Heavenly Father, help us understand what the passage meant to Mark’s original intended readers. Help us bridge the time gap, the cultural gap, the geographical gap, the religious gap, and the historical gap between first-century Israel and today. Help us apply the text to our present-day situation and put it into practice, in Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
VV 18-27, 18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” 24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?’’27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”
Sadducees are members of a Jewish sect, consisting mainly of priests and aristocrats. They reject the oral traditions, denied angels, demons, resurrections of the dead, etc. They accept only the first 5 Books of Moses (Pentateuch). They asked Jesus if seven men had married had one woman and every one of them died including the woman, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? (See Deut. 25: 5). Jesus rebuked them for being ignorant of scripture. Everyone in the resurrection will be like the angels and will never be married. Jesus promised a resurrection of the dead. In the burning bush, God spoke to Moses in the present tense, ‘’I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”. Although dead, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still’ ”alive” waiting to be resurrected at the end of time.
VV 28-34, ‘’28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” 32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.’’
The Jewish leaders took turns to confront Jesus. First, the Pharisees and Herodians, second the Sadducees, and now a scribe, (teacher of the law). He asked Jesus which was the most important commandment. Jesus quoted Deut. 6:4-5, the Shema prayer, ‘’Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’’ Until today Orthodox Jews still pray this prayer twice a day. The second is ‘’love your neighbor as yourself’’. Love God, vertically, and love people, horizontally. The scribe loved Jesus’ answer. Jesus said he was not far from the kingdom of God but he was still not in.
VV 35-37, ‘’35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:’’’The Lord said to my Lord: ‘’Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ 37 David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?” The large crowd listened to him with delight.’’
The scribe says the Messiah is the son of David. ”Son of David”’ is The Messiah. One of David’s sons, or descendants, will be the Messiah. Jesus quoted a Davidic Messianic Psalm, Psalm 110:1, The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The first ‘’LORD’’ is Yahweh, the second Lord is ‘’Adonai’’. ‘’Yahweh said to Adoni’’. The Messiah is not merely a physical descendant of David but is Yahweh.
VV 38-44, 38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Jesus warned the Israelites to be careful of the hypocrisy of the scribes. Jesus sat down in the temple treasury and observed everyone putting money into the offering boxes. Jesus commended a poor woman who put in 2 copper coins. According to Jesus, she had offered more than everyone else because offered all that she had to live on. Matthew 6:21 says, ‘’For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’’ You are a steward of everything that you owned. Therefore, you need to submit your life to God.
Heavenly Father, help us to love You with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our strength. Help us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Help us to submit our lives to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.