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In this parable of the vineyard the Lord very graphically sketched for those people their own national history, and condemned them thereby. "They perceived that He spake the parable against them." These words would seem to intimate that the rejection of the Saviour by these rulers of the people was more a sin against light than we sometimes imagine. They had a clear comprehension of what He meant, but they set their hearts and wills against Him.
A coalition of religion and politics, Pharisees and Herodians, approached as if seeking after truth, and proposed a problem. With perfect ease, without resort to any subterfuge, Jesus replied. Caesar's things to Caesar, God's to God.
Next, the Sadducees came to Jesus, proposing a possible situation involving the resurrection. Our Lord replied by declaring their ignorance. "Is it not for this cause that ye err, that ye how not the Scriptures, nor the power of God?" (verse Mar 12:24 ).
Next a scribe asked a very subtle question. In answer, our Lord restated the essential truth of the unity of God, and then uttered the two great commandments, showing that they were great, not by comparison, but by inclusion.
Having answered the questioners, the Lord now carried the conflict into the camp of the enemy, and asked them a question. He played no trick with them in order to "catch them in their talk." He was revealing a truth, and His question led men into a place where they might see something of the divine method and understand His own position and mission.
Then followed a description of the scribes as He saw them: self-centered men, desiring all the outward show; oppressors, devouring widows' houses; hypocrites! For a pretense making long prayers. Unholy men. Receiving greater condemnation.
And once again we are face to face with the Master's keen observation of all that passed around Him, but this time in another application. As He saw the emptiness of the long prayers, so also did He observe the value of the sacrificial gift; and His estimate declares that those two farthings were worth more in the economy of heaven then all the gifts of the wealthy, which lacked the element of sacrifice.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Mark 12". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany