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Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Mark 12:1-27

And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country.When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this Scripture:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
11 this was the Lord’s doing,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.

13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review lesson 16 (link above) to refresh your memory on the timing of chapter 12. What two significant events took place in Mark 11? So Jesus’ teachings in chapter 12 took place after what and before what?

2. Review Mark 4:10-12 or lesson 6 (link above). Why did Jesus often teach in parables? How does Mark 12:12 fit with Mark 4:10-12? Why do you think most of Jesus’ parables were agricultural in theme?

3. Examine verses 1-12. Who is the “them” in verse 1 (hint: look back at the end of chapter 11)? In this parable, who is represented by…? (hint: think like the people Jesus is talking to – think Old Testament history)

The vineyard planter/owner (1)

The tenants (1)

The series of servants sent to collect fruit (2,4,5)

The vineyard owner’s rejected son (6)/the rejected stone (10)

What message is Jesus trying to get across to the Jewish leaders (and others who might be listening) with this parable? Compare verses 6-8 with verse 12. Would this have conveyed to the Jewish leaders that Jesus knew what they were plotting?

4. Read Psalm 118:19-27 (from which Jesus quotes {22-23} in verses 10-11) as though you’re one of the Jewish leaders Jesus is telling this parable to, who has just witnessed His triumphal entry (Mark 11/lesson 16). What does Jesus’ careful selection of these verses from a messianic psalm tell you about whom He is claiming to be? Why would the Jewish leaders have “feared the people” (12) and so refrained from arresting Jesus at that time?

5. Who is the “they” in verse 13? Why did “they” want to “trap [Jesus] in His talk” (12)? In order to grasp the import of verses 13-17, it’s necessary to understand who the Herodians were. How does the joining together of Pharisees and Herodians demonstrate the expression, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”? Why would this particular question about taxes (14) have served to put Jesus at odds with one group or the other? Is it possible they were trying to put Jesus in the same catch 22 they had been in in Mark 11:29-33? What was hypocritical (15) about all the things they said in verse 14? Did they genuinely mean any of these things? Why did they “marvel” at Jesus’ answer? (17)

6. Who were the Sadducees? (18) Why would the Sadducees ask Jesus a question about something they didn’t even believe in? (18,23) When Jesus says people will become “like” angels in heaven (25), does He mean that believers literally become angels when they die? What is Jesus trying to teach the Sadducees about the resurrection in verses 26-27? What does it mean that God is not “God of the dead but of the living”?

7. What might a first century Gentile Christian, or you as a Gentile Christian today, have learned from all of this conflict with the various sects of Jewish leadership?

8. Some people falsely teach that we should never question, challenge, or rebuke pastors and other church leaders, no matter what. How does Jesus, in the first half of chapter 12, demonstrate the importance of rebuking and correcting leaders who act sinfully or teach unbiblical doctrine? Compare how Jesus responded to false teachers and their false doctrine to the way some Christians today say we should respond to false teachers and their false doctrine.

9. Jesus used three different methods of teaching correct doctrine to three different groups of people in today’s passage, but His message of biblical truth and sound doctrine was consistent. Which method did He use to teach the chief priests, scribes and elders in verses 1-12? The Pharisees and Herodians in verses 13-17? The Sadducees in verses 18-27? How does this demonstrate that, in teaching the Bible, it’s helpful to “know your audience” and use wisdom in how you convey the message so that they might best understand it?


Homework

Jesus had no problem teaching sound doctrine and correcting false doctrine, but He used wisdom in the way He went about it with different people. For example, He flat out told the Sadducees twice, “you’re wrong,” (24,27) and “you don’t understand God or Scripture” (24). With the chief priests, scribes, and elders, He told a parable (1-12), and they got the message. Do you teach a Sunday School/Bible Study class, or do you have a friend who believes false doctrine and needs correction? Sit down this week and think about the best method you could use to get the biblical message across to this class or person, considering who they are, their background, personalities, etc.


Suggested Memory Verse

And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. Mark 12:33

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