by Dr. Samuel Lee   08/19/1994     0 reads


Mark 12:35-44

Key Verse: 12:44


1. Read verse 35. What did the teachers of the law mean by saying that the Christ is the son of David? (Isa 11:1) Were they waiting for the Messiah? (See Jn 1:11)

2. See Lk 2:26-32. What does Simeon's testimony tell us about who Jesus is? How was he different from the teachers of the law?

3. Read verses 36-37. In Psalm 110:1 (which Jesus quotes), who does David call "Lord"? What promise does the Lord God give the Messiah? What did David believe about the Messiah (Christ)?

4. Read verses 38-41. What was the inner life of the teachers of the law like? How did Jesus warn them?

5. Why couldn't the teachers of the law accept a spiritual Messiah? Why didn't they believe what they taught to others? How did Jesus try to help them?


6. Read verse 41. Where did Jesus sit and what did he and his disciples watch? What were the rich people doing? Why might the disciples have been swayed and per­haps, tempted?

7. Read verse 42. Who did Jesus take note of? How did her offering contrast with that of the rich people? What did the disciples probably think about her?

8. Read verses 43-44. What did Jesus teach his disciples about giving? Why did he say that the widow put in more than the rich people? What does this show about Jesus' value system?

9. What kind of offering does God want? What can be your heart-offering to God?




Mark 12:35-44

Key Verse: 12:44

"They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."

The world was hard and the Pharisees were in the midst of a pow­er struggle and the Sadducees were nothing but flesh. When man be­comes flesh God is not pleased. For example, at the time of Noah, men aban­doned God and they only enjoyed their sinful physical pleasure (Ge 6:3). They complete­ly denied that they are both body and soul. Then God de­stroyed them all by the Flood, except grandfather Noah and his family members. The time of Sodom and Gomorrah was the same. At the time of Sodom and Gomor­rah, people also became flesh, party animal men. God burned down the twin cities with fire and brimstone (Ge 19:24). When the people of the Roman Empire became flesh like brutal animals in a jungle, and only enjoyed a corrupted life of evil-doing, God de­stroyed them until there was no trace of the Roman Empire. God is not pleased when man becomes flesh and lives like an animal, suppress­ing the truth that man is both body and soul. At the time of Jesus, the Pharisees and Sadducees were hypocrites. In reali­ty they were nothing but party animal men. They were wicked and evil. De­spite them, Jesus taught the basic truth of God to them. But in the last passage there was a young teacher of the law who did not agree with the sayings of the Pharisees and Sadducees while they debated with Jesus. The young teacher agreed with Jesus' words, for the words of Jesus were none other than the words of God. Jesus was greatly comforted by the young teacher of the law. Still, Jesus had a great shepherd heart for the Phari­sees and Saddu­cees. So in this passage Je­sus tells them how to un­derstand spiritual reali­ties and how they can please God most.

I.  Jesus is the Son of David (35-40)

While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts he asked, "How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the Son of David?" (35) In fact, Jesus questioned why the Pharisees did not call Jesus Christ the great-great-grandson of David after many generations instead of calling him the Christ. In this verse Jesus points to the blind spot of the Phari­sees and Sad­du­cees. They were traditionally religious people. Especially they were peo­ple who were waiting for the coming of the Messiah to save their people from sufferings. We rarely see people like the young teacher who believe in the Bible genuinely. For example, when we study Luke's Gos­pel there was a very old man called Si­meon. He was looking for the com­ing of the Messi­ah. In his con­stant prayer he was convinced by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the baby Messiah. Finally, he enjoyed em­bracing the baby Jesus in his arms when Jesus came to the temple for the presentation to God (Lk 2:28). Simeon prais­ed God, saying, "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have pre­pared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gen­tiles and for glory to your people Isra­el" (Lk 2:29-32). Simeon was an old man. The baby Jesus was a month-old infant. But Simeon had spiritu­al eyes to see that the infant boy was the Christ. "The Christ" meant he is God's anointed King, prom­ised to come to save men from their sins. It looked ridiculous for old man Sim­eon to bow down and wor­ship a baby. But Simeon could worship him and he was also happy to die be­cause he had seen the Christ. In short, Simeon was a spiritual man of God.

But the Pharisees and Sadducees were tightly earth­bound. They were indifferent to spiritual reali­ties, especially to the prom­ise of God to send a Messi­ah from the root of Jesse (Isa 11:1). Ironically, as much as they hated Roman rule, they were waiting for the Messiah to come to liberate them from bondage. They were a kind of waiting people. But in reality, they were not waiting for the coming of the Messi­ah. When God's time came, God sent his one and only Son into this world as the Savior of the world. But they saw Jesus with material eyes and utter­ly de­spaired how the baby in a manger could be a Savior of the world. To their as­sump­tion, this baby Jesus in the manger of a stable could not defeat even one Roman soldier. So they rejected him. John 1:11 says, "He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." God sent the prom­ised Messiah to save them from their sins. But they rejected him and de­spised him because they had no God in their hearts. They were different from Simeon. Simeon could see the baby Jesus in rags as the Savior of the world. The religious leaders had to grasp spiritual realities. They had to open their spiritual eyes to see man both physically and spiritual­ly.

In order to help open their spiritual eyes, Jesus asked a question in verse 35b. "How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David?" In this question Jesus points out the blind contradic­tion of the Phari­sees. They taught that Christ would come from one of David's descendants. Their teaching had been continued over 1,000 years and they were sincere about the coming of the Messiah. But there was a problem. They taught habitu­ally. They did not believe in their hearts the core of the Bible teaching that Jesus would come as was promised. An­other problem was that when Jesus came, they saw Jesus with mate­rial eyes and rejected him.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees did not believe that Jesus, who came as the son of a carpenter, is the Savior of the world. On the other hand, King David believed that the Messiah would come from among one of his descen­dants. David believed this in his heart and also worshiped the promised Mes­siah who was to come in his heart, instead of thinking that "he is one of my great-great-grandsons after many generations." Look at verse 36. "David him­self, speaking by the Holy Spirit, de­clared: 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."'" David was a king. There was no one above him except God. But he be­lieved the word of God concern­ing the coming Messiah and worshiped him. And David called him "Lord," which means that the com­ing Messiah is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. David did not com­pare his king­ship with that of the coming Messiah. Jesus asked the Phari­sees again, "David himself calls him 'Lord.' How then can he be his son?" (37) In this verse, Jesus understood their logic. David was one of the ancestors and Jesus is one of his descendants born 1,000 years after Da­vid. But David called him Christ the Lord, the coming Messiah and Savior of the world. Jesus' ques­tion was very simple. But we can see Jesus' broken heart toward the Phari­sees. What they were doing was hoping for the coming of the Mes­siah. What they knew was that the Savior of the world would come to save his people from their sins. But they abandoned God and did not believe in the coming of the Messiah. Jesus really want­ed them to believe first what they taught to others in the synagogue.

When we become material men there is a great danger that we become party animal men. When we become material men there is a great danger that we become merciless politicians. When we become material men there is a great danger that our hearts become calloused toward spiritual reality, as a leper does not feel pain, though his whole body is rotting moment by moment.

II.  She put in everything she had (41-44)

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he looked around at the temple and the next day he cleared the temple before the eyes of religious lead­ers who had political authority and power (11:15). His disciples were stunned at the author­ity and power of Jesus. As we have studied, Peter was in deep human agony over how he could have such authority and power like Jesus. This time his disciples were even more startled. Why? Because they saw something with their eyes. Obviously, Jesus and his disciples came out of the temple and they were sitting opposite the temple (41). The picture of the temple was in their sight. One of his disciples said to him, "Look, teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!" (13:1) Jesus' disciples were mostly rural people. One of them saw the temple building. The pillars of the buildings were so mag­nificent and spectacular. He wanted to run to one of the pillars and kiss it. More than that, he wanted to be one of the priests in the temple. At the same time, he was very reluctant to be one of Jesus' twelve disciples. Temple work­ers wore gor­geous robes like royal subjects in the ancient palace. Jesus' disciples were wearing blue jeans which had more than 30 patch­es. We can under­stand the young disciples' vanity and desire to be gorgeous. But from Jesus' point of view they had no spiritual insight. The temple build­ings were all desecrated and burned down in 70 A.D. by General Titus of Rome. Jesus' disciples did not know that the things of the world perish, spoil and fade away in the matter of time. They did not know the kingdom of God, which is forever, and where there are no tears (Rev 21:4).

Another shocking sight to the disciples was the bundles of mon­ey. There was an offering box in the temple. Rich people stood proud­ly and pulled bun­dles of money out of their robes and slowly put them in the offering box. When Jesus' disciples saw the bundles of money they felt crazy. They had never touched such huge amounts of money with their hands. But the rich people were putting big bundles of money into the offering box as if they were giving potato chips to a child. The disciples must have been swayed by the money because they suf­fered enough from poverty. It is natu­ral as young people that they liked bundles of money.

Jesus understood his disciples very well and he did not rebuke them, saying, "Why do you love money so much?" Instead, he told them a very short story. Look at verses 43-44. "Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.'" In this short story we learn the heart of Jesus. We learn the value system of Jesus. We learn that heart is more important than bundles of money.

As we know well, widows are sorrowful and helpless. There is the story about Ruth's family. Naomi was the mother-in-law. She had two sons, Kilion and Mahlon. Because of famine they immigrated to Moab. They married there, Kilion to Orpah and Mahlon to Ruth. But soon Kilion and Mahlon died. And three widows were left in a foreign country, Moab. Naomi cried endlessly and finally told her two daughters-in-law to leave her and remarry. The first daughter-in-law cried for a while and kissed Naomi and went her way. But Ruth did not want to leave her mother-in-law and said, "Your people will be my peo­ple and your God my God. Where you die I will die...if anything but death sepa­rates you and me" (Ru 1:16-17). The story of Ruth is so beautiful. But we can­not say that it is a happy story. James 1:27b says, "...to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." When we read the Bible, there are many stories about widows. God wants us to care for them. It is because the widows lost their husbands, whom they loved so dearly. They have no security. In the ancient time, the wage for a woman was very low. But widows are great when they have faith in God. After World War II, there were 100,000 wid­ows in Korea because they lost their husbands during the ideological war. But 97% of them did not remarry. They raised their chil­dren with all their hearts. Most of their children are now professors in many coun­tries and key members of the Korean government.

On the other hand, there are worldly widows. As soon as their husbands die, they become helpless and depend on money. There is one widow whose husband died young. Her husband was a self-made man. After passing the government exam he became a judge. Once he was a chief judge. But he did not know Jesus. He loved money more than any­thing else. He accumulated great wealth in the earth. But he died young. His wife took over his wealth and established a sort of company and became a woman president. Her grandson was accepted to Harvard Uni­versi­ty. So her grandson's pastor asked her to give him a scholar­ship. She refused with one word, "no." We cannot quickly judge her selfish­ness. We must understand that a widow must depend on money as her securi­ty.

Here we must think about Jesus' value system. Jesus said that the rich gave out of their wealth. But the widow put in everything--all she had to live on (44). Here we learn that the rich people put money in the offer­ing box proudly. But the widow put her heart in the offering box. What God wants is not abun­dant sacrifice but a broken heart.

We have to think about the widow's heart-offering. The widow's heart-offering can be our repentance to God. Once, David sinned against God greatl­y. But he came to God and asked his forgiveness of sins as he felt all his bones were melted. He said in Psalm 51:19b, "then bulls will be offered on your altar." Again in verse 17a he said, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart..." God accepted David's broken heart and continued to keep him as the king of his people. The widow's heart-offering can be our faithfulness. There was a beautiful girl student. She studied medicine and became a medical doc­tor. Medical studies are not easy. But she never missed one testimony writing or one-to-one Bible study with Missionary Rebec­ca Choi. As a result, God bless­ed her and gave her a prince-like husband. She is still faithful to pray that her husband would be a great servant of God. With­out heart nobody can be faithful.

The widow's heart-offering can be one-to-one Bible study. Whenev­er the people of the world seek physical pleasure only, God does not leave them alone. God judged people in the time of Noah. God judged the peo­ple of Sodom and Gomorrah. God judged the people of Rome. The USA is in a situa­tion that her people must apologize to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah for their perversion. So nobody wants to meet God through one-to-one Bible stud­y. It is not easy to carry out one-to-one Bible study. But we must give our hearts to one-to-one Bible study to please God.

In this passage we learn that we must know what we are doing through spiritual understanding. We must also give our hearts to God. May God grant all American young people the heart of Christ.