Summary: Exposition of Mark 12:35-40 regarding correct doctrine combined with correct living
Text: Mark 12:35-40, Title: I’ll Have the Combo, Date/Place: NRBC, 11/23/08, AM
A. Opening illustration: talk about going to Wendy’s and getting to select your side item in your combo meal to make it what you want, and how many restaurants are going to this idea, b/c everybody like to personalize…
B. Background to passage: After the religious leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, elders, etc.) stopped questioning Jesus, Jesus finishes his day of public teaching with a question for all the religious leaders about his own identity, or that of the Messiah. And in this question, he calls them to task for their lack of an adequate understanding of who the Messiah would be with scripture. Then he warns the people not to follow after their example.
C. Main thought: Jesus tells us that we must have correct theology AND correct practice—a combo pack
A. Know the Messiah (v. 35-37)
1. Again we must remember that He is speaking in the temple to the religious leaders of His day. And so He quotes Psalm 110:1, and asks a pointed theological question. His question relates to their understanding of the Messiah’s nature. Messianic anticipation was high, and there were many things that people were looking for as commonly accepted signs of the Messiah. And certain catch words and phrases were used to promote what they thought about Him. But here Jesus asks them to explain why David calls his son “Lord,” for this was not even remotely common in their culture, neither in David’s day, nor in Jesus’. Explain the Hebrew text. They were stumped—no answer was even proposed. This really messed up their view of Messiah publicly. And these were the experts! Can you imagine telling the seminary professors that they don’t know their own subject? And of course, the implication of His interpretation was that the Messiah was not only the Son of David, but the Son of God—which was way bigger.
3. Illustration: "Well, I don’t see why I should get my hair cut to drive the car. Jesus had long hair, didn’t he?" The father looked at his boy and said, "That’s right, son and Jesus walked everywhere he went." Tell about the Dear Abby column this week with promiscuous old high school friend/roommate, “Balanced biblical Christianity is a rare phenomenon. It seems to be a characteristic of our fallen minds that we find it easier to grasp half-truths than to grasp the whole truth, and in consequence we become lopsided Christians.” –John Stott, You don’t know how much do don’t know until you start trying to teach something adequately to someone else,
4. Scriptural knowledge, interpretation, and systematic theology are all areas of weakness in the contemporary church. And the congregations approach has been, “that’s what we pay you for.” Unfortunately this attitude has created the mentality that only ministers need training, and training from a school is good enough. And all the bible questions can be answered by the one that we pay for that. One obvious implication is that the paid staff could be wrong! Of course, not many people around here blindly follow the staff, most don’t follow at all. Why would God give us leaders, and give leaders vision, and appoint them as undershepherds if He didn’t want them to lead. But back to the original point. But biblically the fathers (specifically, and parents generally) are presented as the teachers in the home. And the bible promises that the disciple will be just like his teacher. So, if mom/dad know no bible, kids will know no bible. Seize opportunities to teach your children spiritual truth from scripture. Make them if there aren’t enough. Family church is a great place for this. You don’t know enough about Jesus. There is always more to be learned, to be studied. Don’t be afraid to question the answers you already know. If you question truth, and you search it out, you will find more truth. Make sure that what you know about Him is accurate. Make Him known to others as He really is. And knowing theology, interpretation, and scripture will greatly benefit our church as we grow in depth. It will cut down on drama within the church. It will focus our eyes upon the proper priorities. It will spread the labor around from the few to the many. It will guard and protect your life and that of your family.
B. Live out His Commands (v. 38-40)
1. Jesus seizes the opportunity to instruct the crowd against the hypocrisy that had infiltrated the religious elite. So now not only had Jesus called into question the fullness of their knowledge of serious matters, but was exposing their false fronts and impious motivations for what they do. He said that they long to walk around in long robes, receive greetings, sit in the best seats, and prayed long prayers for show. All these things pointed to their main desires—fame, prestige, and men’s applause. The other thing that He pointed out was their greed at the expense of the easily taken advantage of. This was blasphemy. Remember Jesus was the harshest against those who claim to be believers, and who didn’t back it up. Jesus says don’t be like the hypocrites who bring shame to my name by their actions, attitudes, and lifestyles. He promises that they will receive a greater condemnation.