people in our churches – who wear clothes that make them stand out. Hold up – I have no honest fashion sense. I read the fashion news and watch the trends, but what I end up earing is a mixed up mess of patterns and styles. Many say I have a great fashion sense, assuming because I am an artist this mess is high style. I am just trying to be comfy and wear things that make me feel comfortable as well as give me comfort. Eclectic, eccentric, artsy, and a little hippie. Even in New York State – it stands out a little. Add to it, the scarves or hats to hide the fact that I suffered terribly from covid hair loss and I am now almost complete bald (from having thick wavy long hair that was down my whole back). Then add to that look, my statement jewelry. But I make jewelry for a living and I need the jewelry to stand out to market myself.
Am I who you are to beware of? No. people like me are not dressing to be noticed. And most of the time I am still able to blend in and not draw attention to myself.
I think about, at one church, a group of ladies came in all wearing luxury name brand clothing (which I wouldn’t have known, but they told me). They arrived early and left their bags to save their seats and fluttered about like moths (thinking they were butterflies). Their greetings were fake, but well-rehearsed and orchestrated to cause the conversation to be about them. They were the last to their seats – second or third row (best seats on the house).
At another church, I met a group of men who fit the bill. I jokingly called them the “Ol’ Boys Club”. It fit the bill.
And still another church – harder to find them. It was family clicks. Now, it is understandable if families mill about together with other families with children the same age. It took a while before I noticed. They were groups of people who were better than everyone else in their minds. The families of the music team – one “mean girl” group. (Yeah like the click of the stereotypical mean girls – but these were whole families.) The families of the people who were old and been there the longest – another group. Some thought the front were the best seats and other thought the back were the best seats and all thought they were the best and most righteous and judged, judged, judged.
All of these “look at me being so Holier than Thou” people are not in a service ministry – they are only in ministries where they are seen. The passage says they devour widows’ houses. So they aren’t over at the homeless shelter volunteering time to help clean it or make food (unless the TV crews are there doing on op ed on the church’s ministry there). They are paying for the person behind them in line’s food, over tipping the waitress, and other acts of kindness – and you know, because they tell you. But are they volunteering at the food pantry then delivering food to those who can’t make it – and not telling anyone?
If you still aren’t clear about who it is – go to prayer night. If the pastor is not running a tight ship on prayer night – these “Beware of” people will expose themselves with long passionate orations. Many times quite beautiful, meaningful and good things to agree in prayer on. What a conflict, then! I want to agree, but the spirit praying is the wrong one. Get close enough and you will hear the judgments and criticisms of others. You WILL get drawn in – because when they point of how they young guy says “oh-God” every third word of a prayer. You can’t unnoticed. Worse, you become acutely aware of your own language while speaking, instead of just letting the prayer flow from you.
Now that you know who they are, pray for them. Because they are going to get it worse. So pray for them. Pray for them.
Mark often used like concepts side by side to make a point – he also used the juxtaposition of opposing concepts. This method gives us room to go deeper than what is stated straight forward. The “beware of” group is juxtaposed to the widow’s mites. The “beware of” group may not be the wealthiest (or they may be) but they will, if the opportunity arises, make known their acts of giving. The widow made no fanfare or big scene.
Historically – you need to know – the offering container in the temple were big post with metal basins at the top. When you threw your money in, it made noise. There was no way not quietly give. Maybe you could gingerly set your money in? The “beware of” crowd was known for dropping in their money from a greater height to make sure it made lots of noise. They wanted to be seen.
Jesus know the widow dropped in two small coins – either he heard the “clank clank” and counted two or He saw in the spirit.
As opposed to the “beware of” folks – at some point in everyone’s life God brings them to the point of teaching them: how to give all, how to give out of need, how to trust Him for everything, and that it is impossible to out give God.
We all should be emptying ourselves on the altar, at the foot of the cross. We all should be depleted and thrilled, and thankful for anything God pours back into us – even if it is a small amount. We all have needs, of some kind or another – in that area of need, we should surrender it to God and give it all to Him. Maybe it is finances. Maybe it is social. Whatever your lack is – give it all to God. When I was first losing my hair from covid – I struggled with oh poor me – first the devil tries to kill me (yeah, I had it bad) then he takes my hair – and as I lost more and more and as more than 50% bald I said, that is it! The devil cannot have my hair, I give it to God! And I cut it off at about an inch and gave it to God. I am still shedding off lot of hair – but I have hair growing back too, now! Wherever you lack – GIVE it to God. Wherever, even hair (especially if losing it starts to cause you to struggle with vanity). So thankful that God has taught be this principle.
Please note – I share with you my personal experiences so God gets the glory and NOT to be seen or get credit from man. I’d rather you learn from my mistake or try the things I discovered works – than have you learn the hard way. Or maybe you can relate to my personal experience and therefore will help you apply the scriptures to your own life. And please call me out if I brag on anything other than what the Lord has done.
So the widow with the mite – I know we have covered this before, and those following for a while might remember, this is one passage where I DO apply all sorts of speculation!!! I speculate that the widow, was not only provided for, supernaturally, but she was grateful and received in exceeding abundance, pressed down shaken together and running over!
She gave her all. I can’t help but think of the widow that God provided Elijah. There was a famine and drought. God was having ravens bring Elijah food – but God cut off that supply and told him to go get bread from this widow. The widow couldn’t understand – all she had was one meal left and she was already about to split it with her son. Instead, in obedience to God, she made the one meal – and fed Elijah. She gave her all, even at the risk of her and her son’s death. She poured herself out and there was nothing left to give. And God took it… and God multiplied it… and they ALL ate and ate and ate! Give you mite – give both of them.
Give your all.
Speaking of juxtaposing of concepts. The “beware of” group takes their affirmations from man – takes, takes and takes some more.
And the widow gave – gave it all.
And in the reading it is Passion Week and Passover Week (and we have just finished Passion Week and are in Passover Week) – wherein, Jesus gave HIS all, gave His life. Man could not kill Him, but He laid it down – willingly. He gave it out of lack of any other options. God tried other ways, like atonement and sacrificial law. But Jesus’s sacrificed needed to be since Eve was deceived into biting the fruit – and trying other options just gave extra grace to those generations before.
But that is all finished now. Jesus fulfilled it all. We are now a holy priesthood, we are above and not beneath and blessed to be a blessing, and we are washed in His blood and adopted by the Father. Not because of us – but because He loves us.
Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!