“WHO ARE YOU IF ONLY GOD IS WATCHING?” (Mark 12:35-44)
October 21, 2018 10:30 AM
Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford, Pastor
TODAY’S “SPECIAL”: “A Pastor Funny”
So this pastor gets pulled over by the police. The officer asks ” Have you been drinking?” To which the pastor replies” Only water, sir”. The officers says” Then why do I smell wine?” To which the pastor replies “Oh my! He’s done it again!”
Today’s message centers around a question: “Who are you if only God is watching?”. The question could be addressed to each of us, but it isn’t. Ultimately, it is addressed to a group of people who ar e the religious leadership of Israel at the time of Mark 12: the scribes (“the teachers of the law”), the Pharisees, the Herodians, the Sadduccees. These were the ones who were that generation’s “keepers of the faith”.
Our Savior has entered Jerusalem. It is the Final Week of the passion of the Christ. It is the reason for which He came: to die. But He has one last mission before the cross: to show to the people of Israel that their religious leaders have chosen a god [“little ‘g’”] other than the Lord Himself. They have chosen as their god…themselves. They had become who they were because they knew in their hearts that the true God was not watching.
Through a series of interactions, our Savior shows in Mark 12 that He is watching. And He’s watching us, too. PRAYER
# 1 THE FACTS OF MARK 12:1-34
1. The parable of the tenants (vs. 1-12) Look at verse 12. To whom was this addressed, the “they”? This goes back to Mark 11:27. These leaders knew this parable was addressed to them. And what was the moral of this parable? That the Father is the Owner! Take a quick look at verse 7. “Come, let us kill the heir…”. Psalm 2 says that the kings of the earth and the rulers gather against the Lord and His Christ and say, “let us break their chains and throw off their fetters.” The religious leaders wanted to live as if there is no Owner but themselves. But there isn’t.
2. Paying taxes to Caesar (vs. 13-17). The key verse in this whole scenario is verse 13. The religious leaders wanted to do what? They wanted to catch Jesus in His words. Jesus replies to their trap with the all familiar line, “pay what Caesar is owed, and pay what the Lord is owed.” The religious leaders wanted to live as if Caesar was the only king, and they were his little gods. But they weren’t, because Jesus is truth.
3. Marriage and the resurrection (vs. 18-27). Once again the Sadduccees get involved. They don’t believe in any resurrection – that once you die, you go into the ground. Thus they could live as if there is no God. But check out the key verse of this story, in Jesus’ observation. Jesus says, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” He could say that, because of this fact: Jesus is living.
4. The greatest commandment (vs. 28-34). This question, which is the greatest commandment, is addressed to Jesus by a well-meaning, perhaps truth seeking, teacher of the law (scribe). Jesus answers that to love the Lord with all of one’s heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself are the greatest commandments. He was telling this seeker, that Jesus is King. He alone is worthy of that worship. He advises this seeker that “you are not far from the kingdom of God.”
With these extended facts, our Savior takes over the conversation with the rest of the chapter.
# 2 WHOSE SON IS THE CHRIST? (vs. 35-40)
Our beloved Greek tells us to whom this section is addressed. Previously, he had been talking with a seeking scribe. Then, verse 30, in the Greek it begins, “He answered…” and then the rest of the verse. He answered whom? Why, the seeking scribe! He did not leave this seeker hanging with the simple “you are not far”. Rather, He took Him to the truth that JESUS IS LORD.
The scribe – as well as all the religious leaders – knew two essential truths, and both from the psalms:
The Messiah is the son of David (Psalm 132:11; Psalm 89:1-4, 34-37)
The Messiah is the Lord (Psalm 110:1) “The Lord [Jehovah] said to the Messiah [‘Adonay’], “sit on My right hand…”.
Standing before them was the Messiah: both Son of David (we learned that at Christmas, right?) and Son of God.
But these religious leaders thought THEY were the only gods!
They had lived as if God was not looking.
And right in front of them was the One Who saw all the time.
# 3 THE WIDOW’S OFFERING (vs. 41-44)
The religious leaders gave pompously and with great fanfare and pageantry – often ushered in with the sound of trumpets! They wanted everyone to see – to see what in actuality how little of their true worth they were giving.
In contrast, the widow was seen – only by the Lord Jesus Himself – and she out of her love for the Savior gave everything she had earned that day.
If you will, the widow represents the Lord Jesus – the Servant of all. The One Who sees everything. The One Who is watching. The One Who alone is worthy of our worship.
He is watching – not so much what we are doing. He is watching our hearts. Do you love Him?
Close in prayer