The day of Pentecost is at hand and Jesus has entered Jerusalem on a donkey. His authority is questioned by the authorities as He allows Himself to be called king. He tells a parable of the vineyard owner, a parable directly against the Jewish leaders, who are evil to the core.
Even though chapter 11 was about the tearing down of the temple, He is not done tearing it down. He now tears down the teachers at the temple. His message in Mark 12 is that the physical temple is no longer the center of worship. He is the way to God and salvation.
The story is that God's people have become their own worst enemy. They have lost sight of what matters most. And now the Son, who is not going to die but will live, Psalm 118, tells them He is the answer.
He challenges their understanding of the law, asking have they not read this scripture, referring to Psalm 118. He is taking language from Psalm 118. There is more going on in this story. Psalm 118 borrows language from Exodus 15, the exodus.
When humans think they have all the answers, God upends them. This rejected stone will become the capstone, the center of power. You reject me He tells them. Whatever they are going to try to do, they are going to fail and God’s will will prevail. It is through their hand that He will be glorified.
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us (Hosanna) we pray O Lord. Psalm 118:22-26
There is a danger here which prevails even today, it is the danger of following the spirit of the times. The spirit of the age leads people away from God, away from the truth. Going after the wisdom the world tells us is the way, will turn us away from God.
Honor challenges is what they are trying. Honor and shame were big in their culture. Someone will be right and be honored, someone will be wrong and be shamed. They are trying to trap Him and shame Him by bringing different people to Him to test His knowledge of the law.
The real problem you have, Jewish rulers, is you were created in the image of God and you should be rendering unto God the things that belong to Him. But they are after their own self interest, their own self glory.
Jesus speaks to them with authority, with power. These people do not know the scriptures. He has stumped them and they have no idea how to respond.
Leviticus 19 and Psalm 110 are the two most quoted OT verses in the NT and both appear in Mark 12... interesting. (As we read an OT reference, we need to go back and read the surrounding context to get the full meaning).
He tells the people to beware of the scribes. The one who follows Jesus will be like this poor widow, who gives all she has, who gives her whole life. That’s what Jesus wants. It is just what is meant by the answer to what is the greatest commandment.
Our choice every day: Will we trust the ways of men? Or are we going to seek the spirit of God? Are we going to give our trust to the Lord and His ways?
To sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts means just what Jesus said. We sanctify our soul, our strength, our education, our emotions, our fears, our respect, our devotion, our beliefs, our attitudes, our body.... all for the kingdom of God. We are to fully render ourselves to God. All of us. 100% of us.