James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
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.Mark 12:1-13:37
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
The contents of chapter 12 are constituted of:
· The Parable of the Householder (Mark 12:1-12); · The Question of Tribute (Mark 12:13-17); · The Question about the Resurrection (Mark 12:18-27); · The Question about the First Commandment (Mark 12:28-34); · The Question about the Son of David (Mark 12:35-40); and· The Incident of the Widow’s Mite.
Chapter 13 is the discourse of Christ about His second coming delivered to the disciples on the Mount of Olives, in response to questions.
It will be recalled from our study of Matthew that the parable of the householder found in that Gospel (Matthew 21:33-46), was one of the three in which Christ formally rejected His nation, after the latter, by its rulers had definitely rejected Him. It will be seen by comparison that Mark, as is His wont, passes on with celerity, omitting those features of the story which were not necessary for his purpose as in the other Gospel.
With the question of tribute begins that series of special temptations of Jesus devised by His enemies toward the last to entrap Him in His speech. The Pharisees and Herodians come first (Matthew 22:15-22). The Sadducees next (Matthew 22:23-33). The scribe, representing the lawyers next (Matthew 22:34-40), and finally Christ silences them all by His question concerning Himself (Matthew 22:41-46). We have included in this last section the few verses in which Mark refers to the discourse against the scribes and Pharisees, which in Matthew occupies the whole of chapter 23 (the “Woes”). And yet brief as Mark is, his abridgment contains “the chief characteristics of the corrupt leaders of the nation,” which are religious vanity, hypocrisy and greed.
The incident of the widow’s mite is not found in Matthew, but is in Luke (Luke 21:1-4). How appropriately it follows Christ’s denunciation of the Pharisees who “devour widow’s houses” (Mark 12:40). Note the detailed description here. Where had Jesus located Himself? What was Jesus doing? Whom and what did He see? What is the value of “two mites”? What does Jesus now do? What does He say? What is the estimate of, or enconium on, the widow? Which gave the more, she, or the rich, and why?
In the occasion for the Olivet discourse, what interesting fact is given by Mark not mentioned by Matthew (13:3)? Mark’s report is the briefest, Matthew’s the longest. Omitted in Mark are the parables, which have special reference to the Christian profession (Matthew 25) and the judgment of living nations (Matthew 25:31-46). These belong in Matthew, but would be out of keeping with the purpose of Mark. The service of our Lord, as we have seen, is in the foreground. The three characteristic discourses in Matthew nowhere else reported in full are: (1) The Sermon on the Mount, which is the proclamation of the King; (2) The parable discourse in Matthew 13, the mysteries of the Kingdom; and (3) The Olivet discourse, Matthew 24-25, the future of the Kingdom. But why should there be anything at all in the Gospel of Mark about the future things, such as the end of the age, and His return in glory, if only the Servant is described? It will be seen that the predictions are in part at least in view of their service. He forewarned them as His servants of what was to come after His departure.
1. Name the leading incidents of this lesson.
2. To what group of parables does that of the householder belong?
3. To what series of questions does that of the tribute belong?
4. What chapter of Matthew contains the woes against the Scribes and Pharisees?
5. What does Mark omit from the Olivet discourse?