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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Mark
Chapter 12

Theme: Man demanding fruit from vineyard; question of taxes; the Resurrection; the great commandment; the Messiah; the widow's mite.

Consider that in this chapter and in following chapters that there are no miracles. The Gospel of Mark is one of much action, highlighted by miracles. But now, it seems that the action has slowed down to a standstill. In reality, this is just the lull before the storm. We shall see a lot of action coming up.

This outline of this chapter may help you:

  1. The parable of the vineyard (verses 1-12).
  2. Paying taxes to Caesar (verses 13-17).
  3. The Resurrection (verses 18-27).
  4. The greatest commandment (verses 28-34).
  5. The Lordship of the Christ.  (Verses 35-40).
  6. Pharisees avarice, two mites of the widow (verses 41-44).

There is again much action in this chapter, but a different kind. The Lord Jesus is the Passover Lamb and He is closely inspected now before He is to be slaughtered. The Passover lamb was kept up and closely observed to make sure it was without blemish (Ex.12:5). Horrible  waves of men's wrath will roll over His precious Head in just a few days from now. This will not be a time of quiet and inaction, but shall be the most fierce encounter yet with the religious rulers. This will not be a period of inaction or of the close of hostilities.

The three years of sporadic battles of Jesus with the religious rulers now break out in a bitter and loud vocal encounter. He wins a victory in the spoken area, and they cease trying to trap Him in that way. They had really hoped to force Him to say something that would turn the people against Him. It did not work. All the questions they had asked Him were weighed down with trickery. He will now hasten this action by giving the most pointed, plain and direct parable of His ministry . . . the vineyard. The meaning is very clear. Chapter 12 opens with this parable.

The Parable of the Vineyard and Husbandmen (Mark 12:1-12) (Mat.21:33-39; Lk.20:9-18)

Mark 12:1 And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. (KJV)

And he began to speak unto them by parables . . . parables were a frequent way that the Lord Jesus taught the people.
A certain man planted a vineyard . . . this man is by Matthew, called an "householder", by whom is meant God the Father, as set apart here from His Son, Whom He is said afterward to send: and the "vineyard", planted by Him, is meant the vineyard of the Lord of hosts, the men of Israel (Isa.5:1-7).
And set an hedge about it . . . it was usual to set a hedge or wall round a vineyard, which according to the Jewish writers was to be ten hands high, and four hands wide.                   
And digged a place for the winefat . . . a winepress was dug where they would tread and squeeze the grapes when gathered.
And built a tower . . . this was called by the Jews, "the watch house"; which was a high place, where the watchman stood to keep the vineyard safe, and which was built in the vineyard (Isa.5:2).
And let it out to husbandmen . . . husbandmen are the tenant farmers. There were different ways of hiring and letting out fields and vineyards among the Jews: one was, he who let out to his neighbor a field or vineyard to reap the fruit of it, for a certain sum of money annually (Song 8:11);  another was one that let out a field, or a vineyard, agreeing to give the owner of it so many measures of the fruit annually, whether it yielded more or less; and there was a third who agreed to give the owner half, or a third, or a fourth part of the increase of the field, or vineyard. The husbandmen here are meant to be the rulers of the Jews, civil and religious, especially the religious ones, the priests, Levites, and Scribes, who were entrusted with the care of the Jewish people, to guide and instruct them, and nurture and promote the knowledge of the things of God to them, so they might bring forth fruits of righteousness; and to offer their gifts and sacrifices, which are meant by letting out the vineyard to them.
And went into a far country . . . so, the Lord (God), left the people of the Jews (ascended into Heaven) to these husbandmen, or rulers, to be instructed and directed by them, according to the laws and rules given them by the Lord. (Mat.21:33).
So, by this vineyard is meant the house of Israel and the men of Judah, the nation of the Jews (Isa.5:1-7), from where the Lord seems to have taken many of the ideas conveyed in this parable. Israel was a people separated from the rest of the world, and set with good plants, and from whom fruit should be expected. The planting of them means the removing them from Egypt, the driving out the natives before them, and settling them in the land of Canaan, where they were planted with choice vines, such as Joshua and Caleb, and where they soon became a prosperous people. But because of their iniquities, they often were exposed to beasts of prey (the neighboring nations: Lev.26:25; Num.14:45; Deut.1:44; Josh.7:4; Jud.3:13; 1 Sam.4:2,10,17; 1 Chron.10:1; 2 Chron.28:5). They suffered often because of God’s holy wrath on them.
This must be interpreted consistent with the omnipresence of God, Who is everywhere, all the time, and cannot be said correctly to move from place to place; but fills Heaven and Earth with His Presence (Jer.23:24), and cannot be contained in either (2 Chron.2:6). God did NOT appear to them in that visible manner He had done before; but He did set their order of government, worship and duty, then left them to themselves and their rulers for many years; in which He showed much longsuffering and patience towards them. My friend, Jesus did go away . . . but He IS coming back!

Mark 12:2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. (KJV)

And at the season he sent unto the husbandman a servant . . . Matthew says, "when the time of the fruit drew near" (Mat.21:34). The "season" was the fourth year from the planting of it; and then it was holy to the Lord; and was not be eaten until the fifth year (Lev.19:23-25).  The "servant" is intended for the prophets of the Old Testament, who were sent to the Jews to call upon them to bring forth fruits of righteousness. I don’t know why Mark uses servant (singular), because this was not a single person, but several prophets. I think Matthew expresses it better when he says "servants".
That he might receive from the husbandmen the fruit of the vineyard . . . by the hands of his servant . . . in Matthew it is, "that they might receive" such as righteousness and judgment, truth and holiness, so as to give an account of them, which well might have been expected from a people with such advantages and blessings.

Mark 12:3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. (KJV)

And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty . . . again we find Mark fixing the attention on a single individual when more that one was actually engaged in the transaction. (Mat.21:34,36). Luke, like Mark, uses the singular number in this place (Lk.20:10).
This Passage reveals the utter rudeness and extreme violence with which the prophets of the Lord were used by the Jewish nation. They were beaten with their fists, or with rods, and scourges, until the skin was flayed off. The prophets had NO fruit to carry with him or them, or give an account of, to the owner of the vineyard (God).

For just two instances of the  cruelty and violence of the Old Testament: #1 it is believed that Isaiah was martyred by being sawed in half during the early reign of King Manessah, although it is not documented in the Bible or in history. Biblically there were N.T. references to prophets dying this way and it is a belief in oral Jewish tradition (Heb.11:37). And #2. Jeremiah suffered horribly under the Jews: (Jer.32; 33:1; 37:15-21; 38:6-13; 39:15-18; Lam.3:53-55).  

Isaiah 30:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits. KJV) . . . The Jews did NOT want the Truth, just as the people today, Jews AND Gentiles, do NOT want the Truth. BEWARE!!!
All in all, the Jews were cruel and violent to the prophets: (1 Ki.18:13; 2 Ki.6:28-31; 2 Chron.36:11-17; Amos 2:12; Jer.2:30; Mat.23:37; Mk.12:5; Lk.13:34; 1 Thes.2:15; Heb.11:35-38; Rev.16:6)               

Mark 12:4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. (KJV)

And again he sent unto them another servant . . . (Mat.21:36) Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise . . . another servant or another set of good men, to instruct, advise, and counsel them, and warn them of their duty; such as did Isaiah, Zechariah and others did. This could refer to the times of the Maccabees. Matthew says more than the first . . . greater in number, although their job was the same.
And at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head . . . these were stoned, sawn asunder and slain with the sword (Heb.11:37), although it seems, that this servant OR this set of men, were NOT stoned to death, because Mark says that afterwards it says he or they, were sent away.
And sent him away shamefully handled . . . with great humiliation and disgrace.

Mark 12:5  And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. (KJV)

And again he sent another . . . yet again,another servant, or set of men, it may be in the times of the Maccabees, who were used in a very inhuman manner (Heb.11:37-38).
And him they killed . . . either with the sword, or by inflicting some capital punishment, as stoning or strangling,
And many others . . . the husbandmen ill-used many others that were sent to them.
Beating some . . . with their hands, or with scourges;
And killing some . . . in one way or another. The severity toward the servants increased; the first was just beaten, the second was wounded in the head, and the third was killed. Jesus does not point to any historical feature in the significance of the parable. The servants that were sent to the husbandmen represent the prophets who had been sent to the Jews.
Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. (KJV) . . . This is the application of the parable, with the words directed at the chief priests, elders, scribes and people of the Jews. They are spoken as to what would be the end result of the builders, rejecting the Messiah, the foundation and corner stone of the building. The kingdom of God shall be taken from you . . . meaning the Gospel, which had been preached among them by John the Baptist, Christ and His apostles. It is called the Kingdom of God, because it shows men both their right for it (through the righteousness of Christ, 1 Cor.1:30; Jn.14:6), and fitness for it (in the regenerating and sanctifying grace of the Spirit, Jn.1:12-13; 2 Cor.5:17). The Gospel may be taken away from a people, as it was from the Jews, because of: #1. their contempt of it, #2. their opposition to it, #3. their luke-warmness toward it, #4. their indifference to it, or #5. Their being unfruitful in it.
Just as the Gospel was given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof . . . although God may take the Gospel away from a people, as He did from the Jews; He does not, He will not, take it completely out of the world. He gives it to another "nation" to the Gentiles, to ALL the nations of the world, where He sent His apostles to preach and where it must be preached before the end of the world comes (Mat.24:14), so that He can gather His elect out of them.  No specific nation is meant.                      

Mark 12:6  Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. (KJV)

Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved . . . the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the one and only Son of God His Father, His only begotten Son (Jn.3:16), for He has NO other Son in this same way who is His dear Son, who was loved by Him before the foundation of the world (Eph.1:4-6), and whom He declared to be His Beloved Son, both at His baptism, and at His Transfiguration upon the mount, by a voice from Heaven. Witness, God as Jesus’ witness: (Mat.3:17. 17:5; Mk.1:11; 9:7; Lk.3:22; 9:35; Jn.12:28; 2 Pet.1:17)     
He sent him also last unto them . . . after God had sent all the prophets to them, and they were rejected, God sent His only begotten Son . . .
Saying, they will reverence my son . . . as is written in (Lk.20:13; Mat.21:37). After all the prophets had been sent, and did their job, then God sent the Greatest Prophet of all, to seal up the vision and prophecy. The Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, was sent at first, just to the house of Israel. He was the minister of the circumcision; He was the Great Prophet raised up among them (Deut.18:18), and He was sent to bless them, by turning them from their iniquities. He came to them, to His own (Jn.1:11), to them of His own nation, but they received him not.
The Son of God was/is to be reverenced equally as His Father, because He is in nature and glory equal to Him (Jn.10:30); and it is the will of His Father that He should be so reverenced, as He is by the angels in Heaven, and by the saints, both in Heaven and in Earth. BUT . . . these husbandmen did NOT reverence Him! Just the opposite! They despised Him, they rejected Him; they reproached and slandered Him as the vilest of men, and used Him in the most cruel and savage manner.

Mark 12:7  But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. (KJV)

But those husbandmen said among themselves . . . they seem to have admitted in their minds that this WAS the Messiah, the Heir of all things.
This is the heir . . .  "of the vineyard", they could not deny that the vineyard belonged to Him, and He was right heir to the throne of Israel; although they refused to embrace Him, refused to confess Him as the Messiah, BUT. . . they said,
Come let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours . . . the priests, Scribes and elders of the people consulted together to take away the life of God’s own Son! They wanted to continue in the quiet possession of their nation, Temple and worship, in the office they bore, and in the privileges they had from God, and that the Romans might not come, and take away their place and nation. (Jn.11:47-48). By killing Jesus, they would maintain their authority, and keep possession of their revenues. (Mat.21:38).

Mark 12:8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. (KJV)

And they took him, and killed him, and cast him, out of the vineyard . . . the Jews sent their officers and servants, and arrested Him in the garden; they delivered Him to the Gentiles, who were outside the vineyard, and by whom, at their urging, He was put to death, the horrendous death on the cross. (Mat.21:39).

Mark 12:9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. (KJV)

What shall therefore the Lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others . . . the former clause contains a question put by Christ upon His having finished the parable . . . this is an answer to it, given by the chief priests, Scribes, and elders, in whose presence, and for whose sake it was delivered. (Mat.21:40-41).

Mark 12:10 And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: (KJV)

And have ye not read this Scripture; The stone which the builders rejected, is become the head of the corner . . . Psalm 118:22-23 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. 23 This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. (KJV) . . . these are the words of Christ directed to the above persons, many of whom were teachers of the people, and therefore should have known the Scriptures, and have taken notice of, and considered very carefully the Passages that referred to the Messiah, as this Passage in Psalms did, and was very appropriate to the case in this parable of the vineyard. The stone is the same as the Son and Heir in this parable, meaning Himself, the TRUE Messiah; and "the builders" mean the chief priests, Scribes and elders, the same as the husbandmen, whose rejection of the Stone, or of the Messiah, is meant by their seizing Him, casting Him out of the vineyard, and killing Him. According to this Scripture, Jesus was to be, and now is the Head of the corner, exalted high above angels and men, at the right Hand of God. Right Hand of God: (Mk.16:19; Lk.22:69; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Rom.8:34; Col.3:1;  Heb.10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet.3:22)
See: (Mat.21:42).

Mark 12:11 This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? (KJV)

This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes . . . Jesus referred to Himself as the Stone rejected by the builders. Although He would be rejected by most of the Jewish leaders, He would become the Cornerstone of a new "building," the church (Acts 4:11-12). The cornerstone was used as a base to make sure the other stones of the building were straight and level. So too, Jesus' life and teaching would be the church's foundation, and we are the other stones, building upon Him!

Mark 12:12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way. (KJV)

They sought to lay held on him . . . the chief priests, Scribes and elders, after they had heard the parable He spoke to them, were furious, and wanted to seize Him and carry Him away to their court, and condemn Him.
But feared the people . . . they were afraid they would rise up in defense of Jesus, for many of them liked Him and were emotionally involved to His ministry; and some had received help of one kind or another from Him through His miracles.
For they knew that he had spoken the parable against them . . . they knew exactly what Jesus meant by the parable, that they were the husbandmen intended, who had not brought the fruit of the vineyard to their Lord, but had treated His servants so terribly, and would His Son.
And they left him . . . in the Temple, not daring to do anything to Him.
And went their way . . . most likely to their council chamber, probably to consult as to what measures to take, and how to destroy Him.

Question Of Taxes (Mark 12:13-27)
(Mat.22:15-22; Lk.20:20-26)

Mark 12:13 And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. (KJV)

And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words . . . the Pharisees were a religious group concerned with ritual purity. The Herodians were a Jewish political group that approved of Herod's compromises with Rome. The Pharisees did not like Jesus because He exposed their hypocrisy (Mat.23). The supporters of Herod also saw Jesus as a threat. These groups were "spies,” that would pretend to be just and righteous men, so they might take hold of, and twist His words, that they might deliver Him to the Roman governor. Their plan was to trap Him by His words that might be seen as hostility to the Roman government. (Mat.12:14; Lk.20:20).

Mark 12:14 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? (KJV)

And when they were come . . . when the spies came to Jesus in the temple.
They said unto him, Master . . . such utter deceit! The greeted Him as they did their learned doctors and Rabbis, calling him "Rabbi", although they were far from being His disciples. Some of them were the disciples of the Pharisees, and the others had Herod as their master.
We know that thou art true . . . an honest, sincere, and upright man,
And carest for no man, for thou regardest not the person of men . . . not even Caesar himself.
But teachest the way of God in truth . . . instruct men in the Scriptures, and the worship of God, with all honesty and faithfulness . . . answer this question . . .
Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not? . . . their question is a work of art. They flatter Him, but He called them hypocrites. He did NOT accept their sweet talk. They were hypocrites!
 (Mat.6:2,5,16; 7:5; 15:7;  16:3; 22:18; 23:13,14,15,23,25,27,29; 24:51; Mk.7:6; Lk.6:42; 11:44; 12:56; 13:15).      (Mat.22:16-17).

Mark 12:15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. (KJV)

Shall we give, or not give? . . . they not only ask if it were lawful, but also IF it were advisable to do it. They not only want to accuse Him of His standards, but want to charge Him with coaxing, or deterring in this case.
But he knowing their hypocrisy . . . they could NOT fool Him! Their flattering titles of Him, which they thought lay hidden in their secret plans against Him; were completely known to Him.
Said unto them, why tempt ye me: bring me a penny, that I may see it . . . and they brought Him a penny. . . the coin that was brought to Him was that in which the tax was usually paid, which was Roman money.   (Mat.22:18-19).

Mark 12:16  And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's. (KJV)

And they brought it . . . the penny, which was a Roman one, and worth seven pence halfpenny of our money:
And he saith unto them, Whose is this image, and superscription . . . for it had the head of an emperor upon it, very likely the image of the then reigning emperor Tiberius, and a superscription on it, expressing his name, and maybe a saying along with it:
And they said unto him, Caesar's . . . the penny that was brought to Him had an image upon it, the form of a man's head, and round about it an inscription, showing who it was the image of.

Mark 12:17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him. (KJV)

And Jesus answering said unto them . . . very wisely and pertinently,
Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's . . . or "to the king, that which are the king's", and to God the things that are God's.
And they marvelled at him . . . at His wisdom and forethought in giving such an answer, which stopped them short!
Cæsar's image and name on the coin proved that it was his. It was proper, therefore, to give it back to him when he called for it. But Jesus also took the occasion to warn them to give to God what He was His. This could mean either: #1. the annual tribute due to the temple-service, implying that paying tribute to Cæsar did not free them from the obligation to do that; or #2. that they should give their hearts, lives, property and influence, all to God, as His due.

Question about the Resurrection (Mark 12:18-27)
(Mat.22:23-33; Lk.20:27-40)

Mark 12:18 Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, (KJV)

Then came unto him the Sadducees . . . there is NO let-up with these enemies of Jesus! Right after He had silenced the Pharisees and Herodians: the Sadducees jumped in.
Which say there is no resurrection . . . this shows that the Herodians and Sadducees were not the same; but that the Sadducees were a different and separate group, apart from both the Pharisees and the Herodians. The Sadducees knew that the Herodians had not been successful, and now come with a trick question of their own, a question that they had often bewildered the Pharisees, and hoped that it would stop Jesus.    
Which say, that there is no resurrection of the dead . . . the Sadducees denied that there were angels and spirits, and denied the immortality of the soul. They declared that the soul died with the body, and that there was no future or eternal state. There are a lot of “Sadducees” in today’s world!
And asked him, saying . . . the following question, trying to expose the weakness and absurdity of what the Pharisees believed.   (Mat.22:23).

Mark 12:19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. (KJV)

Master, Moses wrote unto us . . . left in writing for us the following Law to observe; for they did acknowledge the writings of Moses, and really all the Scriptures of the Old Testament. They adhered to the word for word sense of them, and rejected the traditional interpretation of them by the Rabbis.
If a man's brother die, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother . . . which is the sense of the law in: Deut.25:5  If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. (KJV)   (Mat.22:24).

Mark 12:20  Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. (KJV)

Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. . . there was supposedly in the city where these Sadducees lived, a family with seven sons, all brethren by the father's side; for brethren by the mother's side were not counted brethren, nor obligated by this law.  The eldest of these seven brethren married a wife, and after some time died, having no children, by his wife; and therefore, according to the above law, leaves her to his next brother to marry her, and raise up seed unto him; which, according to the Jewish canons, could not be done before ninety days, or three months after the decease of his brother. They were to wait this long to see if she was with child by his brother or not; for if she was, it was not necessary, and in reality, it was unlawful for him to marry her.  

Mark 12:21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. (KJV)

The second took her, and died, neither left he any, seed, and the third likewise . . . the eldest of the surviving brethren, having married his brother's wife, after sometime died also without children, and left her to his next brother to marry her; and the third brother accordingly did marry her, and in process of time died likewise, leaving no child; and thus they went on in course, unto the seventh: the fourth, fifth, and sixth, married her in turn, and so did the seventh; and all died in the same circumstances, having no children by her. Whether this is fact or fiction does not matter. The Lord uses their question to bring Truth to them.

Mark 12:22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. (KJV)

And the seventh had her, and left no seed: and last of all the woman died also . . . all of the seven brethren married her, one after another, and none of them had any children by her.

Mark 12:23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife. (KJV)

In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife  . . . the resurrection was declared by both the Pharisees and by Christ Jesus. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, and wanted to know, supposing that there would ever be such a thing, although NOT yielding to it; for these men denied it. Whose wife shall she be . . . for they all were married to her. They thought they had a big advantage over the Lord Jesus, in favor of their belief. They really hoped that He would give in to their way of thinking, and give up the doctrine of the resurrection, and join with them against the Pharisees.
They thought that IF He did answer, it would be either that He did not know whose wife she would be, and then they would belittle and disgrace Him as weak and ignorant, among the common people. IF He would say that she would be the wife of one of them only, naming which one, or of them all, or of none of them . . . they thought that such absurd results would follow on each of these, and that they would expose the doctrine of the resurrection to ridicule and contempt. BUT . . . things did NOT turn out as they hoped. They used this utterly ridiculous illustration to try to trap the Lord Jesus. The Sadducees were wrong in two ways, and the Lord brings this to their attention.

Mark 12:24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? (KJV)

And Jesus answering said unto them . . . which they thought He would not be able to do, but would have been totally silenced by them, as many of the Pharisees had been. The Sadducees were brazen and impolite, but the Lord thought it fit to return an answer to them. He would expose their ignorance, and put THEM to silence and confusion.
Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God power of God . . . the Sadducees were ignorant in two fields: #1. they were ignorant of the Scriptures and #2. they were ignorant of the power of God. This lack of knowledge is what caused them to bring up such a ridiculous illustration. They had NO true knowledge, and NO right understanding of the Scriptures, because there are many places in the Old Testament, where the soul remains after death, and that the body will be raised from the dead. Nor did they understand the power of God, for if He was able to make men out of the dust of the ground (Gen.2:7), He certainly was well able to raise them again, when crumbled into dust. But this was looked upon by them, as a thing impossible. There are multitudes of "Sadducees" in today's world! Acts 26:8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? (KJV) Old Testament Resurrection Promises: (Job 14:14; 19:25-25;  Ps.49:15; 71:20; Ecc.3:21; Isa.25:2; Dan.12:2).     

Mark 12:25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. (KJV)

For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven . . . in the time of the resurrection, when the bodies and souls of ALL men shall be reunited, there shall be NO marriage in Heaven. Men will not marry wives, nor will women be given in marriage to men, which was done by their parents in this era.
But are as the angels of God in heaven . . . Jesus is NOT saying that they become angels. NO mortal man or woman will ever become an angel. Angels and mankind are two completely different categories in God’s Creation. Neither species can become the other. Yes! Angels can take on the form of man, but they are a NOT literal man! (Gen.18:2; Josh.5:13; Dan.8:15; 10:5; 12:5). We will NOT be angels in Heaven, but we will be like the angels in that there shall be NO marriage in Heaven. Why? Because in Heaven it will not be necessary to continue the human race. Jesus, by mentioning angels, knocks down another false belief of the Sadducees, that there were no angels (Acts 23:8). Resurrection Promises in the New Testament: (Rom.1:4; 4:25; 6:9; 7:4; 8:11,34; 10:9; 14:9; 1 Cor.6:14; 15:4,17; 2 Cor.4:14; 5:15; 13:4; Gal.1:1; Eph.1:20; Col.1:18; 2:13; 1 Thes.1:10; 4:14; 2 Tim.2:8; Heb.13:20; 1 Pet.1:3,21. 3:18,21; Rev.20:12-13).                    

Mark 12:26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? (KJV)

And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses . . . the Scriptures is proof of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. The Book of Moses, although divided into five parts, was just ONE Book; just as the Psalms is called the Book of Psalms (Acts 1:20), and the Prophets, the Book of the Prophets (Acts 7:42). The Book of Exodus is especially intended here.

How in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? . . . Exodus 3:6  Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. (KJV)

Mark 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err. (KJV)

He is not the God of the dead, but the God, of the living . . . this is the Lord's point of view on the Passage; that since God is the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob . . .these persons must be alive now, in their souls! For God is NOT the God of the dead; and that their bodies must rise again, or He will not be the God of their whole persons.
The conclusion is, that these patriarchs were NOT dead in the Sadducees sense of the term; and as the conclusion applies only to their souls, it proves that souls continue to be alive AFTER the bodies which they inhabited are dead. Resurrection from the dead: (Job 14:14; Ps.49:15; 71:20; Ecc.3:21; 12:7; Isa.25:8-9; Dan.12:2-3; Hos.13:14).

Some say that the conclusion of this argument falls short, in its terms, and of the demands of the subject. The subject is the resurrection of the dead, while the conclusion affects only the question whether the souls of the dead are still alive. Some suppose that the resurrection spoken of is that of the spirit, not that of the body . . . they are wrong, because there is NO such thing as a resurrection of the spirit. The spirit does NOT die, and therefore it does NOT rise from the dead. The spirit (soul) leaves the body when a person dies. This departure is immediately at death, and it departs in the full possession of life. SO . . . WHERE does this spirit go? Ecc. 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (KJV)
When resurrection is spoken of in the Bible, it refers to the BODY. "Thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, and rise up" (Deut.31:16). "But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God, are alive every one of you this day" (Deut.4:4).  Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (KJV) . . . See: http://www.hisservants.org/the_soul_is_eternal_h_s.htm http://www.hisservants.org/what_happens_to_souls_h_s.htm
This passage does not directly prove then that the dead body would be raised, it proves that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had an existence then, when God spoke to Moses (Ex.3:6 above), it proves that their souls were alive at that time, which the Sadducees denied, and this was the main point in dispute. If this were admitted . . . if there were a state of rewards and punishments . . . then it would easily follow that the bodies of the dead would be raised. Rewards and punishments in the resurrection: (Ps.62:12; Dan.12:3; Mat.5:11-12; 10:41-42; 16:27; 24:45-47; 25:21-23; Jn.4:36-38; Rom.2:6; 1 Cor.3:8,14; 4:5; Gal.6:7-8; 1 Thes.2:19; Heb.6:10; 1 Pet.5:1,4; 2 Jn.1:8; Rev.2:8-11,23; 22:12)
Ye therefore do greatly err . . . meaning that it was not just a small mistake, an error of small importance, but a very great one; because it was contrary to the Scriptures, and took away the power of God, and destroyed that Promise agreement, which God has made with His people.

The Greatest Commandment (Mark 12:28-34)

Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? (KJV)

And one of the Scribes came . . . Matthew calls him a lawyer (Mat.22:35), an interpreter of the Law, as a Scribe was.
And having heard them reasoning together . . . for he was present at the dispute between Jesus and the Sadducees, which he carefully listened to.
And perceiving that he had answered them well . . . he thought that Jesus had answered in a most beautiful way, and had put the Sadducees to their utter confusion and silence. Here comes another difficult and tricky question to Christ Jesus, testing His knowledge and understanding of the Law. He was simply trying to entrap Him and expose Him to the people as a very badly informed Man. It did NOT work! Jesus was NOT badly informed! Quite the opposite.
Asked him, which is the first commandment of all? . . . of all the commandments in the law, moral and ceremonial.    (Mat.22:36).  

Mark 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: (KJV)

Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is . . . Jesus replied at once, without taking any time to consider of it, what the chief and major of all the commands of the law, and what is of the greatest importance  . . .
Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord . . . Mark began Jesus answer by referring to the doctrine of the unity of God, "Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord" (Deut.6:4). This was most likely because all TRUE obedience depends on the correct knowledge of God. NO one can keep His commandments IF they are not acquainted with His nature, His perfections and His right to demand obedience.

Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (KJV)

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment . . . meaning that we MUST love Him supremely, more than any and all other beings and/or things (Mat.10:37-38), and with all the passion possible. We must be dedicated to Him.
With all thy heart . . . To love Him with all the heart is to secure our affections totally on Him, being willing to give up all that we hold dear at His command, if it were ever to come to that.
 And with all thy soul . . . all our life, meaning to be willing to give our life to Him, and to devote our life to His service. We must be willing to live for Him, and to be willing to die for Him IF He so commands. This is rare in America, so far! But I see it getting closer and closer. Chaplains are forbidden to name the Name of Jesus to the military! This is absurd! The Name of Jesus is the ONLY Thing that can save them!  Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (KJV)
Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. (KJV) . . . BEWARE!!! Refusing to name the Name of Jesus . . . is being ashamed of Him!
And with all thy mind . . . we must submit our mind and understanding to His will. We must love His Law and Gospel more than we do any decisions for self. We must be willing to submit all our ability to His teaching and guidance. We must be willing to devote to Him all our academic achievements, and all the results of our educated efforts.
With all thy strength . . . meaning with all the ability and power of body and soul. We should labor and strive for His honor and His glory, being willing to make Jesus the great Object of all our efforts. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God: (Deut.6:5; 11:1; 19:9; Mat.22:37; Mk.12:30; Lk.10:27).

This is to be understood of the ONE God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; for all three divine Persons are to be equally loved, for they all possess the same perfections and qualities. Loving God is contrary to man’s nature. Men are enemies to God in their minds, which proves to be so by their disobedience and wicked works . . . BUT . . . this commandment is still in force, and our obligation to it is the same. The fall of man, the corruption of nature, and every hatred in man to keep this command, does NOT make it null and void. This Passage follows the one in Deut.6:5.   (Mat.22:37).
It is the first and greatest of all; it is first, not in order of time, but of importance. It is greatest in all of the following:
#1. In its antiquity; being as old as the world, and engraved originally on our very nature, IF we want to admit it.
#2. In distinction; as directly and immediately being #1 and referring to God.
#3. In excellence; being the #1 commandment of the new covenant, and the very power of our Divine adoption, into God's family.
#4. In justice and fairness; because it, and it alone renders to God His due, prefers Him above ALL things, and secures His proper position in relation to mankind.
#5. In sufficiency; for it, and it alone is capable of making men holy in this life, and happy in the one to come.
#6. In fruitfulness; because it is the basis, the foundation, the origin, the root and the source, of ALL the other commandments, and the fulfilling of the Law.
#7. No other commandment is higher in value and effectiveness; because by this alone, God reigns in the heart of man, and man is united to God.
#8. In optimism; for it brings hope to mankind, for eternal life can be expected from Almighty God.
#9. In necessity; for it is absolutely crucial, indispensable, important and vital.
#10. In duration; for it shall always be continued here on Earth, and never to be discontinued in Heaven.

Mark 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (KJV)

And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself . . . Jesus says that there is a second, but not a third, in importance of commandments. This is suggested in opposition to the multitude of commandments in the Law, according to the Jews, who think there are in all 613, of which 365 are negative ones. Isaiah 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; (KJV) . . . Isaiah reduces the Jews' 613 laws to 6 here, while Habakkuk reduces the 613 to ONE! Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (KJV) . . . But, we are here interested in what Jesus says! Christ reduces all their laws to just TWO, love God and love your neighbor as yourself. 
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself . . . Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (KJV) . . . Where do you stand when you apply this to your life? I know I fall short! If you are honest, you will admit that you come short of the glory of God. Our Lord is very specific with this man. He says, "You want to know which is the greatest commandment, and I tell you that it is to love God is the greatest commandment, and to love your neighbor is the next greatest." The first command sums up what man owes to God; the second is what man owes to his fellow-man. Anyone who loves God supremely will NOT live in disobedience to Him. Anyone who loves his neighbor as himself, will seek to do right to all those around him. Man is a creature cut out for love; thus it is the law written in the heart “the law of love.” Love is a short and sweet word; and if love is the fulfilling of the Law, the yoke (Mat.11:29-30) of the command is very easy. Love is rest and satisfaction of the soul, and IF we walk in love, we shall find rest. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: (Lev.19:18; Mat.5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mk.12:31; Lk.10:27; Rom.13:9; Gal.5:14; Jam.2:8).
There is none other commandment greater than these . . . in the whole law, moral or ceremonial; not the Sabbath, nor circumcision, nor the phylacteries, nor the fringes on the borders of the garments, nor any other.

Mark 12:32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: (KJV)

And the Scribe said unto him . . . this reply of the Scribe, is not stated by Matthew.
Well, Master, thou hast said the truth . . . the Scribe was delighted with His answer, and could not hold back speaking in approval of it, even before the multitude and those of his own group. This was a very rare instance, for it was not usual for the Scribes and Pharisees to speak in praise of Jesus. But this man not only speaks well of Him, but gives reasons for it, and confirms the doctrine He taught in his own words . . .
For there is one God, and there is none other but he . . . we are not to think that this man said or thought anything to the contrary, or that he opposed the doctrine of the Trinity.

Mark 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. (KJV)

And to love him with all the heart . . . to love this one God, with a sincere and heart felt love and affection.
And with all the understanding . . . of His being, perfections and works, which will help draw affections to Him. This answers to "with all thy mind" in verse 30.
And with all the soul . . . with all the powers and abilities of it.
And with all the strength . . . that a man has, or is given him; with all the passion of soul he is master of.
And to love his neighbour as himself . . . which are the two great commandments of the law.
Is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices . . . meaning more excellent in their nature, more acceptable to God, and more useful among men, than ALL the rituals of the ceremonial law, than any sacrifice whatever.
This man now had a different sense of things, from the rest of his brethren; who placed religion mainly in the observance of the rituals of the law, the traditions of the elders, and neglected the duties of the moral law, respecting God and their neighbor. He now totally agrees with the sense of the Passage in Hosea 6:6: "For I desired mercy and, not sacrifice".

Mark 12:34  And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question. (KJV)

And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly . . . wisely, prudently and understanding. he Said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God . . . not meaning from Heaven, and eternal happiness, for right ideas of the above commandments, and even the performance of them, by a sinful and imperfect creature, CANNOT give a man a title to Heaven or bring him near, or introduce him to Heaven’s glory . . . because eternal life in Heaven, our inheritance (1 Pet.1:4-5), is a FREE Gift of God's grace to us (Rom.6:23; Eph.2:8-9).
I think what the Lord meant was that he was not far off from the Gospel dispensation, and had a good chance of entering into it. His sentiments were that those who became followers of Christ, and embraced His doctrines, and loved the Lord God, and worshipped Him, and did good to his neighbor came before the ceremonies of the Law; which would soon be abolished, and make way for the setting up of the kingdom of God, or of the Messiah, in a more glorious and visible manner.
And no man after that durst ask him any question . . . in any tricky matter to try to ensnare Him. They knew they could get no advantage over Him, or any occasion against Him that way, for He had silenced the Herodians, Sadducees, Scribes and Pharisees.

The Lordship of the Christ (Mark 12:35-40)
 (Mat.22:41-46; Lk.20:41-44)

Mark 12:35 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David? (KJV)

And Jesus answered and said . . . To the Pharisees that were gathered together about Him. (Mat.22:41).
While he taught in the temple . . . as He was teaching the people there; about other things in His doctrine, He asked this question . . .
How say the Scribes, that Christ is the son of David? . . . Jesus did not mean to deny or nullify the Truth of this; for the Messiah certainly was the son of David, but He wanted to know, if the people believed that He was David's Son. Mark omits the part that the Pharisees played in this conversation (Mat.22:41), and just gives a summary of the argument made by Jesus.
If this question were asked to some people today, there would be many different answers.  The atheist believes there is no God; so there could be no Christ, the Son of God. The epicurean thinks only of his carnal lusts and pleasures. Those of the world, the covetous man, thinks only of worldly things, and of how much he has laid up for himself. NO thought whatsoever of Jesus enters their mind. Heathens have wrong thoughts of Christ Jesus, ugly and belittling. Some think He is a created God, like, but not or the same nature as the Father. Some think  He is a God by office, and did not exist until He was born of the Virgin Mary, and have no idea whatsoever of His Sacrifice, and forgiveness for the sins of men (1 Pet.1:18-19). Some think appallingly of His righteousness, and deny that it is attributed to those who believe (Rom.5:1,9). It is no wonder that all those who do not bear His Name, “Christian”, consider wrong and degrading thoughts of Christ Jesus. The Jews thought He was just a mere man, and the carpenter's son. The Pharisees thought He was a loose and immoral Person, that had no regard for the Law and good works and as a result came these words of His, "think not that I am come to destroy the law" (Mat.5:17). They thought He was a Samaritan, and had a devil (Jn.8:48). Only those who believe and trust in God and His Holy Word could answer correctly. (Mat.22:42-43)
Son of David, Jesus: (2 Sam.7:16; Ps.89:36; 132:11; Isa.9:6-7; 11:1; Jer.23:5; 33:15-17,26; Amos 9:11; Zec.12:8; Mat.9:27; 15:22; 22:42-45; Lk.1:31-32,69-70; Jn.7:42; Acts 2:30; 13:22; Rom.1:3; Rev.22:16)    
Blood of Christ: (Ex.12:13; Zec.13:1; Mat.26:28; Mk.14:24; Lk.22:20; Jn.6:55-56; 19:34; Acts 20:28; Rom.3:25; 5:9; 1 Cor.10:16; 11:25; Eph.1:7; 2:13; Col.1:14,20; Heb.1:3; 9:12,14; 10:19,29; 12:24; 13:20; 1 Pet.1:2,18-19; 1 Jn.1:7; 5:6; Rev.1:5; 5:9; 7:14; 12:11; 19:13). 

Mark 12:36  For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. (KJV)

For David himself said by the Holy Ghost . . . in Psalm 110:1, being inspired by the Spirit of God.
The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool . . . this is proof that David did call Christ his Lord; and that he called Him thus in spirit; since these words were delivered by him under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Passage relays what God the Father said to Christ, when He was risen from the dead. He ascended on high, and entered into the most holy place; and God the Father bidding Him to sit down at His right Hand, as having completed the work of man's salvation, the Son of God ascended above, as a mark of affection to Him, and honor conferred upon Him in His human nature; where He would stay, until all His enemies, Jews, Pagans, Papists, and Muhammadans, as well as Satan and all his principalities and powers were subdued under Him, and to be as a footstool to His throne. When David prophetically speaks of this, he calls the Messiah his Lord; saying, the "Lord said to my Lord"; on which account the prophecy is quoted; who was so, for He IS God, and his Creator and Redeemer. This prophecy is of the Messiah, and applies to NONE other but Christ Jesus; and is therefore fittingly cited, and applied to Him here. (Mat.22:44).
Ascended into Heaven: (Ps.68:18; Eph.48-10; Mk.16:19; Lk.24:51; Jn.20:17; Acts 1:9; Heb.1:3; 4:14; 1 Pet.3:22). 
Christ Jesus at the Right Hand of God: (Mk.16:19; Lk.22:69; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Rom.8:34; Col.3:1;  Heb.10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet.3:22)
Principality and powers: (Rom.8:38; Eph.1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col.1:16; 2:10,15;  Tit.3:1)      
Footstool: (1 Chron.28:2; 2 Chron.9:18; Ps.99:5; 110:1; 132:7; Isa.66:1; Lam.2:1; Mat.5:35; 22:44; Mk.12:36; Lk.20:43; Acts 2:35; 7:49; Heb.1:13; 10:13; Jam.2:3).

Mark 12:37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly. (KJV)

David therefore himself calleth him Lord . . . David, whose Son you say the Messiah is, speaks of Him as one superior to himself; as Lord, and as his Lord:
Whence is he then his son . . . Jesus asks the scribes, what Passage of Scripture does it say this, that the Messiah is his Son? How can these two different characters of Jesus, be made to agree? The Messiah, Who was/is God, as well as Man; was MORE than just the son of David, as was so generally received . . . or just a mere Man. He had a superior nature, in which He was David's Lord, and Lord of all.
And the common people heard him gladly . . . His reasoning about the Messiah, was listened to with great attention. This remark has reference, not just to the paragraph with which it is connected, but to the entire discussion which had occupied the day. But what was true of the common people assembled then in Jerusalem, was also true of those He had taught in Galilee and Perea. It was only the elders, the chief priests, the lawyers, and the scribes, who would NOT hear Him gladly. To these rich ones, He was their rival and enemy, and He was so because He persisted in exposing their falsehoods and because He captured the attention of the people in the Truths which they rejected.
What about today? I find that the older a person is, or the more education a person has, or the richer a person is . . . the less likely they are to listen to the Truth. Anyone who in any degree fails to listen to the Truth has a very serious and deadly problem, for it is only the Gospel of Christ that can save their eternal soul.           

Mark 12:38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, (KJV)

And he said unto them in his doctrine . . . as He was preaching, NOT to the Scribes and Pharisees, but to the multitude, and to His apostles especially, (Mat.23:1; Lk.20:45).  
Beware of the Scribes . . . even though Jesus had just spoken kindly to one of them, this was just one single man, a single instance. The vast majority (Mat.7:13), were dead set against Him, and were very corrupt in their beliefs and practices, and should therefore be avoided. BEWARE dear one, the world today is filled with scribes and Pharisee and hypocrites. Many of these are in the pulpits! Pay attention to what they are saying! Read the Bible and check them out! If they are wrong . . . get away from them FAST! They will lead you to Hell. They are the devil’s own!
Which love to go in long clothing . . . in long flowing robes, as showing their greatness and learning. It could refer to the common length of their fringes on the borders of their outward garment, which they enlarged beyond others. It refers to the loose threads which were attached to the borders of the outer garment as a fringe. This fringe was commanded by God to distinguish the Jews from other nations, and that they might remember to keep the commandments of God (Num.15:38-40; Deut.22:12). The Pharisees and scribes made the fringes much broader than common people wore them, making a big deceptive show that they had a much greater respect for the law. Hypocrites!  (Mat.23:5)          http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6397-fringes
And love salutations the market places . . . they wanted to be greeted and recognized in public places, where there were a many people, where they would be noticed.   (Mat.23:6-7).       

Mark 12:39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: (KJV)

And the chief seats in the synagogues . . . where the rulers of the synagogue, and the elders of the people sat. (Mat.23:6).
And the uppermost rooms at feasts . . . the best or chief places where they sat, or rather lay along at public entertainment. (Mat.23:6).

Mark 12:40 Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. (KJV)

Which devour widows' houses . . . meaning everything in the houses of those who were left with fatherless children, with little to support them; who were left alone with none to advise them. These were greedy dogs (Isa.56:11), as Isaiah calls them. Covetous people like this never have enough, and very easily imposed upon these defenseless women, taking all their substance, stripping them of the bare necessaries of life. They succeeded by getting them to sell their houses and goods, or got their little estates into their hands, pretending to take care and dispose of them for them, to THEIR advantage. To me, it is like these greedy TV preachers who get their hooks in their audience, pushing for more, more money! Absolutely disgusting! Some of these who send to them are poor widows, living from one check to another. (Mat.23:14).

Avarice of the Scribes, The Widow's Mite (Mark 12:41-44) (Lk.20:41-44)

Mark 12:41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. (KJV)

And Jesus sat over against the treasury . . . the treasury was the place where the chests stood, where money was put in for various uses. I understand that there were thirteen chests in all, in the Temple, where offerings were cast. The money contributed there was used for the service of the Temple, for incense, sacrifice, etc. And beheld . . . Jesus watched as they contributed  to the Temple.
How the people . . . all kinds of people, rich and poor,
Cast money into the treasury . . . into one of the above chests. "Money" means "brass" which the Jews call “twem”, for they had shekels of brass, as well as silver; and brazen pence, as well as silver and also "prutas", or mites of brass; and such as the poor woman cast in:
And many that were rich cast in much . . . they gave very abundantly, as they possessed much worldly substance. Even though their religion was not heart-felt with them, they took care to support the external and ritual part of it, like millions today. For more on Temple treasury, see:   

Mark 12:42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. (KJV)

And there came a certain poor widow . . . this poor widow may have been one of the ones who was taken advantage of by the Pharisees and scribes, but she came to make an offering to the Temple. She very likely lived in Jerusalem, and was very poor. The Lord Jesus seems to have taken special notice of her.  
And she threw in two mites, which make a farthing . . . mite means a small coin made of brass, the smallest in use among the Jews. The exact value cannot be easily estimated. It was much less than any coin we have, as the farthing was less than an English farthing. Its value might have been about three mills and a half, or one third of a cent.

Mark 12:43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: (KJV)

And he called unto him, his disciples
Who were at some little distance from him, he having finished his discourses:
And saith unto them, Verily I say unto you . . . a way of speaking He often used, when He was about to say something of great importance, and not so easy to believe, which needed their full attention.
That this poor widow . . . pointing to her.
Hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury . . . NOT that she had cast in more money, but He was comparing her to the rich ones about her. She had cast in more than all of them put together; more in proportion to what she had, than they had in proportion to their substance. Hers, although very small in itself, and was most likely contemptible to the others, yet it was MORE in God’s eyes, and Christ Jesus, and what she put in was much more highly valued and esteemed of by them, than all that the rich men put in. She gave in faith, and from a heart of love, and with a view of the glory of God . . . they gave only in hypocrisy, to make an outward show, and to be seen of men.
Verily I say unto you: (Mat.5:18; 6:2,5,16; 8:10; 10:15,23,42; 11:11; 16:28; 17:20; 18:13,18; 19:23,28; 21:21,31; 23:36; 24:2,34,47; 25:12,40,45; 26:13,21; Mk.3:28; 6:11; 8:12; 9:1,41; 10:15,29; 11:23; 12:43; 13:30; 14:9,18,25; Lk.4:24; 11:51; 12:37; 13:35; 18:17; 18:29; 21:32).

Mark 12:44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (KJV)

For all they did cast in of their abundance . . . or "super-abundance", as some versions say. They abounded in the things of the world, of which they gave only a part; and although they could give much, they could easily spare it, and had an abundance remaining . . . BUT . . .
She, of her want . . . or "penury" (poverty) as in (Lk.21:4).
Did cast in all that she had, even all her living . . . her entire substance, all that she had in the world . . . which was to have bought her food for that day. She left herself nothing, but gave away all, and trusted to the providence of God to take care of her. (Mat.6:11; 1 Tim.6:8-10).

#1. That giving to charity is a good thing, and pleases the Lord Jesus . . . and IF we are humble and sincere in it, He will graciously accept it, though in some circumstances this may not be the decision of the world.
#2. Those that have but little, should give alms out of their little, and those that live by their labor, should give to those that need . . .
IF they are really in need. I must add this because it is how I truly feel. Eph. 4:28  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (KJV) . . . Personally, I think there are millions who are “stealing” from the government. They simply expect the government to take care of them. IF a person is disabled, or is truly in need, like many old and feeble people, and like here, widows with no support; food stamps, etc. is a good thing. BUT . . . when I see all these able bodied people on welfare, it makes me sick! Many who pay for their groceries with food stamps, are in much better shape that I am. It is WRONG! Judgment Day IS coming for them! 2 Thes. 3:10  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (KJV)
#3. If you are going to give to a charity, check it out to make sure it is not a rip-off! Many send money for those starving children overseas, thinking what good they are doing, when some times, it is just the big old fat-cats that run the country that gets your money. BEWARE!!!

Let us not forget that Jesus still SEES the treasury in today's world. He knows how much, and from what motives, people give to His cause. He looks at the heart, and what the person’s views are in giving alms. He knows whether we do it as unto the Lord (like the poor widow woman), OR they are giving only to be seen of men (like the Pharisees and scribes). ALL the feeble efforts of the poor to honor their Saviour, will be one day be commended, when the impressive actions of unbelievers will be exposed to utter contempt.

  Gospel of Mark

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