Mark 11:20 – 14:2
After they passed by the withered fig tree, Jesus and his disciples went back to the temple where the religious leaders questioned Jesus’ right to cleanse the temple, as he had done the day before. Jesus replies that he will answer their question if they can tell him who gave John the right to baptize people. But they are too wishy-washy to give any answer but “We don’t know.”
Jesus tells a parable about a farmer who built and planted a vineyard and then leased it to others to maintain and harvest. But the renters did not what to pay the owner his share. They mistreated servants he sent to collect and then even killed the owner’s son thinking they would get the land. The religious leaders knew that this parable was about them but they were afraid to act against Jesus.
“The Pharisees got together with Herod’s followers. Then they sent some men to trick Jesus into saying something wrong.” They asked Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus answered, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God.”
“The Sadducees did not believe that people would rise to life after death. So some of them came to Jesus . . .” and proposed a situation that they thought would prove how ridiculous the idea of life after death is. But Jesus answered, “You know that in the story about Moses and the burning bush, God said, ‘I am the God worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ God isn’t the God of the dead, but of the living.”
One of the teachers of the Law of Moses asked Jesus, “What is the most important commandment?” Jesus answered, “The most important one says: ‘People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God. You must love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” The second most important commandment says: ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is more important than these.”
Jesus and his disciples watched a poor widow give two coins as an offering at the temple. Then Jesus said, “I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. Everyone else gave what they didn’t need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had. Now she doesn’t have a cent to live on.” Many people think this little story is about money and giving to your church. But I think this is a story that foreshadows what Jesus is going to do. Jesus is going to give everything he has for you and me. And he will die.
Then as they are leaving the temple Jesus remarks that the buildings they admired will not be standing for very long. Later, on the Mount of Olives, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Jesus, “When will these things happen?” Jesus tells them to “watch out” and “be on your guard.” He tells them some of the signs of his return but then he says, “No one knows the day or the time. The angels in heaven don’t know, and the Son himself doesn’t know. Only the Father knows. So watch out and be ready!”
As Tuesday comes to an end the religious leaders are planning how to have Jesus arrested without causing the people to riot.
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Rev Pat Bell, Pastor
First United Methodist Church Sealy
200 Atchison Street
Sealy, Texas 77474