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Mark 12:13-27

The King and His Kingdom  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:04
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Radiant Church, October 28, 2018 Mike Rydman Mark 12:13-27 Mark 12:13-17 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius, and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus 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. The Pharisees received the backing and goodwill of the common people, apparently in contrast to the more elite Sadducees. And they resisted their overlords the Romans. They believed all of the OT was to be followed, including all Rabbinic interpretations. The Pharisees controlled the Temple. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD Pharisaic beliefs became the basis for Rabbinic Judaism, which ultimately produced the basis for most if not all three forms of modern Judaism. The Herodians were a public political party, who distinguished themselves from the Pharisees and Sadducees by the fact that they were and had been sincerely friendly to Herod the Great, the King of the Jews, and to his dynasty. Thus, the Herodians were seen as Roman sympathizers. The Sadducees only followed the first five books of the OT, the “Torah.” They opposed the risk taken by anyone who would risk martyrdom for future glory They didn’t believe in angels, demons or any kind of afterlife, good or otherwise Since the Torah doesn’t teach anything about these things, they saw no value in dying, believing body and soul just decayed Back then, the Sadducees were the conservatives, the Pharisees the liberals and the Herodians the secular. They were all opposed to each other Today, the Sadducees would be the liberals, the Pharisees the conservatives and the Herodians would be the government sympathizers Rarely in their history had the Jews been a free people 500 years or so before they were taken off into captivity by the Babylonians From about 163 to 63 BC they had been semi-independent, and then Rome came in And wherever and whoever Rome conquered they taxed And Rome was hated for it Refusing to pay taxes was rebellion against Rome Paying taxes to Caesar was viewed as a compromise of devotion to God They even saw the image of Tiberius Caesar as a form of forbidden idolatry. On the “heads” side the coin read “Tiberius son of the divine Augustus,” and on the “tails” side it said “high priest” (of the main Roman cult) The Romans couldn’t have come up with anything more that could offend the Jews as much And here standing before them is the real Son of God, and the real High Priest So when Jesus asks for a Roman coin, it is embarrassing to them that they can easily produce one A denarius was roughly equivalent to a day’s wages By having the coin on hand Jesus’ opponents show they already participated in paying the Roman taxes, because the Temple had its own currency The Pharisees and Herodians are trying to trap Jesus, for sure Agree paying the tax would cause Jesus to be opposed by the people Not agreeing to pay the tax and Jesus is guilty of treason But was Jesus saying in his answer to his questioners? 1. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s – Caesar wants the coin; it’s his; give it to him 2. Give God what is God’s – the coin was cast in the image of Caesar, but all human beings are cast in the image of God, meaning…Give God all of you In other words, being a Jesus follower, a citizen of the Kingdom of God means you are a full time citizen, irrespective of what other kingdoms and other secular entities would suggest We don’t get the luxury or freedom to separate our lives into smaller, manageable compartments If you are a Christian, than all of you is a Christian Not just the Sunday part; or the GC night part Not just when you’re around other Christians and you want to fit in It’s not limited to the times you feel like acting like a Christian This may be the indictment against all of us: we don’t necessarily believe, we don’t agree with what Jesus said to the Pharisees and Herodians Yet, without the gospel of Jesus, we are all enslaved: Romans 6:6 says “sin is what enslaves us” Abuse is an aspect of that enslavement: 16% of boys and 25% of girls are sexually abused by age 18 Almost 28% of children are abused, mostly by people they know and trust Addiction is an aspect of that enslavement: 47% of families have said pornography is a problem in their home Close to 18 million Americans (8.5% of adults) fit the criteria for alcoholism Dysfunction is an aspect of that enslavement: Over one-half of American adults are affected by an alcoholic family member More than 40 million people exhibit the symptoms of anxiety disorders each year 15 to 20% of adolescents have engaged in self-injury Nearly one in ten adults are diagnosed with clinical depression each year And 25% of marriages are affected by adultery We like the idea of Jesus more than we like the idea of Jesus telling us He’s here to change us in order to free us from our enslavements Because many of us admit…we don’t like change The Jewish people were rebelling against change, on two fronts They wanted to rebel against the changes Rome demanded of their society And the leaders were rebelling against the changes Jesus brought to their religious systems The Jews in Jesus’ time wanted to put their trust in what they knew: 1. Through the Law of Moses, they wanted to work toward legal obedience 2. Through the rituals of ancient religion, they wanted to continue sacrificing substitute animals rather than accept the final sacrifice of Jesus 3. Through battles against their oppressors, they wanted to put their confidence in their own worldly strength And many of us in churches today are in fact rebels, in a similar vein: We rebel against anything that will force a change into our habits, schedules, interests and priorities So we rebel against change, even though growth requires change of some kind Therefore, we rebel against growth, growth in our relationship with Jesus So what have you been opposing lately? What kinds of excuses have you been using to justify your disagreements with God? In what ways are you still trying to be the priest that preserves a false temple and rejects the sovereignty of Jesus in your life? Are you fighting against something Jesus is trying to wreck in you for something he cares about that you don’t yet care about? Mark 12:18-23 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.” They thus viewed Jesus as advocating a risky revolutionary, foolhardy movement And they wanted to see if Jesus was somehow aligned with the Pharisees So they propose a hypothetical story to Jesus based on Deuteronomy 25, called “levirate marriage,” OT law intended to preserve family lines and inheritances They supported only monogamy, so the idea of a woman being married to seven husbands in heaven seemed ridiculous, therefore the idea of resurrection and even heaven was therefore ridiculous Mark 12:24-25 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Jesus responds by telling them they don’t know their Bibles Being resurrected means the person is beyond death They no longer need to propagate the species or continue their family line Marriage and child-bearing will be irrelevant They will be “like angels” in this respect at least – they won’t be married to each other Marriage is given as a gift to us Not just to meet physical and social needs But also to make a point: it’s a partial and admittedly imperfect picture of what our relationship with Jesus is to be like Like the Church, though partial and admittedly imperfect is a picture of what the Kingdom of God is to be like Once the perfect has come, the partial, the temporary is no longer needed Present earthly experience is entirely insufficient to forecast heavenly realities No more than an in utero infant can imagine the sounds of a great symphony or the sights of the Grand Canyon Jesus continues: Mark 12:26-27 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.” For his second argument, Jesus points out an Old Testament passage that demonstrates that the dead will in fact be raised to new life. This is why he tells the Sadducees they really don’t know their Bible What he is saying is that God IS the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; that while their physical selves are dead, they will later be raised – resurrected, therefore God continues to be their God If Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ceased to exist beyond their physical deaths then God’s promises to them were and are finite and unfulfilled. God would not pledge himself to the dead unless those dead were to be raised to life The promises of God have not ended, and do not end at our physical death, and this is a result of God’s promise and power that conquers the last enemy, death itself Resurrection is the reversal of death It is the gift of a new body to enjoy life in God’s new world What God has made He will remake Jesus doesn’t simply announce the resurrection. He is the resurrection! John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? So why then do we then sometimes choose to continue living like dead people? 1 Kings 18:21 “how long will you go limping between two different opinions? We allow ourselves to shift back and forth: from the prison cell to freedom and back again from death to life and back to death And our shifting back and forth is because we’ve either not been changed by the gospel Or we’re hoping the gospel message is somehow different than what it tells us (where we get to be the hero with the solutions to our pain) Upon leaving Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites could have kept the Mediterranean on their left side, and been in the Promised Land in about two weeks. It ended up taking 40 plus years…because their mistrust of God was their undoing. Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard… What does that look like? What are evidences that we are stable and steadfast in the gospel Sinning less, and interested in sinning less Recovering more quickly from the guilt of our sin (comfort in the gospel) Godliness becomes more consistent and more natural to us How can that happen? How can we contribute to our own gospel stability? Daily preach the gospel to yourself Rehearse the details of your own personal gospel story Rehearse the benefits of the gospel’s act upon your life Commit to being with people who encourage the realities of the gospel How does God contribute to our own Gospel stability? 1 Peter 1:12 It is the Holy Spirit that allows any of us to see and believe the gospel in the first place John 16:14-15 the Holy Spirit helps us to rehearse the gospel and its benefits, and gives us words to preach the gospel to ourselves Jesus is the story, the hero and the solution found in the gospel; and there is no other The gospel is not the first class we learn, like “Christianity 101” Instead, the gospel is the school – the building in which the Holy Spirit uses God’s Word to instruct us and convince us…so we can be alive in the life Jesus died to give us
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