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Summary: A study of the Gospel of Mark 12: 12 – 17

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Mark 12: 12 – 17

The Old TV Series, ‘I Spy’

13 Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. 14 When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” 16 So they brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”17 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him.

If you take a look at the other three Gospels you come to find out that in addition to Mark, both Matthew and Luke also write about this incident. Let’s see what they reported.

Matthew 22:15-22, “15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. 20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” 21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.”

Luke 20:20-26”20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. 21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me? 24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They answered and said, “Caesar’s.” 25 And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.

So, what do you think about when you read all three? For one I see that all three Gospels are pretty much in harmony with each other. Some skeptics might say that they copied off of each other. So, if that be the case it was Matthew who put down on paper the first Gospel. Then according to the skeptics Mark didn’t ask Peter about the incident but just picked up a copy of Matthew’s Gospel and recorded this interaction. Then some ten years later the disciple Luke got both Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospels and copied down what they recorded. Possible, but not likely - for if you take just a little time and review some of the situations where all three writers report the same situation, you will see that this theory is not consistent.

It amazes me that over close to 20 years out Wonderful Holy Spirit has inspired these three writers to record almost verbatim what happened. So, how come? I believe our Great Holy Ghost wants us to pay particular attention to this event and be able to apply it in our time on earth.

Our Precious Holy Spirit has brought our Lord Jesus into various situations in testimony to all the prophecies that spoke of Him. Now He is faced with attempts to entrap and discredit Him. They come from various religious and governmental sources; the Pharisees and Herodians, the Sadducees, and a Scribe. In each case He emerges having confounded His adversaries. The picture is of Jesus against the establishment, because the establishment has all gone astray.

13 Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words.

If you look back to the beginning of chapter 20 in verses 1-8 you will see how the religious leaders tried to challenge our Messiah’s authority. They sneakily sought to take advantage of His claim to speak with authority by trapping Him into subversive remarks that can then be passed on to the Roman Governor as examples of His treasonable behavior. In most countries the question would have been fairly easy to answer, but in Israel it was a minefield, for while most reluctantly paid their denarius poll tax they did so because of what would have happened to them and their children if they did not, but they did it with reluctance and with hatred in their hearts.

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