Jesus Poster BulletinWe all like a bit of courtroom drama. In Mark 12 we have some of that. Jesus is acting like a fierce prosecutor, totally in charge, delivering his case with precision and poise. At times, he also acts like the judge, scolding the religious leaders for their ignorance. This was Jesus’ moment to shine and He didn’t shy away from it.

With every statement Jesus presented a view that was in sharp contrast to the one espoused by the religious leaders and experts of the law.

Knowing that they were about to kill Him, Jesus warns them that they are going to be making the biggest mistake of their lives (12:1-12). The “stone” they are about to discard will become the “chief cornerstone” of the building. That would be like punching someone from behind before he turns around and you realize it’s Mohammed Ali. Lights out.

That very “stone” that was going to be rejected by them would also crush them, a reference to the future destruction of Jerusalem. The warning is still good for us today: Be careful with how you relate to Jesus. Jesus is not just your traveling buddy on this journey of life. He is the one in the driver’s seat and He is the one who maps out the route.

On the issue about our duties to the government (12:13-17), Jesus brought two arch-enemies together, namely, the Pharisees, who hated the Romans, and the Herodians, who were in bed with them. Later, during His trial, Jesus would bring two other arch-enemies together — Pilate and Herod. On this issue, I think Jesus is saying that Caesar obligates you to give your coin while God woos you to give your all. What is Caesar’s is your tax; what is God’s is your max. God is never satisfied with mere crumbs. He desires all of you, all the time.

Jesus is just warming up. He continues on the attack, refuting the Saducees’ view of the resurrection, accusing them of ignorance of Scriptures. He is so persuasive that it comes to a point, after his exchange with a lawyer (12:28-34), that no one wants to mess with Him anymore. Check mate: “… And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.” (12:34).

So Jesus has a brilliant idea: How about I ask some questions for a change? And He asks a question that goes right to the issue of His identity as God (12:35-40). Needless to say, it gets really ugly for His would-be questioners. You almost feel bad for them. In fact one could even say that Jesus played to the crowd a little. The laughter and cheers erupted when He painted a sarcastic picture of the teachers of the law, walking around like they were in a carnival, sitting at banquets like buffoons, praying like speech writers, and robbing the innocent like scoundrels disguised in religious robes.

Jesus’ line of argument from the beginning, including the closing story of the widow who gave everything she had at the temple, makes one single point: Things are not as they appear. Just like in the case of the “stone” that was rejected, giving money to Caesar or being married at the resurrection, God’s perspective is often radically different from ours. Make sure you get His side of the story and forget about what man’s is.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA