The Gospel of Mark #31 - Death and Taxes
The Gospel of Mark #31:
Death and Taxes
Text: Mark 12:13-27
Thesis: To stress the need to be in subjection to the government and to emphasize the
importance of the resurrection.
(1) 2 sure things: Death & Taxes!
(2) In this section, Jesus addresses these 2 sure things as he responds to questions from his adversaries.
I. The Story:
A. In verses 13-17, the Pharisees and the Herodians attempt to trap Jesus concerning paying Roman taxes.
1. The Pharisees and the Herodians (i.e., a group who “supported the family of Herod as well as the Romans who gave them they authority to rule”) were normally adversaries, but they are here united against Jesus.
2. “Their purpose was to trip Jesus up in his words so that he would lose the support of the people, leaving the way open for them to destroy him” (Wessel 733).
3. “The insincerity of the questioners is seen further in the flattery they employed” (Brooks 192).
4. “The head tax, or ‘census’ as it is designated in the text, had been imposed by the first Roman governor after the deposition of Archelaus in A. D. 6” (Williamson 218).
5. “The tax amounted to only a ‘denarius’ a year, i.e., a day’s wage of an agricultural laborer” (Brooks 192).
6. “If he openly rejects the head tax, he will be like those diehard rebels who incited revolt and will be subject to arrest for treason. But if he endorses the tax, he will undermine his support among the zealous, who chafe under Roman rule” (Garland 462).
7. In response, “Jesus is not saying that there are two quite separate independent spheres, that of Caesar and that of God (for Caesar and all that is his belongs to God); but he is indicating that there are obligations to Caesar which do not infringe the rights of God but are indeed ordained by God” (Cranfield 372).
B. In verses 18-27, the Sadducees attempt to trap Jesus concerning the resurrection.
1. The Sadducees were “small numerically but exerted great influence politically and religiously […] mentioned only fourteen times whereas Pharisees are mentioned about one hundred times” (Wessel 735).
2. “They did not believe in the existence of the soul, life after death, resurrection, final judgment, angels, or demons” (Wiersbe 1:152).
3. “The question about the remarrying widow is based upon the levirate instructions of Deut 25:5-10. According to this law, if a man died without children, his brother should marry the widow and raise children in the first man’s name” (Black 213).
4. Jesus responds by first noting that they had ignorance of God’s Word and of His power.
a. Then, he points out that people will be like the angels in heaven; i.e., no marriages.
b. Next, he quotes Exodus 3:6 in order to stress that “if Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are dead, as the Sadducees believe, then God’s promise to them was limited to the duration of their earthly lives, which renders his promises finite and unfulfilled” (Edwards 369).
c. Overall, Jesus notes that the “resurrections is not the restoration of life as we know it; it is the entrance into a new life that is different” (Wiersbe 1:153).
II. The Application:
A. As Christians, we must be in subjection to the government, which includes paying our taxes (cf. Rom. 13:1ff.).
B. Since we are made in the image of God (cf. Gen. 1:26), we must render to God our whole being (cf. Rom. 12:1).
C. God is the God of the living; therefore, the resurrection is a reality!
(1) Oh by the way, there are at least 2 other sure things: 1) Resurrection and 2) Judgment.
(2) The only sure way that you can be ready for these things is Jesus Christ!