This concludes our brief journey through Mark 12:13-17. We hope that you have benefited from what we have shared. At this point each of you should be able to draw some conclusions about the text. These conclusions should now be able to shape your journey of faith.
Below are the major takeaways that our group came up with.
Final Observations And Conclusions
When reading through the entire book of Mark and the other gospel accounts, we find that the Pharisees confronted Jesus on several occasions. The method of operation was to confront Him publicly with a trick question in hopes that He would disparage His reputation with either the Jewish people or the Roman government. But Jesus always proved too crafty for such foolish deceptions. He always answered is such a way that reframed the question and directed His audience to greater spiritual truths.
The Pharisees and Herodians did not have much common ground. In spite of this, they managed to come together and find unity around ensnaring Jesus. Jesus was upsetting the balance of power for both of these groups and they preferred things stay the same. The easiest way to maintain the status quo was to eliminate Jesus from the equation.
The Pharisees were correct in their assessment that Jesus did not show partiality. This seems to be one of the reasons they plotted against Him. It was their partiality in society that they valued. They were treated differently because of their position as religious leaders. Jesus challenged their character and motives just as He would anyone else, even going so far as calling them hypocrites and vipers for the way they dishonored God’s truth.
The Pharisees were amazed that Jesus did not entangle Himself in their carefully constructed web of deceit. This would eventually lead to frustration and desperation, as they would abandon trying to trap Jesus in public and resort to seizing Him in secret.
No matter our motives, Jesus is always pointing us towards a right understanding of God and a right relationship with God.
The heart of what Jesus was communicating dealt with ownership. Whether we accept or reject Jesus, we are all created in the image of God, and God wants us to willing give ourselves to Him. First to be reconciled and then to live in obedience. To do so, expresses an attitude of love towards our Heavenly Father and it keeps us from the consequences of sin.
Thorough Bible Study Always Leads To More Questions
If we are thorough in the bible study process, our questions, answers, and observations will always lead us to more questions. We start by seeking to answer the question, what does it mean?; then we proceed to answer the question, what should I do about?
This is one of the questions our group came up with after our study and observations. This came up on the night of our final discussion.
Who would have most likely benefitted from this conversation?
The average person in the crowd. The Pharisees were obviously not interested in a conversation. They were only concerned with trapping Jesus. It did not matter what Jesus had to say, they were only listening to the extent that He would give them what they wanted. A controversial answer that could be used against Him.
We may find that we think we are engaged in the work of ministry or having a spiritual conversation with a particular person or group of people and find that the fruit of our labor blooms in someone who was nothing more than a bystander and witness to what was taking place.
Applying Scripture To Everyday Life
At this point we have to decide what this means to us individually or collectively as a church. How should we change based on what we have discovered? This is where your life becomes different because of what you learn from the Scriptures. Our group concluded that we should:
Give ourselves to God. This now becomes a subject of learning and constant pursuit. We must now explore further the question, how do we do this?
Beware that we do not become like the Pharisees. We need a constant evaluation of our own heart and soul and we need to give others permission to speak into our lives if they see something that is drifting out of bounds. This again leads to more questions: How do I evaluate my own soul?; Who should have permission to speak into my life?; How can I create time and places to have these kinds of conversations with others?; etc.
The Ongoing Process Of Learning And Growing
As we stated when this discussion began, each person should have a daily reading plan. A time each day where they read selected passages of Scripture to help them read through the bible as a whole. This time of reading is less intense than some of the exercises we just walked through, but this habit will now pay great dividends in our learning process.
Hopefully by now, you have invested in a journal or notebook. In your journal you can now right these four questions:
How do I give myself to God?
How do I evaluate my own soul?
Who should have permission to speak into my life?
How can I create time and places to have conversations about my spiritual well being?
I would suggest writing each of these questions at the top of separate pages in your journal. Now, over the next several weeks or months, as you have your daily reading time, you can begin to answer these questions. Any time you find a portion of Scripture that is relevant to any of these questions, make note of it on the proper page.
This information will sometimes give you actionable steps to take, at other times it will give you more to study, but at all times, it will challenge your thinking and behavior.
We would love to know your conclusions. Leave a comment below or contact us by email.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”