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Friday, April 6, 2018

2018.04.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 12:13-37

Questions for Littles: What did the leaders send Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to do (v13)? What question do they ask in v14? How does Jesus answer in v15-17? How do they respond to Him (end of v17)? What do the Sadducees say (v18)? What crazy question do they have (v23)? What two problems does Jesus tell them they have in v24? What do we not do in the resurrection (v25)? Of whom is God the God (v27)? What does that mean about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (v26)? Who comes to Jesus in v28? What does he ask? How does Jesus answer (v29-30)? What does Jesus add to the answer in v31? How does that scribe respond to Jesus (v32-33)? What does Jesus say to the man in v34? What did no one dare to do after that?
In the Gospel reading this week, we learn something about government, something about marriage, and something about religion—all because people are trying to trap Jesus.

First, they try to trap Jesus between God and the government—as if He had to choose to honor either one or the other. But, our Lord exposes how ridiculous this is: government exists because God ordained it. There are coins with Caesar’s head on them, because God has permitted Caesar to reign in the first place!

People today make the same mistake as Jesus’s questioners. They set God and government over against each other. Though there may be times when government commands us to disobey God, and then we have to choose obedience to Christ… except for such times, Christians ought to be the best citizens in the land.

We know that government didn’t just happen because some people wanted to control other people. We know that it exists by the authority of God as a gift from God. This is also the reason why corrupt government is so offensive—it’s a sin against government’s God-given purpose! So, we should pay our taxes.

Then, we learn something about marriage. The Sadducees’ scenario is a doozy. They are truly scoffers of what they don’t understand. And Jesus puts them in their place. Because they weren’t holding to the Bible closely enough, their view of God was way too small. They were the “liberal progressives” of their day.

But, it is in Jesus’s response to their question that we definitively learn that there is no marrying in the resurrection. We will be like the angels, whose identity is bound up in being “the heavenly host [i.e. ‘army’].” So, too, Christians will be members of one great collective: a church, a temple, a house, a body… A BRIDE!

When we reach the wedding supper of the Lamb, we arrive at the reality to which marriage has always pointed forward. May the Lord give us marriages that point forward to Him, and may we rejoice to think of the day when we shall be presented to Him, unified, as one glorious Bride for Him!

The last question seems to have been a sincere one. When Jesus answers not just the greatest commandment, but the two greatest, it seems as if a light goes on in the scribe’s mind (heart) in v32-33. He realizes that God doesn’t actually delight in the burning of animal flesh, but in obedience that comes from love!

Notice, however, Jesus’s statement. He doesn’t tell the man that he is in the kingdom. He tells him that he is not far from the kingdom. Why? Because even if we know that what God wants is obedience from love, we still have the problem of being completely unable to do that! The last piece is to recognize that Jesus alone can or has ever done this.
What are some of your toughest questions for Jesus? What do the Scriptures have to say in answer? Have you asked your dad/elder/pastor what the Bible says? 
Suggested songs: ARP119M “O How I Love Your Law” or HB260 “The Spirit Breathes upon the Word”

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