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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament
Mark 12



Verses 13-17

Some Pharisees and some members of Herod's party. For notes on this attempt to incriminate Jesus, see notes on Matthew 22:15-22.

Verses 18-27

Some Sadducees came to Jesus. For notes on this question about rising from death, see Matthew 22:23-33.

Verses 28-34

A teacher of the Law was there. Matthew tells that this man asked Jesus the question to "trap him." See notes on Matthew 22:34-40. You are not far from the Kingdom of God. Jesus said this because the teacher of the Law recognized that loving God and fellow man was more important than sacrifices. The Jewish leaders offered the sacrifices, but loved neither fellow man nor God. This man was close to the Kingdom, but not in it. He knew the spirit of the great commandment of Law and Gospel. But unless he enters the Kingdom, one who is "not far from" the door, is no better off than one who is far away.

Verses 35-37

How can the teachers of the Law say. The Jewish leaders thought Jesus was only a Prayer of Manasseh, nothing more. What he asks here is to make them aware of the true meaning of David's prophecy. See notes on Matthew 22:41-46. The large crowd heard Jesus gladly. It was not the common people who rejected Jesus. They loved him! [The Jewish leaders said about the common people: "This crowd does not know the Law of Moses, so they are under God's curse" (John 7:49).]

Verses 38-40

Watch out for the teachers of the Law. Mark condenses Matthew 23:1-36 into just three verses. See notes there. Who like to walk around in their long robes. Only Mark gives this. These long robes, sweeping the ground, imitated those of the priests of Rome. The teachers of the Law wore these to impress people with their importance. When Jesus sent out his apostles to preach, he specifically told them to dress in the clothes of the common, ordinary people (Mark 6:9). The Jewish leaders wanted people to know they were not just ordinary people, but that they were important! This was not to honor their status as teachers, but to get the glory for themselves!

Verse 41

As Jesus sat near the temple treasury. Matthew does not tell this, but Luke does. This incident of the widow's offering shows up the hypocrisy of the teachers of the Law. Treasury. Thirteen box-like chests, called "trumpets" because of their shape, which were placed in the Women's Court of the temple. Lightfoot says: "Nine chests were for the appointed temple tribute, and for the sacrifice-tribute; that Isaiah, money gifts instead of the sacrifices; four chests for free-will offerings, for wood, incense, temple decoration, and burnt offerings." He watched the people. Jesus still watches us. Free will offerings were made in addition to the temple tax, before the Passover.

Verse 42

Then a poor widow came along. In the world in which Jesus lived, widows had almost no job opportunities, and so were extremely poor. Two little copper coins. The very smallest of the Jewish coins, together worth about a penny. Mark mentions their value for his Roman readers.

Verse 43

Put more in the offering box. She gave an extremely small gift, yet Jesus praises her for it. She gave "more" in proportion to what she had! God looks at "quality," rather than "quantity."

Verse 44

Put in all she had. The true value of a gift is what it cost the one who gave it. The widow gave all she had to live on! Out of her love, she gave everything to God, trusting his providence to take care of her.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Mark 12:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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