OceanSide church of Christ

 Previous Return to Mark Next 


Mark 12

Victor M. Eskew




A.   There were two things that Jesus did often in His ministry.

1.     He taught in parables.

2.     He fielded questions from numerous individuals, especially His enemies.


B.    In Mark 12, we find Jesus involved in both things.


C.   We’ve entitled this chapter “The Ps and Qs of the Servant of God.”


I.           THE PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD (Mark 12:1-12)


A.   And he began to speak unto them by parables (Mark 12:1a).

1.     The word “parable” is a translation of the Greek word “parabole.”

2.     Literally, it means “to lay along side of.”

3.     It was an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.


B.    In Mark 12:1-9, we find the parable itself.  Many refer to it as “The Parable of the Vineyard” due to the opening words:  And a certain man planted a vineyard.

1.     The Vineyard Established (Mark 12:1)

2.     The Vineyard’s Earnings (Mark 12:2)

3.     The Vineyard’s Evil (Mark 12:3-8)

a.     The Servants (Mark 12:3-5)

b.    The Son (Mark 12:6-8)

1)     Respect (Mark 12:6)

2)     Resentment (Mark 12:7)

3)     Rejection (Mark 12:8)

4.     The Vineyard’s Exchange (Mark 12:9)


C.   The parable and its application found its original place in Messianic prophecy (Mark 12:10-11).


And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:  this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?


1.     This is a quote from Psalm 118:22-23

2.     The application of the prophecy is made several times in the NT to refer to the Jewish rejection of Jesus Christ.

a.     God was the owner of the vineyard.

b.    He established a nation and gave it to the Jews (Jer. 2:21; Ezek. 17:5-6)


Yet have I planted thee a noble vine, a wholly right seed…


3.     This nation should have prospered and should have brought forth fruit unto God.

4.     God sent His prophets to check on His vineyard.  Each time they treated them horribly:  beating them, stoning them, and killing them (Matt. 23:30-31, 34, 37).

5.     The Son was treated no differently.  He, too, was killed.

6.     God, therefore, would reject the Jews, and will give the vineyard to others, even the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; Rom. 10-11).


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

1.     There are only two ways to handle the Christ.

a.     Submit to Him.

b.    Reject Him.

c.    Mark 12:30


He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.


2.     The Jews rejected Jesus.  To this day, the majority of them still do not believe.


II.         THE QUESTION OF THE OPPOSITION (Mark 12:13-34)


A.   The beginning and ending verses of this section are interesting.

1.     Mark 12:13


And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.


2.     Mark 12:34


And no man after that durst ask him any question.


B.    The three questions:

1.     Taxation (Mark 12:14)


Is it lawful to give tribute to Caeasar, or not?


a.     What is interesting about this question is “who” is asking it:  the Pharisees and the Herodians (Mark 12:13).

1)     The Herodians favored the Roman government.

2)     The Pharisees did not.

b.    If Jesus said “Yes,” He would oppose the Pharisees.  If He said “No,” He would oppose the Herodians.

c.    Jesus’ response;

1)     …bring me a penny that I may see it (Mark 12:15).

2)     Whose is this image and superscription? (Mark 12:16)

3)     Render to Caeasar the things that are Caeasars’s, and to God the things that are God’s (Mark 12:17).

a)     There was nothing wrong in returning to Caeasar what was his.

b)     Too, the Jews were obligated to give God what He deserved.

2.     Resurrection (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.


a.     It is interesting that the Sadducees were the inquirers.  Mark 12:18 reveals what they believed about the resurrection:  …which say there is no resurrection.

b.    Their question was based upon the Leverite law of the Law of Moses (Deut. 25:5-6).


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 a husband’s brother unto her.  And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of the brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.


c.    The Sadducees used this as an argument against the resurrection.  If a woman had married seven brothers and none of them bore her children, whose wife would she be in the resurrection?

d.    Jesus’ answer:

1)     Mark 12:24 – Do ye not therefore err…?

Mark 12:27 - …ye therefore do greatly err.

2)     Two elements:

a)     Those who rise from the dead neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven (Mark 12:25).

b)     God’s words at the burning bush:  I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Mark 12:26; Exo. 3:6).

1)     “I am” is the present tense of the verb “to be.”

2)     Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead many years.

3)     God said to Moses:  “I am” (presently) their God.  Their spirits continued to live.  God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

4)     By His great power, He could reunite their spirits with their bodies that were in the grave.

3.     The first commandment (Mark 12:28)


Which is the first commandment of all?


a.     Jesus’ answer (Mark 12:29-31)


And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord:  and thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:  this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these.


1)     Jesus divided our obligations into two categories:  God and man.

2)     If one loves God and loves his fellowman, there is nothing else for him to do.

b.    The scribe’s acknowledgement (Mark 12:32-33)

c.    Jesus’ affirmation (Mark 12:34).


Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.




A.   The Question (Mark 12:35)


How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?


1.     The scribes taught that the Messiah would be of the lineage of David (See II Sam. 7:12-16).

2.     As the son, he should reverence the father, David.

3.     The Scriptures, however, clearly taught that David referred to the Messiah as “my lord” (Ps. 110:1).

4.     This posed a problem (Mark 12:37)


David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son?


5.     NOTE:  The proper answer to this question would reveal the divine-human nature of the Messiah.  The Jews would never answer this question.  To do so would mean that Jesus could be the Messiah.


B.    The Warning (Mark 12:38-40)

1.     Beware of the scribes (Mark 12:38-40a).

2.     …these shall receive greater condemnation (Mark 12:40b).


IV.        THE POOR WIDOW (Mark 12:41-44)


A.   The Event:

1.     The On-looker (Mark 12:41a)

2.     The Offering (Mark 12:41b-42)

3.     The Observation (Mark 12:43-44)


B.    The lessons:

1.     Jesus observes our giving.

2.     There are many different types of givers.

3.     Giving is judged by the relationship between what is given and what one has, not just the dollar amount.


And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, This poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:  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.




A.   Three things that we learn about Jesus in this chapter:

1.     He is watching (Mark 12:41).

2.     He is wise (Mark 12:34).

3.     He executes wrath (Mark 12:9).


B.    Thus, man needs to learn of His ways, serve Him faithfully, and seek to never disappoint Him.