After Jesus had wisely defended
Himself, He turned the offensive against His attackers. He used the word of God
to reveal their hypocrisy.
“And to love Him with all the heart, with all
the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love
one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and
Did You Know…?
Jewish rabbis had counted 613 individual
statutes in the law and attempted to differentiate between “great” and “little”
Burnt offerings (12:33): Performed by the
priests for the atonement of sins (Lev 16:24). The procedure is described in Ex
“Long robes” (12:38): The scribes wore long,
white linen robes that were fringed and almost reached to the ground.
“Best seats” (12:39): Seats reserved for
dignitaries, in front of the chest containing the sacred scrolls, facing the
congregation in the synagogue.
The scribes asked for donations for their
livelihood because they were not paid a regular salary. Such a system was open
to abuses, of which widows were especially vulnerable.
Treasury (12:41): In the temple, there were 13
horn-shaped receptacles for receiving freewill offerings.
Widow (12:42): In biblical times, widows (along
with orphans) were the most helpless members of society. Because they did not
have the means to sustain their lives, God commanded the people to take special
care of them (cf. Ex 22:22-24; Deut 24:19-21; Acts 20:35).
Mites/copper coins (12:42): “Two lepta” in the
original Greek. One lepton (singular), which was 1/128 of a denarius (cf.
Lesson 19, Did You Know 10), was the smallest currency value. For his Roman
readers, Mark stated the value in terms of Roman coinage (kodrantes/quadrans),
which has been translated into different English words (“farthing,” “cent,”
“fraction of a penny,” etc).
was Jesus so harsh on the scribes, the elders, the chief priests, the
you hear or read a biblical teaching that seems harsh, how should you react?
1. How was this scribe different
from the others who challenged Jesus with questions?
2. How does the fact that the
Lord is one (29) relate to loving the Lord (30)?
3. Give an example of loving the
3a. with all your heart
3b. with all your
3c. with all your soul
3d. with all your strength
4. Who is your neighbor? Give an
example of loving your neighbor as yourself.
5a. What was the purpose of burnt
offerings and sacrifices? Today, how do we live out the spirit of burnt
5b. How are the commandments of
loving God and your neighbor more important than burnt offerings and
6. What does it mean to be “not
far from the kingdom of God” (34)?
7. Jesus quoted two commandments
from the Old Testament (Deut 6:4-5; Lev 19:18) as the most important. Give
examples of other Old Testament teachings that are still applicable today.
8. Why did no one dare to ask
Jesus any more questions (34)?
9. Was Jesus disagreeing with the
scribes’ teaching that the Christ was the Son of David? What was He trying to
10a. How have the scribes
disobeyed the most important commandments (cf. 12:29-31)?
10b. How do we avoid becoming
like the scribes?
10c. In church, how should we
associate with those who act like the scribes?
11a. Why did Jesus watch the
crowd putting money into the temple treasury?
11b. Give an example of a
real-life observation that taught you something about your faith.
11c. Today, Jesus also watches
everything we do. How does this knowledge affect your actions?
12. How did the widow obey the
greatest commandments (cf. 12:29-31)?
13. What is the biblical attitude
we should have toward the rich and the poor?
14a. What is the smallest amount
you’ve ever offered? The largest? How were those amounts appropriate to your
14b. What does your offering say
about your faith?
15. When you do not feel like
praying or reading the Bible, how much effort do you put in to try? How does it
compare to the widow’s offering?