Knowing the text of Scripture is not the same as knowing the powerful Word of God. Knowing the love of God personally gives us a heart that will love God whole-heartedly as well as our neighbour.
Scripture: Mark 12:18-44
- Jesus’ inspection of the fig tree parallels the judgment and curse He places on the temple. Like the fig tree, the religious establishment in Jerusalem is not bearing fruit.
- The Lord came into His temple in divine judgment (cf. Mal. 3:1; 4:5-6).
- In Mark 12 we see a series of confrontations between Jesus and the religious leaders.
- It is not immediately apparent, but this chapter is about love – God’s love for His covenant people.
- The greatest commandment is to love God. The Christ is the object of our love.
- The Sadducees held political and religious power. But they didn't believe in the resurrection or angels, and they accepted only the five books of Moses. The Sadducees failed to recognize God’s love, and so denied the resurrection.
- The hope of resurrection and the new creation is found in many places in the Old Testament (Ezek. 37, 47; Is. 25, 26, 65, 66; Dan. 12; Ps. 16, 110). The belief in resurrection is the certain hope that God will overturn the curse of sin and redeem His people and His creation.
- In their test question the Sadducees incorrectly assumed life resumes as before at the resurrection.
- Death ends the covenant of marriage. Death means the end of our temporal marriages and the consummation of our intimate close communion with God.
- Jesus' answer referring to Exodus 3 teaches that God is a life-giving God and a covenant-keeping God. Moses is given three signs which represent death and resurrection.
- God appears in the burning bush to keep covenant by relieving the suffering of His people.
- The short answer to the Sadducees is that of course there will be resurrection because God loves us.
- Love for God is a total love and surrender to Him. Love for our neighbour means not only brotherly affection but also to hate what is evil and to hold to what is good (Ro. 12:9-10). Jesus gives examples of the love of God, contrasting the scribes and the widow.
- Knowing the text of Scripture is not the same as knowing the powerful Word of God. Knowing the love of God personally gives us a heart that will love God whole-heartedly as well as our neighbour.
- Many interest groups, ideologies and doctrines are opposed to Christ; we are to abhor such teaching, but we are to love the people within those groups. Some, like the scribe, are not far from the kingdom of God.
- We need to abhor God's enemies, yet some will repent and serve Jesus. By engaging Christ's opponents personally, we may discover that they are close to the kingdom.
- We're not to be like the scribes who positioned for public attention.
- The widow was willing to give all she had to God because she knew that God has done everything for her.
- What were the assumptions and errors of the Sadducees?
- When we know the love and power of God, how should it affect our theology?
- How is the hope of the resurrection supported by the knowledge of God's covenant love for His people?
- Do we engage in Christian service with pure motives or are we seeking attention and glory from others?
- How can we become agents of God’s love?