In just a few days, we will be observing Palm Sunday, the day that inaugurates the Passion Week. Of course, Palm Sunday in our reading today is also called the The Triumphal Entry. Chapter 11 begins a new section in the Gospel of Mark. Beginning in chapter 11, we begin to observe a series of deliberate Messianic actions. A clue to this is actually found in Zechariah 9:9, Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt.
Jesus purposefully offers Himself as the Messiah, know that this would provoke Jewish leaders to take action against him. Throughout a series of actions take place, that shows who Jesus is, show Him with full authority, you can also see with His authority. We can see the roles of Jesus in Chapter 11, As a Prophet, with cursing of the fig tree as well as the words of judgement that came with it for the the fate of the Jewish authorities who were now about to reject their Messiah. As Priest, as showed his concern and care for the non Jewish worshippers in the temple by clearing all the vendors who were hindering worship by taken financial advantage of the people. He also wanted to restore the sanctity back to the temple. Finally, as a King, by establishing his authority, which came to a head in the last part of chapter 11, with the chief priests and the teachers of the law.
As we step into chapter 12 we continue on into the Passion Week, with the Parable of the Tenants, as read through this parable, you must look at it through the lenses of the social situation in Jewish Galilee. it was common for large estates, owned by absentee landlords, were put into the hands of local peasants who cultivated the land as tenant farmers. The parable exposed the planned attempt on Jesus’ life and God’s judgement on the planners. In other words, he called out the chief priests and the teachers of the law. Of course this only incited their rage.
In the following verses the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to do anything they could to trap Jesus so they can fulfill their plans of having him arrested. Of course, we come to The Great Commandment, Mark 13:30-31 - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”, side note someone should write a book about this and call it PRIMAL. :-) In all reality, this commandment to the laws of Moses and made it simple and to the the point. This is how every Christ follower is called to live out their faith. As Pastor Mark says, there is nothing more PRIMAL. Personally, I love how Jesus joined the love for God and the love for neighbors so seamlessly, to me this shows logical and natural outgrowth of the love for God. For me, you can’t separate the two, to love God is to love others. This was displayed throughout, Jesus’ ministry…this is our calling in ministry as well.
As we come to the end of chapter 12, we see that Jesus sets the record straight in Mark 12:36, David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” The purpose of this quote was to show that the Messiah was more than a descendant of David-he was David’s Lord. See Jesus, wasn’t the lord by proxy of his linage, he was Lord because He was God in flesh.
Finally, my favorite part of this reading is the final passage with the widow giving all that she had as others watched. While so many before her gave out of their wealth, she gave out of obedience, while others gave some of of a lot she gave all of a little. She put the Great Commandment in to practice, loving the Lord you God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength…whatever she had she gave. What a challenge to me personally, I feel like I have so much that I am still holding on tightly to…how can God use my abundance to further His Kingdom. My personal prayer, God help me to let go and give it all to you because I love you and I love my neighbor.
Are we willing to give all that we have just like this widow for Kingdom purposes? How can we cultivate that same attitude for towards God, of being willing to say it is all Yours? What are areas that we feel like we don’t have much to give, but we must be willing to let it all go?
I want to add one more thought, yes Jesus pointed out that the widow gave all she had. Yes, it was about money, but I also believe it was about so much more, because in just a few days from this moment, Jesus was going to give all, He is going to pay the greatest price. Yes, Jesus was counting the widow’s cost, but do you think he was also counting his own cost?