Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Mark 12:18-40

<< Previous Note(s)Mark Main PageNext Note(s) >>

The Sadducees - Mark 12:18

The Sadducees were another party in Judaism. They had great influence because of their connections to the temple and to the aristocracy of Jerusalem. See the article on Pharisees and Sadducees. They did not believe in the resurrection, but they tried to act as though they did to trap Jesus with a trick quick question. See BC 37.

Kinsman–redeemer legislation - Mark 12:19

Their question is based on the kinsman–redeemer legislation of Deut. 25:5, 6.

Jesus rebuked their attempt. - Mark 12:24-27

Jesus rebuked their attempt to trap him by condemning them for two failures. They didn't know the power of God and they didn't know the scriptures. They underestimated God's power by denying that he could raise the dead. God will raise his people to a whole new order of physical life, and in this new mode of living, marriage is irrelevant. They also misunderstood the scriptures. Jesus quoted Exod. 3:6. God told Moses that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus claimed that such a claim was a nonsense statement and patently false unless Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had all been still alive with God when God spoke to Moses. God is the God of the living.

One scribe listened - Mark 12:28-34

There was at least one scribe who listened honestly to Jesus and was not trying to trap him.

613 Commandments - Mark 12:28

The rabbis counted 613 commandments in the Books of Moses and argued over which were the most important.

Jesus answered - Mark 12:29-31

Jesus answered the question by quoting the Shema, which was prayed daily by the Jews. The name Shema is the first word of Deut. 6:4, 5, Hear. The most important commandment is to love God with all one's being. Jesus went further and referred to Lev. 19:18 saying that the second most important grows out of the first, love your neighbor.

Not far from the kingdom of God - Mark 12:34

The scribe's honest searching and wise response led to Jesus' encouraging words that he was not far from the kingdom of God. His reaction to Jesus was so different from so many other Jewish leaders in this section of the gospel. The chief priests, scribes, and elders (in 11:18), the Pharisees and the Herodians (in 12:13), and the Sadducees (in 12:18) had all tried to trap Jesus. Jesus' ability to answer all their questions discouraged them all from challenging him in public any further.

Jesus quoted Ps. 110:1 - Mark 12:35-37

Jesus seized the initiative and asked his own question. He quoted Ps. 110:1 and asked why the scribes called the Christ David's son when David himself calls the Christ, Lord? The title Christ is simply the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah. The large crowd in the temple courts gladly listened to Jesus stumping the teachers of Israel. Mark began this long section of Jewish challenges with the question about Jesus' authority back in 11:27. In 12:35-36 Mark began to draw the section to a close by giving Jesus' answer to that question. Jesus was the Christ. Jesus was David's Lord. Jesus spoke in his own authority.

Hypocritical religious leaders - Mark 12:38-40

Jesus warned the people about hypocritical religious leaders again. See 7:6; 8:15. Jesus condemned their proud displays of religious piety and their abuse of their privileges. This is the end of Jesus' public ministry in Mark's Gospel. Jesus and the Jewish leadership are completely at odds and this antimony had now become very public.

Related Resources

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

<< Previous Note(s)Mark Main PageNext Note(s) >>