More Traps for Jesus

25 February 2018 AM – Mark 12:13-34 – Mr17 – Scott Childs

Introduction: When I was a young boy my father had a plague of mice and rats in his grain shed on the farm. He hired my brother and me to trap the little varmints. He bought us traps and taught us how to set them. We earned 5¢ for each mouse and 50¢ for each rat caught. We baited the traps with chocolate or peanut butter and put them in strategic locations. We never got rich but we did greatly decrease the rodent population.

Transition: Jesus’ enemies were setting traps to catch him saying something they could use against him. In our text, they set three more traps for Him. However, He turned each around and taught valuable lessons for each of us to learn.

The first trap set for Jesus was …

1.        The TAX Trap (12:13-17)
a.         The trap is set
1)         Two enemies unite to trap Jesus: Pharisees & Herodians
a)         Pharisees were against Roman rule.
b)         The Herodians cooperated with Roman rule.
2)         Bait is first applied to the trap with flattery (12:14)
a)         They asked Jesus, Is it lawful to pay Roman tax?
b)         The Jews hated Roman rule over them.
c)         If Jesus said “yes” the Jews would turn on Him
d)         If he said “no” they would have him arrested.
b.         Jesus avoids the trap and teaches from it.
1)         Jesus asked to see a Roman penny.
2)         He asked whose name and image it contained. The answer was “Caesar.”
3)         Jesus’ twofold answer avoided the trap. The word “render” means to give back.
a)         Men are to “give back” to Caesar’s government the things that are Caesar’s. Because money is produced by the government, it has a claim on it.
b)         Men are to “give back” to God the things that are God’s. Because God created man in His image, God wants our lives, obedience, worship and love.
4)         What are we to learn from this?
a)         While we may not agree with the way our tax money is spent, we benefit from the governments protection, services, aid, and so forth; therefore, we must pay our taxes honestly.
b)         If you are a Christian, God has saved you to serve and glorify Him. You owe that to Him.
(1)      (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
(2)      (Ephesians 2:8-10) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
c)         For a Christian to refuse to live holy like God’s child and to serve Him is no less wrong than cheating on taxes or refusing to pay them.
The second trap set for Jesus was …

2.        The RESURRECTION Trap (12:18-27)
a.         The trap is set
1)         This time the trap is set by the Sadducees.
2)         Sadducees were mainly in Jerusalem. They were involved in the administration of the Temple, were wealthy, cooperated with Rome, accepted only the first 5 books of the OT and mostly rejected the supernatural. They denied the resurrection and existence of angels. Mark by David Hewitt and The Bible Exposition Commentary by Warren Wiersbe
3)         They quote Scripture to bait the trap (v.19), (Deut 25:5).
4)         Using this verse, they present a hypothetical story. Seven brothers had one woman as wife and all died. Whose wife will she be in the resurrection?
b.         Jesus pointed out their error and taught from it.
1)         They did not know God’s power
a)         God has the power to raise the dead. (Jeremiah 32:27) “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”
b)         Resurrected humans will not be married in heaven but will be like the angles. Marriage ought to be the most wonderful of all human relationships, yet in heaven the most wonderful relationship will be with Christ. Physical marriage will no longer be part of God’s plan for our happiness and fulfilment.
c)         They did not rightly understand the Scriptures. As Jesus quoted for them from Exodus 3:6, He emphasised that God said “I am the God of …” He did not say “I was the God of …” The souls of those physically dead are still very much alive.
2)         What significance does this have on us?
a)         Jesus said, (John 5:28-29) “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” This is not salvation by works. The only good we can do is to trust Christ to save us.
b)         All humans will give account to God. (Romans 14:12) “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
c)         Through Christ, we can have eternal LIFE! (John 3:36) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
The third trap set for Jesus was …

3.        The FIRST COMMANDMENT Trap (12:28-34)
a.         The trap is set
1)         A Scribe confronted Jesus this time. Scribes were the Bible scholars of the day. They calculated that there were 613 precepts in the Law.
2)         The Scribe asked Jesus which command was the greatest.
b.         Jesus quickly answered and taught from this.
1)         He said the 1st commandment is to love God completely.
a)         Love him with all the heart — innermost desires
b)         Love him with all the soul — emotional feelings
c)         Love him with all the mind — thoughts
d)         Love him with all the strength — energy, action
2)         Jesus said the 2nd commandment is to love others as ourselves. Selfishly putting yourself first leads to sin.
3)         When the scribe agreed, Jesus said he was close to God’s Kingdom. He was facing the truth honestly.
a)         He understood that to be sinless one must love God fully and treat others lovingly. No one can do this without failure; therefore, all have sinned.
b)         However, the Law cannot save. The next step to eternal life is to believe that Christ alone can pay sin’s debt and to ask Him for cleansing. (John 3:18) “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 5:24) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
Conclusion: This morning we have learned that: (1) we must pay taxes to the government and that Christians must live like holy and serve God. (2) We will all be resurrected one day and give account to God. If we have been saved by Christ, we will live eternally with God. If not, we will live eternally in hell separated from God. (3) Loving God is more important than anything else. Our failure to do this makes us all sinners in need of Christ’s salvation. Question: Have you placed your faith in Christ’s death and resurrection that you might be forgiven and receive eternal life? (John 14:6) If not, I urge you to do so today.

If you KNOW for positive that you are a Christian, are you living holy, serving Christ, looking for His return and striving to love Him fully? If not, there is no better time to begin than today.

Song: I have decided – 397