Purifies                                         

                                       Mark 11:15-19; 12:41-44

                                                 May 5, 2019

 

 

                                                Ch. 11

 

vs. 9-10 -The general welcome was an anticipation of the honor which shall be

rendered to Jesus, when “every tongue shall acknowledge him to be Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.”  (Philippians 2:11)

 

(Compare Luke 19:37-44)And when He was come nigh, even now at the descent of

the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise

God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;  Saying,

Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and

glory in the highest.  And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said

unto Him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.  And He answered and said unto them, I

tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it,  Saying, If

thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong

unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  For the days shall come

upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee

round, and keep thee in on every side,  And shall lay thee even with the ground,

and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon

another; because thou KNEWEST NOT THE TIME OF THY VISITATION!”

(Like Sodom, the Jews, had they only known, were on the verge of an apocalypse,

which only depended upon their spiritual preparedness. (Reader, don’t you sense

the feeling that we too are on the verge of The Apocalypse?  Jesus said, “When

ye see these things come to pass, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors” [ch.

13:29] – CY – 2010) 

 

(vs. 12-14)  And so the fig tree was cursed, not for being barren,

but for being false. When our Lord, being hungry, sought figs on the fig tree,

He signified that He hungered after something which He did not find. The Jews

were this unprofitable fig tree, full of the leaves of profession, but fruitless.

Our Lord never did anything without reason; and, therefore, when He seemed

to do anything without reason, He was setting forth in a figure some great reality.

Nothing but His Divine yearning after the Jewish people, His spiritual hunger for

their salvation, can explain this typical action with regard to the fig tree, and indeed

the whole mystery of His life and death.   (I recommend Spurgeon Sermon –

Mark 11 - Nothing but Leaves - #1091 – this website – CY – 2019)

 

 

 

 

 

16 “And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the

temple.”  And he would not suffer that any man should carry a vessel through

the temple. It was a great temptation to make the temple, at least the great court

of the Gentiles, a thoroughfare. It was so extensive that a long and tedious circuit

would be avoided, in going from one part of the city to another, by passing through

it. To those, for example, who were passing from the sheep market, Bethesda, into

the upper part of the city, the shortest cut was through this court and by Solomon's

Porch. The distance would be greatly increased if they went round it. So the priests

permitted servants and laborers, laden with anything, to take this shorter way

through the great court of the temple. But our Lord hindered them, forbidding

them with the voice of one that had authority, and restraining them with His

hand, and compelling them to go back. He would have the whole of His Father's

House regarded as sacred. (Ezekiel 43:12)

 

The temple is the place set apart for the worship of God, in which He specially

gives ear to the prayers of His people, and in which He specially promises His spiritual presence.  Hence we learn what reverence is due to the houses of God;

 

 

                                    The Holy House (vs. 15-18)

 

It is significant that our Lord should have performed the authoritative and symbolical

act of cleansing the temple twice — at the commencement, (John 2:13-17) and here,

again at the close of His ministry, four days before His death.   We learn that no real

reformation had taken place in the religious habits of the chief priests and the people

who frequented the holy place; they continued to practice the abuses which had been

already so justly and so sternly rebuked.  And we learn also that Jesus, although hated

and despised by the rulers, had abated none of His claims to authority and jurisdiction!

 

(“This is the law of the  house; Upon the top of the mountain

the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy.  Behold

this is the law of the house.” – Ezekiel 43:12 – I should think that

the modern church should rethink their turning of vestibules into

                  markets – CY – 2010)

 

Turning the sacred precincts to purposes of gain was a heinous offense                              

against the majesty of the Lord of the temple. 

 

It was bad enough that in the Lord’s house there should be trading, it was far

worse that there should be rapacity (greed) and fraud.

 

 

                                               

 

 

 

                                                            Ch. 12

 

 

(v. 6)  "There is one, a beloved on. I will send him; they will, surely reverence him (ἐντραπήσονται τὸν υἰόν μου - entrapaesontai ton huion mouthey shall be respecting the son of me). They will reflect, and reflection will bring shame and submission and reverence." This was the last effort of Divine mercythe sending of the Incarnate God, whom the Jews put to death without the city. Mark's words seem rather to imply that they killed him within the vineyard, and cast out the dead body. But it is possible

that in his narrative he mentions the climax first - they killed him, and then returns to a detail of the dreadful tragedy; they cast him out of the vineyard, and there slew him (Matthew 21:39.)

 

(v. 9)  Here, then, we have a distinct prediction of the rejection of the Jews and the

call of the Gentiles.

 

(vs. 10-11) Foundations are not now laid as in olden times. Foundation stones

are now mere ornaments. There is no sense in which buildings now rest on them.

Memorial stones are taking the place of foundation stones. Probably the

figure of the “cornerstone” is taken from the corner of Mount Moriah,

which had to be built up from the valley, in order to make a square area for

the temple courts. Dean Plumptre says, “In the primary meaning of the

psalm, the illustration seems to have been drawn from one of the stones,

quarried, hewn, and marked, away from the site of the temple, which the

builders, ignorant of the head architect’s plans, had put on one side, as

having no place in the building, but which was found afterwards to be that

on which the completeness of the structure depended, that on which, as the

chief cornerstone, the two walls met, and were bonded together.”

 

 

13 “And they send unto Him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians,

to catch Him in His words.  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?  Matthew (Matthew 22:15) tells us

that "the Pharisees took counsel how they might ensnare Him (ὅπως αὐτὸν

παγιδεύσωσιν - hopos auton pagideusosin - so that Him they should be trapping)

in His talk;" namely, by proposing to Him captious and insidious questions, which,

in whatever way He might answer them, might expose Him to danger. On this

occasion they enlisted the Herodians to join them in their attack upon Him. These

Herodians were a sect of the Jews who supported the house of Herod, and were in

favor of giving tribute to the Roman Caesar. They were so called at first from

Herod the Great, who was a great supporter of Caesar. Tertullian, St. Jerome, and

others say that these Herodians thought that Herod was the promised Messiah,

because they saw that in him the scepter had departed from Judah (Genesis 49:10).

Herod encouraged these flatterers, and so put to death the infants at Bethlehem,

that he might thus get rid of Christ, lest any other than himself might be regarded

as Christ. They said at it was on this account that he rebuilt the temple with so

much magnificence. The Pharisees took, of course, altogether the other side,

and stood forward as the supporters of the Law of Moses and of their national

freedom. So, in order that they might ensnare Him, they sent to Him their disciples

with the Herodians, and in the most artful manner proposed to Him, apparently in

good faith, a question which answer it how He might, would, as they hoped, throw

Him upon the horns of a dilemma. If He said that tribute ought to be given to Caesar,

He would expose Himself to the malice of the Jewish people, who prided themselves

upon their freedom. If, on the other hand, He said that tribute ought not to be given to

Caesar, He would incur the wrath of Caesar and of the Roman power.

 

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 marveled at Him.” 

Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are

God's. It is as though our Lord said, "Since you Jews are now subject to Caesar -

and there is here this evidence of it, that his coin is current amongst you; you would

not use it were you not obliged, because all Gentile rites and symbols are an abhorrence

to you; - but since Caesar demands nothing of you but his tribute - the coin stamped

with his own image and name - it is your duty to render to him his own denarius for

tribute. But spiritual things, such as worship and obedience, give these to God; for

these He demands from you as His right, and by so doing you will offend neither

God nor yet Caesar." Fidelity to the demands of God and fidelity to the constituted powers of earth need not clash. The loyalty of the subject and the obedience of the

saint are on the same plane.  So a just distribution is made of things pertaining to

Caesar and of things pertaining to God, and yet the true unity of the service rendered

to both is declared; and, moreover, as God is above all, the duty includes the duty to Caesar.  When a conflict occurs between the allegiance due to the civil ruler and that

due to the supreme King, our Lord’s words warrant the preference of the Divine to the

human law. In times of persecution especially, the principle of our Lord’s words has

often guided the wavering and sustained the feeble. “Whether it be right to obey

God rather than man, judge ye!”  (Acts 4:19)   We may say that the modern

privilege of religious liberty has grown out of this incident in our Lord’s ministry,

these words from our Lord’s lips. And to the same source we may attribute the

growing tendency on the part of secular powers to withdraw from the province of

religion, and to allow free scope to the action of conscience and full liberty for the

profession and for the rites of religion. (At least, this is what our Founding Fathers

believed and from them came The United States Constitution of which British

Prime Minister Gladstone, of the time said, the Constitution was the most

wonderful work to ever come from the mind or pen of man.  Now, in the

last 50 years, those who espouse the non-constitutional phrase – Separation of

Church and State have basically attempted to neuter religion from the American scene –

we must remember that “There is a province into which no earthly authority

may intrude, and where the Creator reigns supreme and alone.” – CY –

2010)

 

Our Lord, in His infinite wisdom, avoids the question altogether

whether the Jews were rightly in subjection to the Romans. This was a doubtful

question. But there could be no doubt as to the fact that they were tributary. This

was made plain by the evidence of the current coin. Now, this being so, it was

manifestly the duty of the Jewish people to give to Caesar the tribute money which

he demanded of them for the expenses of government, and especially of supporting

an army to defend them from their enemies. And it was no less their duty to give their

tribute to God, which He in His own right demanded of them as His creatures and

faithful subjects. The rights of Caesar are one thing, and those of God are another;

and there is nothing that need clash between them. State polity is not opposed to

religion, nor religion to state. Tertullian says, "'Render to Caesar the things that

are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's;' that is, give to Caesar his image

stamped upon his coin, and give to God His own image stamped upon you; so that

while you render to Caesar the coin which is his due, you may render your own self

to God." This wonderful answer of our Lord teaches us that we ought to try to speak

so wisely, and so to moderate our speech amongst those who are captious (fault finding),

that we may, if possible, offend neither side, but steer safely between Scylla and

Charybdis.  And they marveled at Him. The true Greek reading of the verb here is not

ἐθαύμασαν - ethaumasan - they marvel, but ἐξεθαύμαζον - exethaumazon -, they

marveled greatly at Him; they stood marveling greatly at Him. They marveled at His

wisdom and skill in extricating Himself so readily out of this net in which they had

hoped to entangle Him. Indeed, the words of the psalmist (Psalm 9:15) were verified

in them: "The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands." He vaulted over the

trap set for Him, leaving them entangled in it. He lifted up the question far above the

petty controversy of the hour, and affirmed a great principle of natural and religious

obligation which belongs alike to ALL TIMES and PERSONS and PLACES.

 

 

 

24 "And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye

know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?'  These Sadducees erred in

two ways:

 

(1) They did not know or remember the Scriptures, such as Job 19:25-27, "I know that

my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And

though after my skin worms destroy this body, YET IN MY FLESH SHALL I SEE

GOD:  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another;

though my reins be consumed within me."   Or in Isaiah (Isaiah 26:19), "Thy dead

men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise;" or in Daniel (Daniel

12:2), "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to

everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." 

 

(2) They did not know the power of God, namely, that He can raise the bodies of the

dead again to life, even as at first He created them out of nothing; for a greater power

is required to make that to be which was not, than to make that again to be which

once was. But then the resurrection life will be a new life, spiritual, glorious, eternal,

like that of the angels. So in these words our Lord struck at the double root of the

error of the Sadducees:

 

a.      ignorance of the Scriptures, which plainly teach the resurrection; and

b.      ignorance of the power of God, which led them to interpret these Scriptures,

which speak of the resurrection, to mean only a mystical resurrection from

vice to virtue.

 

 

 

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."  But are as angels in

heaven - not "the angels;" the οἱ - hoi - the is omitted. The blessed, after the

resurrection, will be like angels:

 

Ø      as to purity,

Ø      as to a spiritual life,

Ø      as to immortality,

Ø      as to happiness and glory.

 

There will be no necessity for marriages in heaven. Here, on earth, the father dies,

but he lives on in his children after death. In heaven there is no death, but every

one will live and be blessed for ever; and therefore it is that Luke 20:36 adds here,

"Neither can they die any more." St. Augustine says, "Marriages are on account

of children; children on account of succession; succession on account of death.

But in heaven, as there is no death, neither is there any marriage."

 

 

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?"   Mark is here careful

to state that what Matthew describes as "the word spoken by God" was to be found

in the book of Moses (Exodus 3:5), in the place concerning the Bush (ἐπὶ τῆς βάτου -

epi taes batou on the thorn bush), as it is correctly rendered in the Revised Version.

Our Lord might have brought yet clearer proofs out of Job, Daniel, Ezekiel, etc.;

but in His wisdom He preferred to allege this out of Moses and the Pentateuch,

because, whatever the views of the Sadducees may have been as to other parts of

the Old Testament, these books of Moses they readily acknowledged. I am the

God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. The force of the

argument is this, that "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." Their

souls are still alive; and if these patriarchs are still alive, THERE WILL BE A

RESURRECTION!  (God "……hath appointed a day, in which He will judge

the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He

hath given ASSURANCE TO ALL MEN, in that HE HATH RAISED HIM

FROM THE DEAD!"  (Acts 17:31)  If men are to live for ever, they will, sooner

or later, live again in the completeness of their being, namely, of body and soul

and spirit. Our Lord would, therefore, say this: "In a few days you will put me to

death; but in three days I shall rise again from the dead. And after that, in due

time I shall raise them from the dead at the last day, and bring them in triumph

with me into heaven." The Sadducees and the Epicureans denied the resurrection,

because they denied the immortality of the soul; for these two doctrines hang

together. For if the soul is immortal, then, since it naturally depends upon the body,

it is necessary that the body should rise. Otherwise the soul would continue to exist

in a dislocated state, and would only obtain a divided life and an imperfect existence.

Hence our Lord here distinctly proves the resurrection of the body from the

immortality of the soul. When He speaks of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He does

not speak of their souls only, but of THEIR WHOLE BEING! Therefore, though

they are for a time dead to us, yet they live to God, and sleep, as it were, because

ere long God will raise them from death, as from a sleep, to a blessed and endless

life. For all, though they have passed out of our sight, still LIVE UNTO HIM!

(II Corinthians 5:15)

 

 

The first of all the

commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  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."    Matthew

(Matthew 22:34) says here that the Pharisees, when they heard that he had put the

Sadducees to silence, gathered themselves together, and that then one of them, who

was a lawyer (νομίνος - nominos - lawyer; one learned in the law), that is, "a scribe,"

asked Him this question, What commandment is the first of all? It appears here

from Mark that this scribe had been present at the discussion with the Sadducees,

and he had probably informed the others of what had taken place, and of the wisdom

and power of our Lord's answer; so he was naturally put forward to try our Lord with

another crucial question. It does not necessarily appear that he had an evil intention

in putting this question. He may, in his own mind (seeing the wisdom and skill of

our Lord), have desired to hear what Christ had to say to a very difficult question

on a matter deeply interesting to all true Hebrews. The question was one much

mooted amongst the Jews in the time of our Lord. "For many," says Bede, "thought

that the first commandment in the Law related to offerings and sacrifices, with

regard to which so much is said in Leviticus, and that the right worship of God

consisted in the due offering of these." On this account the Pharisees encouraged

children to say "Corban" to their parents; and hence this candid and truth-loving

scribe, when he heard our Lord's answer about the love of God and of our neighbor,

said that such obedience was worth "more than all whole burnt offerings and

sacrifices."  (v.33)  With regard to the love of God, St. Bernard says, "The measure

of our love to God is to love Him without measure; for THE IMMENSE GOODNESS

OF GOD deserves all the love that we can possibly give to Him."

 

31 “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

There is none other commandment greater than these."   Thou shalt love thy

neighbor as thyself. God is to be loved above everything - above all angels, or

men, or any created thing. But after God, amongst created things, our neighbor

is above all to be loved. And we are to extend to our neighbor that kind of love

with which we love ourselves. Our love of ourselves is not a frigid love, but a

sincere and ardent love. In like manner we should love our neighbor, and desire for

him all those good things both for the body and for the soul that we desire for

ourselves. This is what our Lord Himself teaches us. "All things whatsoever ye

would that men should do to you, even so do unto them." (Matthew  7:12)  There is

none other commandment greater than these. Matthew (Matthew 22:40) says, "On

these two commandments hang the whole Law and the prophets." There is no

commandment greater than these, because all the precepts of the Divine Law are

included in them. So that our Lord here teaches us that we ought continually to

have these two precepts in our minds and before our eyes, and direct all our

thoughts and words and actions by them, and regulate our whole life according

to them.

 

 

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:  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.”  This poor widow hath cast in more.

The right reading of the verb here is ἔβαλε - ebale - not βέβληκε -                                                                                                                                                                                                       beblaeke ; this aoristic rendering has very good authority - this poor widow cast in

more. Her act is completed, and has gone up for a memorial before God . She "gave"

more than all the others who are casting (τῶν βαλλόντων - ton ballonton), not

"have cast in (τῶν βαλόντων - ton balonton). She gave more, when she threw

in those two mites, than all the others were giving - more, that is, in the estimation

of Him who sees not as man sees. God does not weigh the gift so much as the mind

of the giver. That gift is really the greater in His sight, not which is actually of

greater value, but which is greater in respect of the giver. Therefore this poor widow,

when she gave her farthing, gave more than they all, because she gave all her living

all, that is, that she had beforehand for that day, trusting that the Lord would give

her her bread for that day. And so she carried off the palm for liberality, Christ

Himself being the Judge. St. Ambrose says, "That which God esteems is not that

which you proudly present, but what you offer with humility and devotion.

It has often been remarked that God has regard, not merely to what a man gives,

but to what he keeps!God has said “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,

that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the

Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you

out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”.  [Malachi 3:10] 

(Someone has said that what God shovels in, I shovel out and God has a bigger

shovel than I have! – CY – 2010) “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also

sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not

grudgingly, or of necessity, for  God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians

9:6-7) and a gift is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to

what he hath not.  (II Corinthians 8:12) they cast in of their abundance.”

What they gave was, therefore, a mere superfluity. Their

comforts were not decreased, their luxuries still abounded. The need — the absolute

poverty — of the widow rendered her gift a sacrifice, and a heroic act of faith. It was

prophetic of the Divine charities that were to be awakened in the breasts of

regenerate men, when His own great sacrifice should have borne its fruit.

(Thus America, under the influence of Christianity, has been very generous to the world –

CY – 2010) - The Macedonian Churches (and many a one since) gave not only to

their power, but beyond it, their deep poverty abounding to the riches of their

liberality (II Corinthians 8:1-2.  Our Savior commends the widow, and therefore we

are sure that she did very well and wisely”.  THIS WAS CHRIST’S LAST ACT

BEFORE QUITTING THE TEMPLE FOR EVER!