Mark 12:35-44


The Lord said to my lord. Psalm 110:1, With David being the Psalmist, this shows his respect for his descendant (referred to as my Lord). Jesus was arguing that the passage is about the Lord’s anointed. The passage looks at an enthronement of his descendant and a declaration of honor for him as he takes his place at the side of God. In Jerusalem, the king’s palace was located to the right of the temple to indicate this kind of relationship. Jesus was pressing the language here to get his opponents to reflect on how great the Messiah is. It was a common belief in Judaism that the Messiah would be David’s son coming from the lineage of David. On this point the Pharisees agreed and were correct. But their understanding was shallow, since for the Messiah to be David’s Lord, he had to be God! With this statement Jesus was affirming that, as the Messiah, he is both Lord God and man. Revelation 21:22.


Notice the things they like, have nothing to do with what makes them who they are; The Law. Long robes, public greetings, best seats in worship, honorable positions in feasts, property & lengthy prayers. Does the Law say anything about the length of a prayer?  Nehemiah 9:5-38 contains the longest prayer in all of Scripture, and it can be read aloud with expression in less than seven minutes. The longest recorded prayer of Jesus is in John 17, and can be read in about 3 ½ minutes. However he repeatedly asked his disciples to spend an hour in prayer, and it’s recorded more than once that he spent the entire night in prayer. So what was so bad about the lengthy prayers of Scribes? See Luke 18:10-14, and remember why The Spirit preserved James 3:1 for us today.

A CONTRAST IN GIVING, v41-44The offering box refers to the receptacles in the temple forecourt by the Court of Women used to collect freewill offerings. These are mentioned by Josephus, J. W. 5.5.2 (5.200); 6.5.2 (6.282); Ant. 19.6.1 (19.294). In the Mishnah, Shekalim 6, 5 (the only written evidence of the Jewish oral Law) it says there were 13 of these receptacles in the form of trumpets. The poor widow was certainly poor, because the two small copper coins were lepta (plural) or lepton (singular) the smallest and least valuable coins in circulation in Palestine, worth 1/128 of a denarius, or about six minutes of an average daily wage. This was next to nothing in monetary value. Whereas the rich people were throwing lots of money into the ‘trumpets’ and looked liberal in their free-will offerings. In appearance it was very valuable, but being “rich”, they obviously had money to spare. The contrast between this passage v41-44 and what was just written before in 11:15-18 is remarkable. The woman is set in stark contrast to the religious leaders. She was a poor widow, they were rich. She was uneducated in the law, they were well educated in the law. She was a woman, they were men. But they were not showing faith and actually stole money from God and men, 11:17, she evidenced great faith and gave out of her extreme poverty everything she had. The disciples accepted that Jesus knew the widow was giving everything she had to live on. They didn’t question a hidden investment she may have had because the contrast before their very eyes was enough to convince them that her faith was genuine and the rich people’s faith was at best shallow, and at worst absent. This teaches us that Jesus is not interested in the percentage of our giving, he is most interested in the faith of our giving!

Mark 12:13-34


If you preface an accusation with a positive compliment, then afterwards when the accusation comes, it’s better tasting and they are more likely to understand their need for repentance. They believed Jesus, as a Jew, would surely side against paying the Roman taxes, afterall, he was applauded by the Jewish majority for helping them understand the Law and speaking the truth like no one had heard before, (Jn. 7:46). The hypocrites joining forces with each other, (Mk. 3:6) approached Jesus with praise, in the hope that he would give an either/or answer, but Jesus gave a both/and answer, so slipping out of the trap. An honest inquirer on the issue, would surely seek to learn “what is God’s”, in order to give him what is his. But their hypocrisy left them in astonishment. Why would his critics put the issue of paying taxes to Jesus with both Herodians and Pharisees present?

On a more personal note: Have you ever resented paying taxes, which are so expensive you are tempted to worry about how you will pay other debts? If this happens, we should question our faith in the Sovereignty of God, who tells us to pay them anyway. Even in the face of a Government that will take those expensive taxes and execute ungodly goals, we are expected to give to God what is his, and give to the Government what is theirs. This should make us feel like a trusting servant of both God and Government, so why would any Christian have a conflicted conscience?


The levirate law is in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. The brother of a man who died without a son had an obligation to marry his brother’s widow. This served several purposes: It provided for the widow in a society where a widow with no children to care for her would be reduced to begging, and it preserved the name of the deceased, who would be regarded as the legal father of the first son produced from that marriage. All the reasons for practicing levirate marriage in a family were merely physical. The resurrection and resurrected bodies had nothing that could possibly pertain to this physical life. So the Sadducees were trying to make spiritual implications upon a totally physical scenario, which was almost ridiculous. Therefore Jesus takes the subject of the resurrection and puts it in a different context: Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. Demanding that they accept God’s promise of life-everlasting. If they don’t, their logical conclusion is that their “god” is dead. 


When I get to heaven, I want to learn who this “Expert in the Law” (Mk. 1:22) is. Jesus said he was close to the Kingdom of Heaven. He had the audacity while within eye-sight and ear-shot of his fellow peers to sincerely praise Jesus, as well as agree with him. What strength of courage, what depth of love for God’s cause. Do we have this? A faith that takes a public stand for the priorities of Jesus is very beneficial for everyone. Otherwise, his critics are shut down! Matthew 22:46, Mark 12:34 & Luke 20:40 all record this event. From here forward his critics have no more words to deceive, they only have actions to destroy. If we practice the greatest commandment as well as the second likened unto it, we will feel friction, God loves this and Satan hates it. Love in v30 is in the future tense, but in v31, it is in the present tense. Why is that?

Mark 11:27-12:12


Many Bible theologians have argued about the reason Jesus answers their question with a question, as if to make a deal. The reason Jesus does this is he obviously knows they simply want to argue and catch him in a fault. The Chief Priests, Scribes and the Elders aren’t interested in the source of authority Jesus has, but they are proven to be more interested in what other people think, “for they feared all the people”, v32. These religious leaders are cowards, they have no brave faith in God to help them lead the people, but they would rather fear the people. The point is that no matter what Jesus said in response to their question they were not going to believe it and would in the end use it against him. So they claimed ignorance and indicted themselves when they cited only two options and chose neither of them. The point for us: It is never a good idea to doubt the source of authority in Christ, if we keep doubting instead of believing in his authority, then we will end up incriminating ourselves. Notice Jesus was not afraid to use the subject of BAPTISM for pointing people to divine authority, see Mark 1:4. Why should we?


After the Owner of the Vineyard sends over 4 or 5 servants to try and collect his share of the crop, they all get abused or killed, until He is left with only his son to send. Sounds almost desperate, why would the Owner think they will respect his Son after all this violent abuse and murder? Because some of them did respect Him, Anna, Simeon, the 12 Apostles, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea & all the women who ministered to him and his closest disciples. God knew that some Jews were more open-minded than others and they weren’t all closed-minded idolators, see Acts 17:11. But whoever pays attention to life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who pays attention to correction gains understanding. Wisdoms’ instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor (Proverbs 15:31-33).

v9, shows the reaction of the Owner towards the greedy Tenants, the verb “kill” (NIV) or “destroy” (KJV) is the verb, apollymi, “ruin, destroy,” to cause destruction, especially, “put to death.” We’ve studied Jesus’ prediction of the fall of Jerusalem which took place in 70 AD. This crushing destruction was terrible evidence of the wrath of God upon this rebellious land. To be clear, this destruction is not because of their rejection of Jesus, it is because of their hypocrisy in loving the ability to make money in the Temple, instead of loving the ability to please the Father in the Temple by serving the Nations.


The Chief Priests, Scribes and the Elders are not stupid, they can easily see that they represent the greedy tenants which turn murderous. So Christ quotes the “Cornerstone” passages of prophecy from Psalms 118:22-23.  The imagery in Eph. 2:20-22 & 1st Cor. 3:11 shows us that the term κεφαλὴ γωνίας (kephalē gōnias) refers to a cornerstone, not a capstone. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The use of Psa. 118:22-23 and the “stone imagery” as a reference to Christ and his suffering and exaltation is common in the NT, 1st Pet. 2:6-8. The irony in the use of Psa. 118:22-23 is that in the OT, Israel was the one rejected (or perhaps her king) by the Gentiles, but in the NT it is Jesus who is rejected by Israel.

Mark 11:12-25

The Cursing of the Fig Tree, v12-14; The only time Jesus used God’s power to harm anything was to teach a lesson on judging hypocritical religious leaders. All of Christ’s miracles were to show compassion towards people and/or establish the powerful authority of his message. Religious leaders should be fruit-bearing, and the fig tree appeared healthy, but had no fruit. Just like the ruling Scribes & Pharisees, they looked healthy on the outside, but were empty on the inside. At the expense of the tree, Christ proved to us that his insight to judge was a warning to Christians of all ages that fruit-bearing can not be neglected and we can not afford to ignore growing the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23. It seems Jesus had to go hungry, and if we do not bear fruit, His Spirit must be grieved, Ephesians 4:30-32.  It appears that Mark records this incident as a sign of what is going to happen to the leadership in Jerusalem. The fact that the nation as a whole is indicted is made clear in Mk.13:1-37 where Jesus speaks of Jerusalem’s destruction. On the subject of the fig-tree being out of season, true, It wasn’t the season for figs. But it was the season for faith and forgiveness. It was Passover. If there was a time Jews should be ascending to the temple in faith with expectations of forgiveness, this is it. If Jesus will curse the fig tree out of season and it withers, what will happen to the Temple which fails to bear fruit in season? What will happen to the Christian that doesn’t bear fruit?

The Second Cleansing of The Temple, v15-19; The first cleansing in Jn. 2:13-16, where Jesus renounces the moneychangers during the same feast time but years earlier, sets the stage for this final denouncement of their greed-filled ungodly gain. The language Jesus uses here in Mark is harsher, calling them “robbers”, whereas years ago, he simply compared them to running a “marketplace”. But regardless of the severity of language, The Temple in the mind of Christ was his Father’s House of Prayer for all Nations, not just Jews (Isaiah 56:7). But they had inflated the currency rate of exchange for the events using Temple Shekels only, regardless of what currency foreign proselytized believers brought to Jerusalem. Which was a strict way of working the economy considering the Romans denarius was in widespread use throughout Israel and in Jerusalem. The holiness of sacrifices must have been at stake in the minds of the Jewish Temple traders, as they would only use shekels to buy & sell sacrifices for the Feast’s activities, but of course this gave their greed a legit reason for inflating the rate of exchange and maybe even exchange fees. What made Jesus very angry was more than simply the theft, but also the perversion of purpose in the sacrifices bought. In 11:16, he even prohibited transport in the Temple of the sacrifice purchases, as if to say by his actions, that if they needed to exchange currency and conduct business in sacrifices, they should be doing it OUTSIDE the Temple grounds! If anyone wanted to prove who was holier than who, Jesus proved by banning their transport, who exactly had the holiest purpose, keep the Temple a place of prayer, not business! In the eyes of Jesus they were hypocrites of holiness. Matthew 22:21.

The Withered Fig Tree, v20-25; The power of judgment against hypocrisy was a lesson for his disciples who saw the quick death of the cursed tree, not the religious leaders in the Temple. The whole church was shown this in Acts 4:34-5:11. How often do we need to be reminded to keep the purpose of our sacrificial service holy? Whatever service we render in the name of Christianity, should benefit Christ, or your neighbor, not ourselves. Mark 12:30-31 & Duet. 6:5. Therefore forgive as our Father has forgiven us, Eph. 4:32.

Mark 10:41-11:11

The Displeasure of the Disciples & The Lord’s Teaching: v41-45

There will be times when we are displeased with brothers in the church, even leaders. When this happens, we should remember that the Lord can teach us and wants us to learn from this displeasure. It is not a time to exercise judgment and/or protest, it’s a time to learn and treat displeasing brothers with God’s wisdom, service and love. In this case, the disciples must learn that the purpose of leadership is to serve, not subjugate or manipulate the people we rule, but to serve! This is the exact opposite of worldly leadership. Jesus took this type of leadership to the extreme, in that He served to the extent that he gave service that was sacrificial to the point of death. Why? Because only he could give divine purity in a sacrifice for our sins, Php. 2:5-8. We on the other hand, can serve to give gratitude, praise, wisdom & love. This took time for Jesus to learn and he mastered it, Read Hebrews 5:8, so can we!

The Son of David, powerfully merciful towards Blind Bartimaeus, v46-52

Mark records this miracle as done just before Jesus makes his triumphant entry into Jerusalem for the passion week. Why? Because this is the type of King Jesus is! Powerfully merciful in his rule over all voluntary subjects. When Jesus meets Bartimaeus, it is as he has called the calling, note: Bartimaeus was calling first, but was hindered, so Jesus called him. This is a serviceable Messiah. When Bartimaeus called, he used the term “Son of David” v47, see Isaiah 9:6-7, and knew what the correct meaning was, as his reply was using the title “Lord” in v51. A Messiah that was royal by divine appointment in Jehovah as God. Can you imagine Jesus of Nazareth accepting this kind of kingship? He wore a crown of thorns on a cross with this title, see John 19:19, and he exercised authority by changing the old into the new forever, Acts 6:14. That is the kind of powerful mercy that can cause the blind to see, physically, and most of all, for us, spiritual sight from the Light of the world. Even though Jesus told Bartimaeus that once healed, he could “Go his way”, Bartimaeus chose to follow “Jesus in The way”, a great lesson for us today, if you want to see Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Christ Rides Triumphantly into Jerusalem; 11:1-11

The preparation for His sacrifice begins and ends near the “Mount of Olives”, it’s where he sends the disciples out to get the colt/donkey and it’s where he prays to commit himself as the sacrifice. The base of the Mt. Olives is where the garden of Gethsemane is, which means “oil press”. Appropriate for what Jesus was about to do, He would be put under the greatest pressure for the sake of our sin, and it would eventually kill him. Once the disciples obeyed the command to retrieve the new donkey, Jesus would exert another miracle over creation. No one can immediately ride an untrained donkey and have it perfectly obey his every motion. Jesus is exhibiting complete control over everything concerning his sacrifice, the preparation planning even the smallest of details, like the reaction of the public about a possible theft! When the public put down palm leaves/branches for Jesus to ride upon, they were expressing joy, it is reminiscent of the Feast of Tabernacles, a most joyous feast, Lev. 23:40 & Neh. 8:15 but in actual fact they were in Jerusalem for the Feast of unleavened bread and entry into the Passover, a most solemn feast, Lev. 23:4-7. This may explain why critics of Jesus tried to demand Jesus silence the public and calm the rejoicing down, but nothing could stop His control, see Luke 19:37-40.

Mark 10:17-40

The impossibility of attaining the Kingdom while loving possessions, v17-31

Jesus does not deny great rewards to those who follow him, both in the present age and in the age to come, but it must be thoroughly understood that suffering will be a real part in the life of the church, for in the very next passage (10:32-24) Jesus reaffirmed the truth prophetically of his rejection, suffering, death, and resurrection, and that is who we are following! Today nobody talks about “INHERITING” eternal life, but we do talk about deserving salvation, like as if we have been good enough, and if someone who is relatively “good” ends up in hell, then how can God be “love”? Love surely couldn’t do that! Why? Because deep down, most people really believe the Kingdom of Heaven is reserved for people who sin less, instead of people who have all their sin forgiven by Christ’s blood. Perhaps the rich young ruler believed that if he obeyed enough rules, then he could have the least amount of sins which could qualify himself to inherit eternal life, simply because he was a “good enough” Jew. Sadly, his sin was his heart-felt idolatry in his possessions. Any kind of idolatry will prohibit our own forgiveness because idolatry itself is sin. Our God in Jesus Christ will not tolerate ANY OTHER god put before Him in our life. Matthew 4:10 & 6:24, “You Cannot Serve God & Money”. Our God is a jealous God and a consuming fire, Exodus 34:14 & Heb. 12:29.

The persecutions mentioned in v30, are a very real reminder of how our Christ-like example is a target for worldly people’s hate, even while we are blessed by the Lord, it is mingled with trials. Paul reminds us of how he was content in whatever state his physical lifestyle was in, and yet pain was a very real price he paid for the faith we have in Christ, Philippians 4:11-13. 

The phrase, v31, “First will be last and the last, first” is a principle of the Kingdom’s nature, and perhaps the best example can be seen in Mat. 11:11, where Jesus points out that the greatest is John the immersionist. Can you imagine being on an equal footing with John, the cousin of Jesus?

Christ’s third prediction of His own passion, death & resurrection, v32-34

Mark records all three occasions of Jesus wanting his disciples to know about the suffering, death & resurrection of the Son of Man. The word “Teach” is used in Mk. 8:31 & 9:31, but here in Mk 10:32, Mark records more details of his foreknowledge. The mocking was prophesied, Psa. 22:6-13, the spitting was prophesied, Isa. 50:6, the stripes were prophesied in Isa. 53:5. Even the means by which they would kill him was prophesied in Zech. 12:10, especially when you put this prophecy next to the words of Jesus concerning the “Lifting Up” of the Son of Man as the bronze snake Moses had lifted up. We can tell Jesus knew exactly what was about to happen, John 3:14. The charge of condemning the Son of Man is laid upon the “Chief Priests & Experts in the Law”, and this is what happens when he tells Pilate who washes his hands of the death sentence, Jn. 19:11. Yet he shows determination to meet his enemies in Jerusalem. What kind of determination do we have in following him?

The inadequacies of the disciples, v35-40After the first passion prediction Jesus rebuked Peter as having been used by Satan. After the second passion prediction the disciples were concerned about who would be the greatest in the kingdom. After the third passion prediction James and John asked for positions of honor and rulership in the kingdom, revealing their complete misunderstanding of the nature of the kingdom and exposing their inadequacy as true disciples of Jesus. Their words “We are able” must be the epitome of naivety, for they had no idea what costly peril and pain lay before them. Jesus replied that such positions were for those for whom it has been prepared. This appointment of glory was exclusively in the Father’s hand & knowledge.