Episode 72: Marriage at the Resurrection?

Mark 12:18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.

 

The Sadducees are a rival religious sect who compete with the Pharisees for power and popularity among the Jews. Not only do the Sadducees want to discredit Jesus, they also want to refute whole idea of eternal life—one of Christ’s central teachings.

 

19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” Continue reading “Episode 72: Marriage at the Resurrection?”

Episode 71: Honoring the Image

The cat and mouse game continues.

 

The Herodians are the political supporters of Herod, the regional governor. Ordinarily, they observe an uneasy truce with the Jewish religious leaders. But both groups are now allied against Jesus, whom they fear will incite a rebellion against Rome. So the Herodians approach Christ, pandering to his sense of nationalism, hoping to trap him into committing treason against Caesar.

 

Mark 12:14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Continue reading “Episode 71: Honoring the Image”

Episode 70: An Outrageous Conspiracy

In a matter of days, Jesus will be hanging on an executioner’s cross on a hill outside the capital city of Israel. His time is short, so every word must count.

 

Mark 12:1 He then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.”

 

Up to this point, the tale is benign—if not idyllic. But it’s about to take a nasty turn. Continue reading “Episode 70: An Outrageous Conspiracy”

Episode 69: By Whose Authority?

Mark 11:27 They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”

 

These Jewish leaders ask the same central question that Mark answers throughout his gospel: “Just who are you, Jesus?” Continue reading “Episode 69: By Whose Authority?”

Episode 68: Lesson From a Fig Tree Pt. 2

Mark 11:20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” 22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

 

Faith in God is a powerful thing.

 

But it’s not about seeing who can rub the genii’s lamp the hardest. Nor is it is using God to get what we want or explaining away that which we don’t understand. Continue reading “Episode 68: Lesson From a Fig Tree Pt. 2”