Mark 12 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Mark 12)

Verse 10

[10] And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:

Psalms 118:22.

Verse 12

[12] And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.

They feared the multitude — How wonderful is the providence of God, using all things for the good of his children! Generally the multitude is restrained from tearing them in pieces only by the fear of their rulers. And here the rulers themselves are restrained, through fear of the multitude!

Verse 13

[13] And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.

Matthew 22:15; Luke 20:20.

Verse 17

[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 marvelled at him.

They marvelled at him — At the wisdom of his answer.

Verse 18

[18] Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,

Matthew 21:23; Luke 20:27.

Verse 19

[19] Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.

Deuteronomy 25:5.

Verse 25

[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.

When they rise from the dead, neither men marry nor women are given in marriage.

Verse 26

[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?

Exodus 3:6.

Verse 27

[27] He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living — That is, (if the argument be proposed at length,) since the character of his being the God of any persons, plainly intimates a relation to them, not as dead, but as living; and since he cannot be said to be at present their God at all, if they are utterly dead; nor to be the God of human persons, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, consisting of souls and bodies, if their bodies were to abide in everlasting death; there must needs be a future state of blessedness, and a resurrection of the body to share with the soul in it.

Verse 28

[28] And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

Which is the first commandment? — The principal, and most necessary to be observed. Matthew 22:34; Luke 10:25.

Verse 29

[29] And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

The Lord our God is one Lord — This is the foundation of the first commandment, yea, of all the commandments. The Lord our God, the Lord, the God of all men, is one God, essentially, though three persons. From this unity of God it follows, that we owe all our love to him alone. Deuteronomy 6:4.

Verse 30

[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.

With all thy strength — That is, the whole strength and capacity of thy understanding, will, and affections.

Verse 31

[31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

The second is like unto it — Of a like comprehensive nature: comprising our whole duty to man. There is no other moral, much less ceremonial commandment, greater than these. Leviticus 19:18.

Verse 33

[33] And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

To love him with all the heart — To love and serve him, with all the united powers of the soul in their utmost vigour; and to love his neighbour as himself - To maintain the same equitable and charitable temper and behaviour toward all men, as we, in like circumstances, would wish for from them toward ourselves, is a more necessary and important duty, than the offering the most noble and costly sacrifices.

Verse 34

[34] And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

Jesus said to him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God — Reader, art not thou? then go on: be a real Christian: else it had been better for thee to have been afar off.

Verse 35

[35] And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?

Matthew 22:41; Luke 20:41.

Verse 36

[36] For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Psalms 110:1.

Verse 38

[38] And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,

Beware of the scribes — There was an absolute necessity for these repeated cautions. For, considering their inveterate prejudices against Christ, it could never be supposed the common people would receive the Gospel till these incorrigible blasphemers of it were brought to just disgrace. Yet he delayed speaking in this manner till a little before his passion, as knowing what effect it would quickly produce. Nor is this any precedent for us: we are not invested with the same authority. Matthew 23:5; Luke 20:46.

Verse 41

[41] And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

He beheld how people cast money into the treasury — This treasury received the voluntary contributions of the worshippers who came up to the feast; which were given to buy wood for the altar, and other necessaries not provided for in any other way. Luke 21:1.

Verse 43

[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:

I say to you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all — See what judgement is cast on the most specious, outward actions by the Judge of all! And how acceptable to him is the smallest, which springs from self-denying love!