Sunday, May 11th; Mark 12:13-34

First off…please remember to check the Prayer Wall and keep the requests there before God.  Golda reminds us to pray for the people of Myanmar in Asia.

Secondly, thank you so much for all the support that was shown after my little state of the community fund talk last Sunday.  I mean support as in resources, but also so many who said such encouraging things to me personally.  It must have been obvious that I was less than comfortable doing that.

Ok…so on to our study.  We’ll be covering a lot of ground, vs 13-34 in chapter 12.  Read it here.

We don’t know if this is the next day, or exactly when this fits into the time-line…but after Jesus has had his initial confrontation with the leaders of the temple, we then have this section where the religious elite try to corner Jesus three more times, seeking to trap him with questions.  We’re going to look at all three of those traps…and we’re going to think about how Jesus evades them…and we’re going to consider ourselves, how WE can avoid the snares of religion on our spiritual journey.

The first section deals with their question about paying taxes, and if God fearing Jewish people are betraying God by paying taxes to a heathen authority.  Jesus’ answer is brilliant, and it makes a very important point about loyalty and commitment.  What does his answer say to you?  What is the most important thing, from Jesus’ perspective (based on his answer)?

In the second section, the religious “scholars” pose an elaborate “theological” question, trying to get him to side with one camp or another, hoping to stir up division based on his answer.  What is the first thing Jesus points out to these guys?  What is it that the so called scholars of his day were mistaken about in their question?  What can we learn from this about avoiding the traps of “religion”?

Thirdly, a less hostile question is asked by someone who really seems to want to hear Jesus’ answer.  But all are watching, probably hoping for ammunition to use against him.  This is a famous passage, where Jesus employs some real reductionism in his response.  Does anything jump out about what Jesus provides as an answer to this possibly complex question?  What do you take away from his response?

I came away with three distinct principles that I think are helpful in keeping our focus on the right things, and not allowing religious behavior and the expectations of church subculture from veering our course.  I hope it all is beneficial as we unpack it.


Published by Rob Woodrum

I serve as a pastor among the people of Eastgate Christian Fellowship in Panama City Beach, Florida. I'm not very good at it, but it's what God has called me to I do.

4 thoughts on “Sunday, May 11th; Mark 12:13-34

  1. The “religious leaders” were ignoring the scriptures, “Loving God with all you heart and soul and strength” (if you Love God, automatically you will love what He Loves, his children). I also believe they were making their own rules and ignoring the most important issue “Loving God and Loving Others”.

    If we make God our priority, not man, everything else will fall into place. Rob, thanks for the reminder!!!

  2. Just to clarify, its all about relationships with Jesus and others, not about religion. This should be our priority!

  3. Right on Golda! I think it’s really interesting that in each trap (well, especially the first two) of this section, Jesus points out that their very question misses the POINT entirely. That’s the problem of relgious systems, they more often than not are focusing on the wrong things as priorities and values. Everything about Jesus’ responses points towards relationship!
    Great observations, Golda!

  4. Always with the questions. “Who do we serve, who’s her daddy (husband), why on the Sabbath…..” and so it is with religion. These teachers of the law, the perfect purveyors of religion, were always fluttering around Jesus trying to catch him in some sort of trap.

    Religion is like that mosquito trapped in your car, always buzzing in your ear, never letting you rest. It takes your focus off the road. Now instead of steering, your swatting, and swerving, yelling and cursing. Fixated on the devilish intruder, you fail to see on-coming traffic and the only thing that gets squashed today is you.

    And isn’t that the goal of religion, getting your focus off the way? That’s what they were trying to do to Jesus. The same is true of us. There is religion, always questioning, “if God loved you…., maybe if you gave more…, a real Christian wouldn’t have done that….blah, blah, blah.” But here is Jesus, our Savior, cutting through the noise, clearing the air of these bugs, bringing the picture back into focus. “Why are you playing these games … you don’t get the point at all…”

    Like you said Rob, it is all about relationships. Not listening to the buzz, but Jesus. Always remembering that it’s not the questions asked by the gnats that define us, instead we are defined by the answers from our Master.

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