Review and Reflect on Mark 12:41-44 – Understanding Money in Terms of Worship

Contrasting the story of the religious leaders who exploit poor widows, in Mark 12:41-44, Jesus points out a poor widow. The important and wealthy people are throwing large sums of money into the temple offering and they are making sure everyone sees them do it. In the middle of this, along comes a poor widow and she drops two small coins into the offering. The value of these two coins was about 1/64th of what a laborer might earn in a day. Let’s say a person in our day makes $100 in a day, this offering would be $1.56. She had only two coins, she could have kept one for food or something, but she gave both.

There were others in the Temple whose spirituality was noticed. The wealthy threw lots of money in the offering and it made them look and feel spiritual. Yet, their spirituality cost them very little. It didn’t require them to sacrifice. Everyone recognized they must be very spiritual because of their show they put on. But truly and deeply, their spirituality was anemic and had no substance. Yet this woman’s genuine spiritually goes unnoticed because she only tossed in two coins. She has done what Jesus said his followers must do – deny themselves and take up the cross. She has loved God truly and authentically, unlike the others, yet no one even knows about it.

What Jesus points out here is that her worship and love for God was true and genuine. Even the person of humble circumstances can come before God in worship. God doesn’t consider one’s wealth or social status when we come in genuine worship. She had no means and no influence yet she worshipped God properly.

Jesus talks about money enough to make it uncomfortable for us. But, really this passage is about a person’s heart. This poor widow’s heart belonged to God. The wealthy people worshipped themselves, not God. Where we place our money is a great indicator of whether or not our hearts belong to God. The way we give tells us a lot about the condition of our hearts. The way we see others give tells us little about the condition of their hearts. Whether you see someone give or not, whether you see the amount they give or not, only God knows their situation and motives.

In discussing this passage, it isn’t necessarily vital to apply it in the context of giving money to the church, although that is important. What is most important though, is that you understand money in terms of worship. Let it be a means of worship rather than an object of worship. Be generous and honor God with your money whether you place it in a basket at church, or give it randomly to those in need, or contribute to alleviating poverty in 3rd world countries through microfinancing. There are lots of ways to worship through giving. Be like this widow. Have no concern for what others see, but use your money as a physical and tangible way of worshipping God. We can worship God by giving in a way that only he knows. Do it publicly, do it secretly, but worship him in this way.

If Jesus is not Lord over your life, you will find yourself worshipping yourself, or your money, or your desires, or any number of other things. Life is disjointed, it’s out of sync when we worship ourselves or other things. Worship Jesus, not your money.

Acknowledgments and Sources

Review and Reflect on Mark 12:38-40 – Jesus says to beware of those who look pious but really worship themselves.

In the final days of Jesus’ ministry, he stands in the temple arguing with the leaders of Jerusalem and teaching his disciples along with the crowds of people. One can imagine how much he would have taught so this string of passages in Mark 12 might be considered selections from his teaching over the course of the Passover week.

In Mark 12:38-40, Jesus teaches against the other teachers who were undoubtedly walking around the Temple as he was teaching. Some were likely listening to him teach.  Although Jesus isn’t necessarily referring to every teacher of the law here, there were certainly enough of them like this to warrant him teaching on the matter. He’s telling the crowd of normal people to watch out for religious teachers who use their position for personal gain rather than for genuine religious purposes. Jesus says to beware of those who look pious but really worship themselves.

It was part of the job of these teachers to dress a certain way, and be greeted a certain way in public, and this wasn’t the issue. Jesus says in verse 38, they “like” to walk around this way and be respected this way. They enjoy what their position affords them as a matter of personal pleasure rather than recognizing that the respect they received is a borrowed respect because of who they represent. hey were teachers of God’s word, not their own, so the respect they were given was for that reason. But they took the respect and honor for themselves. As a result, it was corrupted and used corruptly.

Verse 40 points out that men like these take advantage of the weak and defenseless and they practice their false piety as a show, not as worship. It doesn’t say how, but verse 40 concludes by saying their punishment will be severe. Those who parade their piety are guilty of pride but those who oppress the weak and defenseless are guilty of exploitation as well. Those who manipulate the things of God for personal gain will receive great condemnation. The crazy part about their behavior is that these actions may take place in such a way so that they violate no laws in particular. It’s perfectly legal for them to act this way. However, they are in violation of the sum of the law – loving God and people.

Jesus has just spoken about this in Mark 12:28-34. All the laws flow from the supreme law requiring everyone to love God and our neighbor Religious leaders like this only love themselves, and this isn’t only wrong, it’s destructive, it’s deadly.

Now, this passage is a warning to pastors for sure. Pastors need to regularly check their hearts and motives and make sure they are genuinely leading the church in worship and in love for God and others, and not doing this for show, pride, or personal benefit. But,Jesus is addressing the crowd in verse 38. He tells the people to stay away from these types of religious leaders.

So,there is a two-fold application. First, be careful who you allow to speak into your life spiritually. Make sure their religion is true and they aren’t practicing for personal honor or personal gain. Secondly, make sure your own religion is true and it isn’t merely a cover to look respectable or to appease your conscience, or to gain influence.

We need to love God and others from our hearts so that our outward actions are authentic. Jesus warns against following anyone who isn’t like this. The religious observances of the godly are not for show.

Acknowledgments and Sources

Review and Reflect on Mark 12:35-37 – How is Jesus the Son of David, Messiah, and King?

In the final days of Jesus’ ministry, he stands in the temple arguing with the leaders of Jerusalem and teaching his disciples and the crowds of people. You can imagine how much he would have taught so these few passages in Mark’s Gospel might be considered selections from his teaching over the course of the Passover week. Mark 12:35-37 is only a few verses, yet in these few verses is a profound lesson from Jesus. Rather than being asked a question, this time, Jesus raises the question before the crowd listening to him. Verse 35 reminds us that he is in the Temple teaching these things. We have already seen how Jesus’ teaching is reorienting the Temple worship around himself and this teaching continues to do this.

It was believed in Jesus’ day that the Messiah was to be a descendant of David. I’ve mentioned this before and it is an idea reflected in the term “Son of David,” used in the New Testament. This is the title Jesus was called the blind and deaf man he healed in Chapter 10, just before he rode into Jerusalem on a colt where they said “Blessed is the coming Kingdom of our Father David” in Chapter 11. But Jesus is taking the term, and expanding it here in these verses. His question shows a problem with limiting one’s understanding of the messiah to a person from the lineage of David. He’s not denying this, but expanding it.

The Messiah was to come from David’s line, he was going to be a King like David. The popular conception was that the Messiah would be as great as David, but Jesus uses this quotation from Psalm 110 to show that the Messiah would actually be greater than David. He is like David because he is from his lineage and because he is a king. But, he is also not like David because he is David’s Lord. Jesus is teaching that he is both the Lord and the Son of David. The conception of a political messiah that would fulfill Israel’s patriotic and nationalistic hopes was communicated through referring to the Messiah as the Son of David. David was a warrior bringing peace through victory over Israel’s enemies. So the thought was, the Messiah will do the same thing; wage war and achieve victory. But Jesus points to being a Messiah that is greater than this. “Son of David” made the average Jew at this time think of a Messiah who conquers, waging war and overthrowing Rome. Jesus was helping his followers unlearn this.

“Son of David” was a misleading title for the Messiah for Jews, but it was a meaningless title for non-Jews. Non-Jews knew nothing of David, so calling the Messiah Son of David was unhelpful. So Jesus brings in both Jew and Gentile by referring to himself as Lord here. “Lord” was a title the early church would adopt for Jesus and one that we continue to use today. Jesus is Lord. He is Messiah and King together, man and God together. This can be seen in Romans 1 also where verse 3-4 says, “concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord”. Romans 1:3-4 shows that understanding Jesus as Son of God and Son of David are complementary truths. Verse 4 also says “Christ” which is the term Messiah in Greek, and he is referred to finally as Lord here.

We understand the Lord Jesus as the Son of David fulfilling God’s promises to his people Israel, and has the Son of God bringing the Kingdom of God through his sacrificial death and resurrection. Paul’s Gospel is the same as Mark’s Gospel: Jesus is fulfilling promises and being King bringing the Kingdom through resurrection.

This is another example in Mark’s Gospel of what Jesus means when he says the Time is fulfilled. He is the one fulfilling the promised Time and keeping God’s promises. He is the one like David that was to come, and he is the one who is God dwelling amongst his people. He is the one who rescues us from our oppression, not a government or a tyrant. Jesus rescues us from the oppression of Satan’s Kingdom of Darkness, and he rescues us from the oppression of our sin and the result of death. As Messiah, King, and Lord he gives us true life eternal and resurrection into God’s presence forever.

He is like King David, but he is greater to an infinite degree. This is how Jesus uses this passage from Psalm 110 to teach his followers here in Mark 12:35-37.

Acknowledgments and Sources

Review and Reflect on Mark 12:28-34 – Loving God and Loving People is the sum of what God requires of us.

Over the last chapter, Jesus has displayed his wisdom and authority over nearly every group among the influential leaders of Jerusalem. The Scribes, Pharisees, Elders, Priests, Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees all have tried to catch Jesus in his words and trap him, yet he eludes them. Their attempts to discredit him or have him arrested for something he says have failed. After seeing and hearing all of this, there is one from among these groups who comes to Jesus privately. He is struck by Jesus’ wisdom, and wants to talk to him further in Mark 12:28-34.

There was somewhere around 600 or more specific laws found in the Law that many of the Jews of Jesus’ day worked to follow. It was also commonly known that completely adhering to all of the law was nearly impossible, so in several places outside of the Scriptures there are discussions ranking the laws. A common way to debate this was to consider which laws were heavier and which were lighter. So, when Jesus is approached with this question, it wasn’t so out-of-the-ordinary. Most translations will translate verse 28 with the word “important” because that makes it easy to understand. But the phrase is more nuanced than this. A better way to understand it would be which command is “primary” or “foremost”. All the laws were important. The question is, “is there a law from which the whole law can be derived?” Which law must we be sure to uphold most of all? Which law is the weightiest? Which law sums up the others? This is what Jesus is being asked.

Jesus answers with a dual response. He says in verses 30 and 31 that Loving God and loving people is the sum of the Law. All of the laws or rules in the Law were given so that Israel would properly love God and properly love people. He gives his answer in such a way that we can’t view these as two separate laws, but as one law together. Like faith and works, like belief and practice, loving God and loving people cannot be separated biblically. This is why the message of the Gospel must be responded to with belief and repentance. It affects mind and body, thoughts and actions. You can’t love God without loving your neighbor and you won’t love your neighbor without loving God.

He begins with a passage from Deuteronomy 6. This passage is a foundational passage for understanding who God is, and Jesus points to this passage in response to the question about the greatest commandment. Jesus gives four ways in which we are to love God – with our heart, soul or life, mind or will, and strength. In other words, with everything we have, do, and are, we’re to love God. There is nothing that we possess or nothing that makes us who we are that we are not to love God with. If it’s connected or related to us in any manner, we are to love God with it.

Secondly, in verse 31 Jesus says we are to love our neighbor. This is from Leviticus 19:18 (but you all knew that already because of your familiarity with Leviticus). The context of that chapter includes paying employees in a timely manner, leaving parts of your field unharvested so the poor could come and glean, and avoiding slandering people. We understand these as ways to show love to other people. Leviticus 19:18 sums these up by saying, “love your neighbor as yourself.” You’ve heard of “do to others as you would have them do to you” as the Golden Rule and that is certainly an expression of loving others, but there is more to it. It’s not just doing things for people and treating them right, we are supposed to love them. This means, patience, forgiveness, generosity, and all sorts of things.

In verse 31, he says “there is no commandment greater than these”. All of the other 600 or more laws flow out of these two. The remainder of the Law describes the ways to love God and others. The remainder of the laws describes how the people of Israel were to love, but this dual law that Jesus gives describes who we are to love. Jesus takes something that was very complex and simplifies it. In many ways Jesus simplifies the 10 commandments of Exodus 20. The first 4 related to God and the final 6 related to people and Jesus summarizes them both under the singular command to love.

An author named Tom Wright illustrates the nature of God’s commands by describing a road with guard rails and I have adapted his illustration here. Life with Christ is a life of love. Love is the name of the highway we are travelling. It has two lanes since we love God and love people, but it is one road. The Scriptures give us commands to shape that love and to direct it properly. These are the guard rails on the road. If we follow the guard rails we will go the right directions, but it’s a lot more fun to drive without hitting the rails all the time. Breaking the commands are like driving through the guard rail and you get banged up and damaged. They are there for our good, to teach us how to love God and others. But we aren’t meant to drive down the road bouncing off of the guard rails, we are meant to love God and others. As Jesus continues to renew us until eternity, we will be able to stay in the middle of the road all the more and enjoy our journey. The commands of Scripture aren’t to be avoided, but embraced, because they shape us and make us into the people God designed us to be.

At Shore Community Church, our mission statement is Loving God and Loving people simply, deeply, and authentically. This statement was formed largely as a result of what Jesus teaches here. Loving God and others cannot be separated. This is the goal and completion of our religion and our relationships. Whatever it is that we do as a church or as individual followers of Jesus must be related to this love for God and others.

At SCC, we are striving to love God and other people. There are three values that guide the way we do this – simplicity, depth, and authenticity. Christianity is difficult. It’s not easy. But it is simple. The Gospel is simple enough to explain to a child, yet deep enough to keep theologians busy for centuries. Jesus died for you and rose again to give you eternal life. It’s Simple. But this simple truth is so deep it will change everything about you. The more we know and obey God, the more we grow to love him. It’s Deep. However, none of us live perfectly before God, so there is no sense in pretending. Rather than being hypocrites, we are going to be authentic. Authenticity means humility. It means we know we need one another and we need God’s grace if we are to walk rightly before God.

Jesus sums all that God requires of us up in a few simple words: Love God and love people. In verse 32, the man Jesus was talking with responds to his answer and he says “well said”; “right on!” In verse 33, he says to love is better than offering sacrifice, which is significant since they are standing in the Temple where sacrifices are happening while they are talking. This is another way that Jesus is showing that everything God promises and commands is fulfilled in him. We love God by following Jesus, not by offering sacrifice. We love God and others, not by keeping a strict law code, but by living out the Gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection in our lives every day. In verse 34, Jesus tells this other teacher, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” This man understood that loving God and others was the sum of the Law. He even understood that love was the reason sacrifices had to be made for sin. What he didn’t understand was that Jesus was making that possible by living to fulfill the Law and bringing God’s Kingdom through his sacrificial death and bodily resurrection. He was close to the Kingdom, he only needed to take one more step and follow Jesus.

There are a lot of people who understand eternal life is only possible through what God has done in Jesus. They are not far from the Kingdom. What remains is that step of obedience in following Jesus. If you are following Jesus, this means that you love God and others. Any refusal to do so in our hearts or in our actions is rebellion and we need to repent of that. If you believe in Jesus, but you haven’t yet begun to follow him, you may not be far from the Kingdom. Decide today to follow him by not only believing, but responding to him by aligning your life with him, living for him.

Acknowledgements and Sources

Review and Reflect on Mark 12:18-27 – Jesus speaks on temporal marriage and eternal life.

On one occasion, Jesus was questioned by a group of religious leaders known as the Sadducees. Generally, this group was made up of influential and wealthy people. Some of their beliefs included holding only the first five books of Moses as their authority and not regarding what we would call the rest of the Old Testament as authoritative. They also didn’t believe in the resurrection, but that the only way one might live on would be through their lineage. So, when this group confronts Jesus, they are already at odds with much of what he has been teaching, and this would have been obvious to him.

The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection, but, in Mark 12:18-27 they are asking a question about it. They don’t care about the answer; they are just trying to cause Jesus to stumble in his words. Their question is based on a law out of Deuteronomy 25 that said if a man dies without children, his brother, or close relative, would take his wife as their wife and have children to carry on the family name. So, Jesus is asked a hypothetical question about how to apply this law in relation to the resurrection.

Jesus’ answer teaches us about both marriage and resurrection. First, in verse 25, he says there won’t be marriage in heaven because we will be like the angels. This doesn’t mean that we turn into angels, by the way. Marriage is an earthly institution, not an eternal one. The intimacy we will experience with God in heaven is much deeper than that of even a husband and wife relationship. We’ll experience life differently and fully. The marriage relationship is an indicator of some of the characteristics of life to come, but doesn’t continue in it. The belief that marriage is an eternal institution has no scriptural foundation. In fact, Jesus teaches the opposite here. This is a belief of Mormonism, but is unfounded in biblical, historical, and orthodox Christianity. Some people wish it were so because of the love they have for their spouse. But, the love that will be experienced in eternity, will be deeper and more profound than we can even imagine. This is why marriage is so important. It’s the most profound way we can conceive of love, yet compared to what we will experience in the presence of God eternally, it is merely temporary. Marital love is a sign pointing to the way we will love when Jesus returns to set everything right and we love God and one another the way in which we were intended.

In this passage we also learn a bit about the resurrection. Jesus says God is the God of the living, and since he is, those who are his followers must be living. Jesus refers to Exodus 3, where Moses is confronted by God. Exodus 3 would have been an authoritative text for the Sadducees, so when Jesus argues for the resurrection from it, he proves that they don’t know the Scriptures as well as they presume they do. This was something they boasted in and Jesus accusation would have not been well received by them.

The Bible only gives us glimpses into what happens after death at times describing it as “sleep” until we are awakened at the resurrection. Hebrews 12 says the believers who’ve gone before us are a “cloud of witnesses” who have fully experienced God’s faithfulness to those who live and die for him. But Jesus asserts here in this passage, that God is the God of the living. He gives life, sustains life, takes life, and can certainly give it again. He doesn’t cease to be our God at death. Our relationship with him continues and deepens eternally because he is eternal. This is why Jesus’ resurrection is our hope and peace. It’s the indicator of our final state for eternity as well. The in-between time may be grey and confusing, but God will raise those who believe in him.

Acknowledgments and Sources

Review and Reflect on Mark 12:13-17 – Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s

The priests, scribes, and elders fail to catch Jesus in his words, so they send their partners in crime to do their dirty work in Mark 12:13-17.

In Jesus’ day, the Romans instituted what was called a poll tax. If you remember the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth, there was a census being taken. The census was to determine the population, so that it could be taxed accordingly. This poll tax was imposed upon the people of Palestine, just like everywhere else, yet there, it became a reason for rebellion and there were several rebellions as a result of it. There were a few occasions where the rebels gained freedom for a brief period of time, yet every time there was a rebellion, the Romans stopped it decisively. The Zealots were a revolutionary group that grew up in partial response to the poll tax. One of the 12 disciples, Simon the Zealot, belonged to that group. They launched a rebellion in 66 called the Great Revolt or the First Jewish-Roman war. The result was the Temple being destroyed and a double tax imposed on Jews throughout the Roman Empire. So from before Jesus’ time until decades after Jesus’ time, this tax was a thorn in the side of the Jewish people.

On this particular day, Jesus is asked about this poll tax in an attempt to catch Jesus in his words. If he said the tax shouldn’t be paid then he could be accused of rebellion and arrested by the Romans. If he said the tax should be paid, then he could be accused of blaspheme and arrested by the Jewish leaders. Saying the tax should be paid would also cause the crowds of people who were following him to potential become angry with him. But verse 15 shows Jesus’ wisdom. He knows it’s a trap. And, in verse 17 we hear Jesus’ famous answer, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Jesus answer goes against the idea that his followers should serve God by denying Caesar, which is what led to the Zealot rebellion of 66. People won’t enter God’s Kingdom by destroying Caesar’s Kingdom. Jesus’ answer also acknowledges the existence of two Kingdoms – one of man, and one of God. Volumes have been written about this verse and these ideas, and there will be no attempt to summarize them at all here. Much more can be said, and we could spend our lives debating the implications of Jesus answer for our current context. However, there are rightful claims that government makes and there are rightful claims that God makes. Both government and God have authority over us, like it or not. God ordains government as a way to facilitate justice as seen in Romans 13:1 among other places. Each must determine if he or she is rightly submitting to both authorities.

There were lots of people in Jesus’ day that rebelled against paying the Roman tax, but Jesus does not give them a reason to do this.  In fact, Jesus says, not only do you obey Caesar, but you answer to an even higher authority, you answer to God himself. Our government deserves certain things of us, but God deserves our complete and total devotion. Our government and our laws deserve our respect and obedience, but God deserves our love and worship. Our government has been established for our freedom and for Justice, but God is the one who brings about freedom and justice through the sacrifice of his son. If we fail to follow him and love him above all other loves, we have committed treason and sedition. Our hearts and our lives belong to God. Withholding taxes might get you into trouble, but refusing to love and follow God has eternal consequences. In Jesus we have forgiveness of sins and are made right with God. If we reject him, there is no forgiveness for us and we are at odds with God. There remains the offer of forgiveness and reconciliation to God to all who would come to Jesus, hearing his call that says, “Follow me”.

 

Acknowledgements and Sources

Review and Reflect on Mark 11:27-12:12 – The old is fading away and something new is coming

In Mark 11:27-33, Jesus has entered the Temple and the Temple leaders confront him. They ask him where he derives the authority that allows him to say and do the things he has been saying and doing. Had they understood the significance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, they wouldn’t have had to question him about his authority for doing what he did in the Temple. As it was, either they denied that he was presenting himself as King, or they simply didn’t understand it. Jesus sees that they are trying to catch him in a trap, so he responds with a question about John the Baptist that’s a trap for them. If John’s baptism was a godly thing, they should have followed him, like the masses of people in Israel did. If John’s baptism wasn’t from God, then the people would take issue with the leaders because they followed John. It’s a trap, so the leaders respond by saying they don’t know. So, Jesus won’t tell them his authority is from God either.

Here again Jesus links his ministry with that of John the Baptist. John was the prophet that came before him to call Israel back to God in repentance. Jesus continues that ministry, but he also heads toward the same end as John. The leaders are going to have him killed. Because of their response and because of their desire to kill Jesus rather than believe and follow him, he tells a parable to them in Mark 12:1-12.

This parable is an example of why for centuries Jesus has been considered one of the greatest storytellers and teachers to ever live. It is told with incredible skill and drama. Even though it is great literature, its content is even more incredible. This parable is an allegory against Israel’s leaders which teaches that those who have rejected God and his messengers will themselves be rejected so that others will inherit their promises.

It’s likely that Jesus borrows some symbolism from Isaiah 5 here. Isaiah 5 is about Israel being God’s vineyard that didn’t produce fruit and Jesus’ audience would have certainly been reminded of it when he told this parable. This passage plays on certain elements of Isaiah 5, but it is also different. The heir is not mentioned in Isaiah 5 and that is a main part of Jesus’ story. Jesus is the heir sent to bring order and justice to the vineyard. God has sent dozens and dozens of prophets and men and women of God to call his people back to him for centuries. Finally Jesus has come on the scene. His message is that the time is fulfilled and the Kingdom has come. All the things the prophets spoke about are coming true in him. And in this parable, what does Jesus say will happen?

The heir will be killed.

He knew the leaders were plotting to kill him, but he comes to them anyway. He speaks this parable against them. Just as there has always been a remnant of believing Israel, there has also always been a group of those who reject God. Jesus is accusing the leaders of the Temple of being the one’s entrusted with the vineyard, but have rejected the landowner’s authority to the point of killing his messengers and even the heir. In the last passage in chapter 11, Jesus quoted Isaiah 56 and Jeremiah 7 when he taught the crowds after cleansing the temple. He quotes from two passages that talk about God including foreigners in his plan for his people. His intent was always to include Non-Jewish people in the plan he had for Israel. Yet, in Isaiah and Jeremiah’s time, the Jewish people did not follow his plan. Then, in the NT we read how the Jews of that time didn’t follow God’s plan either.

In verse 9 Jesus says in this parable that the vineyard will be given to others. This is another hint that the Gentiles are going to be included in God’s plan. He hinted at this when he fed the 4000 in non-Jewish territory as well as when he healed the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter. Now he is speaking about it again. Jesus will be killed by these leaders in Jerusalem, but he will die for the world. This is why Jesus can be Israel’s Messiah yet speaking of him, John says for God so loved the World that he gave his son. His death is the sacrifice for sin for anyone who comes to him believing and following him; anyone, regardless of race or nationality.

In Verse 10 he ends the Parable and begins to teach, just in case it wasn’t obvious to the religious leaders that he was speaking this parable against them.   He quotes a passage from Psalm 118:22-23. He speaks this against them saying that in their rejection of him, God will establish something new upon him. Out of the broader context of Jesus cleansing the Temple in the previous passage, teaching that the vineyard will be handed over to new tenants points to the fact that true worship is now centered on the Heir, it is centered on Jesus, not on the Temple in Jerusalem. Israel’s leaders reject their King, yet Jesus rises from the dead to be the beginning, the foundation, the cornerstone of a new people of God, those who follow him. Christianity is born out of Judaism, but very quickly it begins to differ with Judaism. Many of the NT books talk about this transitional period where Jews who believe in Jesus are seeing this new way of living as increasingly different from their Jewish religion. The reason for this divergence is Jesus fulfilling what God had promised and bringing the Kingdom in his sacrificial death and his resurrection. No longer is a Temple necessary for prayer, sacrifice, or worship, we can now approach God anywhere through the work of Jesus on the cross. For Jews who followed Jesus, Judaism faded away into following Jesus, or what would later come to be known as Christianity. So, when Jesus quotes this verse from Psalm 118, he is speaking again about what Israel’s religion had become and how in its rejection of him, something new was coming. We will see this illustrated again when he talks about the temple being destroyed and rebuilt it in 3 days. The old is fading away and something new is coming. Another important part about Jesus quoting Psalm 118, is we just heard it in chapter 11 when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt. The people were shouting from Psalm 118:25-26. The crowd who came to Jerusalem with Jesus was quoting this verse in their acknowledgement of Jesus as Israel’s true and rightful King. This is what terrified the religious leaders. Now Jesus is quoting from this same passage a couple of days later.

But what does verse 12 say? They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid. The crowd loved Jesus. The leaders didn’t want to have to answer to them so they leave him. After they leave, on another occasion, whether the same day, or another day, we can’t tell, but on another occasion something similar happens. Some different leaders are sent to try to trap Jesus.

Acknowledgements and Sources