Mark 12:28-44 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Greatest Commandment
Comments for Study 24

Mark 12:28-44
Memory Verse: 28


I. The Greatest Commandment (28-34)

>1. What did a teacher of the law ask Jesus? (28)

* Mark 12:28 "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?"

* "One of the teachers of the law" -Probably a Pharisee, but doesn't need to be.

* "heard them debating" -A teacher of the law would have listened closely to the Sadducees question to Jesus because it was often a item of debate.

* "a good answer" -One that he and other teachers of the law had not given when they were asked this.

* "he asked him" -This question was also a hot topic in those days. Jesus had been asked this question or one similar to it before.


* The teacher of the Law did not have a trap in mind for Jesus. His following answer and Jesus statement to him seems to indicate that the man truly wanted to know what Jesus (the man who won an argument against the Sadducees) would say to another important issue of the day. He wanted to be reassured that what he believed was correct.

* Asking Jesus hard questions in prayer is now wrong. Jesus does not condemn us because we do not know. He does not turn away a truth seeker if our hearts are correct.

* The basic question asked is, "What principle does God want us to live by?" or "What does God expect of us?"

>What did Jesus teach him about God? (29)

* Mark 12:29 ""The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one."

* Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-5.

* Using Hebrew it says, "Jehovah (YHWH) our Elohim is one Jehovah."

* Jehovah is the name that God gave to Moses at the burning bush when he asked, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" (Ex. 3:13-15) It means, "I AM."

* Elohim is the first name for God in the Bible (Genesis 1:1). It is a singular-plural name. The "im" at the ending is the Hebrew plural. This is the unity of the Godhead.

* The Jews recited this every Sabbath in the synagogues. It was a very well known quote of the Bible at the time.

* This is not one of the ten commandments.

>2. What is the first important commandment? (30)

* Mark 12:30 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'"

* This is not one of the ten commandments.

* This is not abstract. It is simple to understand and absolute.

* "Love" -practical and specific. Love has an object.

* How do we know what love is? How do we love? 1 John 3:16 says, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

>What is the second one? (31)

* Mark 12:31 "The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

* This goes with the first. However, there is an order. Without the first, this one can not be completed.

>3. What was the response of the teacher of the law? (32,33)

* Mark 12:32-33 ""Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 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."

* "Well said" -a sincere complement.

* "teacher" -He acknowledged that Jesus was a teacher like he was.

* "is more important than" -sacrifices were not disqualified. They point to the true sacrifice, Jesus.

* Our heart attitude is the most important.

>In what ways was he different from other teachers of the law?

* He accepted and acknowledged Jesus as being correct. None of those who came to test him said Jesus was correct.

>How did Jesus bless the man? (34)

* Mark 12:34 "When 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."

* "wisely" -Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

* "You are not far from the kingdom of God" -Jesus is the king. Thus the kingdom was right next to him. However, he was not in the kingdom yet because he had not accepted that Jesus was more than a good and wise teacher. He needed to accept that Jesus was "the Lord God the Lord is one", the promised Messiah.

* Like the disciples the man would soon see the truth of the king of the kingdom of God.

* "no one dared" -Jesus had passed the test. He answered all questions correctly. He would be the lamb of God, the sacrifice without blemish and spot.

II. Whose Son is the Christ? (35-40)

>4. What misconception of the people was Jesus correcting? (35)

* Mark 12:35 "While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, "How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David?"

* The Christ will not rule as David did as king. Christ is king, but much more than a king.


* The Father is usually greater than the son. The son learns and received from the father. This is not the case with the Messiah.

* They did not know the full extent of the Christ (Messiah). They did not understand who he was nor what he would do.

* The Jews put high praise to David and Moses.

>Was not Christ supposed to be the son of David? (Is. 11:1)

* Isaiah 11:1 "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit."

* Jesus did not deny that he is a descendant of David.

* Matthew and Luke show the human linage from David to Mary and Joseph.

>5. What Scripture did Jesus quote to make his point? (36-37; Ps. 110:1)

* Mark 12:36-37a "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." ' David himself calls him 'Lord.' How then can he be his son?""

* Psalm 110:1 "Of David. A psalm. The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

* "speaking by the Holy Spirit" -The Holy Spirit was speaking through David. This was from God.

* "LORD" -The God of Israel and Judah.

* "my Lord" -Jesus, the second person in the trinity.

* "sit at my right hand" -Highest place of honor.

* Jesus' virgin birth makes him greater than David even though Mary was a descendant of David. Jesus is stating that he is the Son of God and therefore much greater than David.

>What was the response of the people? (37b)

* Mark 12:37b "The large crowd listened to him with delight."

* "delight" -Jesus taught the word of God in such a way as to be the most pleasing to the hearer if their heart is right.

* I can hardly wait to listen to him with my own ears.

* They were excited about the word of God as Jesus taught it. The truth moves the heart.

>6. What was Jesus' comment about the practices of elders? (38,39)

* Mark 12:38-39 "As he taught, Jesus said, "Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets."

* "watch out" -anyone can fall into this trap.

* Pride of self is a dangerous thing. It makes us forget about our Lord and Savior.

* This was a teaching about having a high opinion of one self. The previous (David) was about having a high opinion of another person. Both are dangerous. We should have a high opinion of God. Everyone else is the same in God's eyes.

>What was wrong with them? (40)

* Mark 12:40 "They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely."

* They live for themselves. They love themselves not others.

* "punished most severely" -There are great degrees of punishment in hell.

III. The Widow's Offering (41-44)

>7. What was Jesus doing? (41)

* Mark 12:41 "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."

* Only God could do this.

* Jesus did not say anything about the large amount put in by the rich.

>How was the poor widow different from many rich people?

* Mark 12:42 "But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny."

* It was all she had. He gave by faith.

* Jesus didn't condemn or rebuke the rich for not putting in all.

>8. What was Jesus' remark on a poor widow?

* Mark 12:43-44 "Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.""

* He praised her.

>What was Jesus trying to teach his disciples? (43,44)

* The amount doesn't matter. What matters is the heart motive.

* She knew she had to offer, but all she had was so small, so she offered it anyway.