Mark 12:1-27

God sent prophets (slaves in the parable) to Israel and finally sent His Son, and the nation as a whole refused to listen. Therefore the kingdom will be offered to others. Jesus is foreshadowing the fact that the gospel will be preached to the Gentiles (non-Jews) after his death, burial, and resurrection. What is heartbreaking is the care that God has taken in making His vineyard (the nation) only to have them refuse Him. We see that care and heartbreak reflected in Isaiah:

Isaiah 5:1-7 “I will sing to my love— a song to my lover about his vineyard. My love had a vineyard on a fertile hill. He built a hedge around it, removed its stones, and planted a vine. He built a tower in the middle of it,, and constructed a winepress. He waited for it to produce edible grapes, but it produced sour ones instead. So now, residents of Jerusalem, people of Judah, you decide between me and my vineyard! What more can I do for my vineyard beyond what I have already done? When I waited for it to produce edible grapes, why did it produce sour ones instead? Now I will inform you what I am about to do to my vineyard: I will remove its hedge and turn it into pasture, I will break its wall and allow animals to graze there. I will make it a wasteland; no one will prune its vines or hoe its ground, and thorns and briers will grow there. I will order the clouds not to drop any rain on it. Indeed Israel is the vineyard of the LORD who commands armies, the people of Judah are the cultivated place in which he took delight. He waited for justice, but look what he got—disobedience! He waited for fairness, but look what he got—cries for help!”

His parables continue to upset the religious leadership and they seek to trap Him. Taxation was a big issue because people were heavily taxed by Rome. If Jesus sided with Rome He would lose support, but if He sided with the people then the leadership could accuse Him of insurrection. Jesus deftly avoids the issue by showing that He is not trying to establish an earthly kingdom in opposition to Rome. This passage is often used to show that Christians have a responsibility to obey civil laws (as long as they are not ungodly) and to pay taxes.

The irony of what happens next is that the Sadducees didn’t even believe in a resurrection, but they decide to try to use the idea of the resurrection to trap Jesus. They come up with an absurd question involving a woman and seven brothers based on Deuteronomy 25:5-6. Jesus says that their premise is faulty because marriage relationships are different in the resurrection, and then He quotes from Exodus 3:6 to show that there must be a resurrection. And we should be thankful, because the resurrection of Jesus Christ foreshadows our resurrection, and because of that we have hope!

1 Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

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