This is an action packed week in the life of the Lord Jesus. He had so many important conversations, shared so many powerful stories. We’re going to begin with a story that He shared, that’s a powerful foreshadowing of the cross. And then we’ll listen in; we’ll have a front seat as we hear Jesus interacting with the religious leaders and someone who is hungry to know God. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me, Christ died for our sins. Just as the scripture said. He was buried and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the scripture said. Welcome to Holy Week on the Bible for busy people.
Those were the words of the Apostle Paul. He wrote them to the believers in the church in Corinth, and he wrote them for you and for me. Seems like in those words, you find all the hope in the world. Okay, so this is an action packed week in the life of the Lord Jesus. He had so many important conversations, shared so many powerful stories. We’re going to begin with a story that he shared, that’s a powerful foreshadowing of the cross. And then we’ll listen in, we’ll have a front seat as we hear Jesus interacting with the religious leaders and someone who is hungry to know God. Are you ready? Let’s dive in. Mark chapter 12 beginning in verse one.
Then Jesus began teaching them with stories. A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop, but the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him and sent him back empty-handed. The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed until there was only one left. His son, whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him thinking, surely they will respect my son, but the tenant farmer said to one another, here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves. So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do? Jesus asked, I’ll tell you, he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. Didn’t you ever read this in the scriptures? The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them. They were the wicked farmers, but they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.
Remember last time we talked about how the people listening to Jesus were hanging on his every word. People loved him, and the religious leaders were jealous of that, and as we just read, terribly afraid of it. I want to go back to Jesus referencing himself as the cornerstone in this story. In ancient times, and maybe still today, I don’t know much about construction, but I do know that builders would lay the cornerstone first, and all of the other work happened around it, and it became the foundation for the building. That’s why Jesus is the cornerstone, the foundation of our lives, and everything else flows from him, and the work he’s doing in us and through us. I think that’s beautiful. Okay, let’s move on to the next powerful interaction. Jesus is going to have verse 18 now.
Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees – religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question, Teacher Moses gave us a law that if a man dies leaving a wife without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name. Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children, so the second brother married the widow, but he also died without children. Then the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them, and still there were no children. Last of all, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection for all seven were married to her. Jesus replied, your mistake is that you don’t know the scriptures and you don’t know the power of God for when the dead rise…
Can we just pause there and go? This is awesome. The dead rise. I mean, that’s really good news. All right, back to Jesus now.
…for when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect, they will be like the angels in heaven. But now as to whether the dead will be raised, haven’t you ever read about this in the writings of Moses, in the story of the burning bush? Long after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had died, God said to Moses, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. So he is the God of the living, not the dead. You have made a serious error.
Jesus, again, foreshadowing good Friday in the cross and the fact that he’s going to rise again Easter Sunday. He’s the God of the living, not the dead. All right, let’s move on to one final conversation today. This is really beautiful. Somebody hungry to know God more. We meet him in verse 28.
One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate.
The one you and I just read about the resurrection of the dead.
He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked of all the commandments, which is the most important? Jesus replied, the most important commitment is this. Listen, oh, Israel, the Lord, our God is the one and only Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important. Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these. The teacher of religious law replied, Well said, teacher, you have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other, and I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law. Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God, and after that, no one dared to ask him anymore questions.
I want to leave you with this thought today because I’m such a fan of how this student answered and said, well said teacher, like He understood that Jesus answered well, and the Lord still answers well. If you have a question for him, if there’s a problem on your heart of prayer requests, remember that today. He’s still answering well. Until next time, you are loved.
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