Last Days in the Temple
Introduction: Last week we studied how Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Messiah and King. This week we see the Jewish leadership striking back, not with brute force, but with questions designed to get Jesus in trouble with the Roman authorities or with the people. How will Jesus react? Our study this week shows that Jesus is still working for the salvation of those who have declared war on Him. Let's dive in and learn more!
- Whose Authority?
- Read Mark 11:27-28. Since we skipped over this account last week, let's read Mark 11:15-17. Who would you think would be in day-to-day charge of what happened in the temple? ( Mark 11:27 - "the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders" - the very people who came to ask the question.)
- Why do you think they wanted to know? (They probably considered it offensive that Jesus was usurping their authority. Jesus obviously did not like the way they were doing their job.)
- As you look at Mark 11:17, what authority was Jesus claiming? (He relied on the Bible ( Isaiah 56:7) as His authority.)
- How about you? Is the Bible your final authority - despite what humans may say or do to the contrary?
- Read Mark 11:29-32. We have a report of what was going on in the "huddle" of the Jewish leaders. What do you think about this discussion?
- What was the basis for their answer? (Fear. They rejected John, so they must have decided that his authority came from men.)
- Are any of your religious beliefs based on the fear of others?
- Read Mark 11:33. The Jewish leaders are always trying to trick Jesus with their questions. Now is payback time - He gives them a trick question - or did He? (No. This is not a trick question. Jesus acts on the same authority as John. He is reminding them that they rejected John, and now they are rejecting Him.)
- Rejecting the Son
- Let's continue with a parable on rejection. Read Mark 12:1-8. Who and what is symbolized in this parable? (Jesus is the son. God is the vineyard owner. God's chosen people are the tenants. The servants who were sent are the prophets. The wall is God's historic protection for His people. The watchtower is the temple. The winepress the Scriptures. The grapes are potential converts.)
- Let's go deeper in the parable. What is the sin of the tenants? (They do not respect authority, and therefore are rebellious. They are selfish to the point of being willing to beat and murder to keep the property.)
- Do the Jewish leaders understand this parable? (Yes. Read Mark 12:12.)
- Read Mark 12:9. What are the penalties for these sins? (They will be killed and others given the opportunity to be tenants and do the appointed work.)
- Are you comfortable with this picture of God?
- Is this an accurate picture of God? (Jesus said it. The evildoers understood it. It came to pass in a terrible way with the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. Yet, some Christians today are unable to understand that our God will execute judgment on those who are His enemies. Friend, salvation and obedience are serious stuff.)
- Who is tending the vineyard today? (Us.)
- How well are you performing the task?
- Read Mark 12:18-23. This account starts out with the statement that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. Why, if they did not believe, did they ask this question? (They wanted to make fun of Jesus and His belief in the resurrection.)
- Deuteronomy 25:5-6. What is the reason for this rule? (Notice that the first son is to carry the name of the dead brother. This is to prevent extinction of the family line and to create a male heir.)
- Read Mark 12:24-25. What will not be happening in heaven? (According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, when Jesus says we will not marry, He means we will not arrange our own marriage. When He says we will not be given in marriage, He means our parents will not arrange our marriage.)
- This does not speak to those who are already married. What happens to them? Do they remain married? (The Mosaic rule was needed because of death and the need for marriage to continue the race. Since in heaven death is ended, marriage is not necessary. However, whether specific marriages are permitted to resume is not clear. Mark 10:8-9 gives hope to those who want to continue to be married in heaven. God may have in mind a more glorious order of things.)
- We do not want to miss the glorious statement in Mark 12:25. What is Jesus saying to those who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead? (That it will take place!)
- What does Jesus also suggest about the nature of those who are resurrected? (That they are dead before the resurrection.)
- Read Mark 12:26-27. Jesus now turns to the major issue, is there a resurrection? Were these patriarchs alive at the time of the statement to Moses? Are they alive today?
- Read Deuteronomy 34:5-6 and Jude 9. What is the nature of the dispute in Jude?
- Read Mark 9:2-4. How does this clarify Jude 9? (This series of texts show that Moses died and was buried. God then resurrected Moses' body and Moses was available to talk with Jesus. Since Moses was resurrected and taken bodily to heaven, it is perfectly possible that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive in heaven.)
- What other possible interpretation is there for Mark 12:26? (Since the subject is the resurrection of the dead, it is possible that Jesus is speaking of what will be - God looks at those who have died in light of the coming resurrection.)
- There is a very common belief that when a believer dies, his spirit goes to heaven, but his body remains here until the resurrection when his body will be reunited with his spirit. The texts we have just looked at are very clear about the resurrection of Moses. What does this one resurrection teach us? (God came for his body. If Moses were a fully alive spirit in heaven, what would be the need to bring his body from earth? The one example in the Bible of a human dying and then going to heaven clearly states (Jude 9) that God takes the body.)
- Are there any other resurrection examples in the Bible? (Yes, Jesus will be resurrected a few days after this discussion with the Sadduccees.)
- What do we know about Jesus' resurrection? Did His spirit proceed His body going to heaven? (Read John 20:16-17. On Sunday morning Jesus tells Mary He has not yet returned to His Father - and she should relay that message to the disciples. If Jesus had been in heaven, as a spirit, that statement would make no sense. In the two actual examples of resurrections in the Bible, the details are clear. Resurrection is a "package deal" - body and spirit are taken together to heaven. This can happen soon after death (as with Moses and Jesus) or this can happen in the future at the Second Coming (as Jesus suggests in Mark 12:25). See also, John 11:21-27, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.)
- Friend, will you accept Jesus as your Messiah and Savior? Will you accept His offer of resurrection and eternal life?
- Next week: Predictions of the End.