Mark 12:35-44

Key Verse: 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.’"

            In Chapter 12 Jesus debated with the Pharisees, Herodians and Sadducees. Next we find him giving the most wonderfully answered ever given to the question: “What is the most important commandment?” When no more religious leaders were willing to challenge Jesus, he then turns his attention to the crowd. He tells them they must watch out for the teachers of the law. On one hand it must have hurt Jesus to have to give this warning because these men started their career dedicated to be servants of the law. On the other hand now they became servants of the devil because they became enemies of Jesus even though the law testified to Jesus. Finally in closing the chapter Jesus brings his disciples to the place where people were dropping their offerings for the temple. Jesus wanted to watch the people make their offerings and then teach his disciples the kind of offerings that most grab hold of God’s attention.

First, Christ is our Lord.

            Look at verse 35: “While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “How is it that the teacher of the law says that the Christ is the son of David?” Here we see Jesus teaching in the temple. According to verse 37 large crowds were listening to him with delight. Jesus had this teaching power over crowds wherever he taught. People delighted listening to him teach along the loud and noisy sea, on the slippery slope of the side of some mountain, or in some hot sardine-packed home. Jesus is the envy of all teachers and preachers. He didn’t need some clock, as we have, to remind him not to preach too long.

Of all the places he chose to teach I am of the opinion he enjoyed teaching in the temple courts the most. Once at the age of twelve his parents took Jesus to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. After the feast they began their journey home. A day out of Jerusalem they discovered Jesus was not with them. They went back and searched the places a 12-year-old boy most likely would spend his time, to our equivalent places like the video game rooms, soccer fields, basketball courts. Nowhere could they find him. Finally after three days they looked for Jesus in the last place, the temple. This is exactly where they found Jesus. He was listening to the teachers and asking them many questions. His mother Mary expressed her frustration with him: “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you?” Twelve-year-old Jesus replied; “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Even at the age of 12 we see Jesus was much more than an ordinary boy. Even at that age he showed his truly heavenly Father was God himself and he recognized he was the Son of God.

Look at verse 35 and 36: Why do the teacher of the law say that the Christ is the son of David?  “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.” David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

Jesus points out the teachers of the law were trying very hard to cover up the biblical fact David himself, Israel’s greatest King, prophetically called him Lord. The religious leaders knew they couldn’t do anything about the fact people believed Jesus was the son of David. In Mark 10 they tried to shut up a blind beggar named Bartimaeus from calling Jesus the son of David. Instead of listening to their rebukes he called out to Jesus even louder: “Son of David, have mercy on me.” Since they couldn’t keep people from believing he was the promised Son of David they then tried to teach: “OK, maybe he is the son of David, but that is all he is and no more.”

            Jesus’ words here show us he wanted all people to know the whole story about him. It is not enough we know Jesus to be the son of David. Jesus wants people to know he is David’s Lord. Once Apostle Paul was like these teachers of the law who hated Jesus. Then the Lord Jesus appeared to him on a journey he was taking to Damascus. From that time on Apostle Paul was no longer ashamed to tell the whole story about Jesus Christ. Both to Jews and Gentiles, wise people and foolish people he boldly preached the full gospel about Jesus Christ. Romans 1: 1-4 he writes: “Paul a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God-the gospel he promised before hand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” When Paul repented he too joined King David in calling Jesus Christ his Lord.

According to the prophetic promise about himself Jesus shows all people now and later will call Jesus, Lord. Those who repent and believe the Gospel of God, now join King David and Apostle Paul. Then there are those who are like the teachers of the law who refuse to believe the Gospel about Jesus Christ. They misuse Jesus’ name. They only use Jesus Christ name to express their anger, frustration and irreverence for Jesus Christ. Such people blame the tragedies of history on Jesus while they purposely ignore the countless testimonies of people whose lives were brought out of darkness into light through Jesus teaching.  Not withstanding even these anti-Christ people will one day confess Jesus Christ as Lord because God will put them under the feet of Jesus.

            Let us now briefly see from Scriptures own words why we need to recognize Jesus Christ as our Lord.   One of my favorite bible passages is the virgin conception of Jesus Christ as prophesied by Isaiah a little more than 650 years before the birth of Christ. In Isaiah 7, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” The name Immanuel means, ‘God with us.’ Here is a declaration of the dual nature of Jesus-both man and God, Son and Lord. Only in Christ can we sinners say, “God is with us.” Two chapters later in Isaiah 9:6 we find more about his dual nature as it relates to all people: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” God Almighty was pleased to have all his own supreme fullness to dwell in Jesus Christ his Son. Only in Christ can we find the great power of God to be our Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. I learned from Missionary Sarah Barry what it means to have Jesus Christ as my Everlasting Father. When her human father died she honored him by sharing her affection for him. Then she acknowledged her father’s death showed her why she needs Jesus Christ, because only He can be her Everlasting Father. Later when it came time for my earthly father to die, I too did not feel I was fatherless, for I had made Jesus Christ my Everlasting Father.

 How bad those teachers of the law were. They hated Jesus and tried to hide Jesus Christ the Mighty God, Everlasting Father from God’s sheep who really needed such a great Savior in their lives.  The unfortunate fact is in every generation there are these anti Christ people who try to hide Jesus Christ’s Lordship from God’s sheep. This is why Jesus Christ warns the crowd in verse 38: “Watch out for the teachers of the law.” Now look at verses 38-40. All these are the signs of anti-Christ teachers that people should watch out for. It is a person that dresses up and acts like he is holier and more important than everyone else. It is a person who demands people honor him like some kind of god. They are the lowest of people. They worm selves into helpless widow’s homes either through intimidation or coning them. Then they devour all the wealth of the widow.

 When I was in college a guy named Rev. Moon was this kind of anti-Christ type of person. He brainwashed his followers to go out on campus and teach students a lie that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead. As a result he spread a great lie God called him to save the world. Once a friend and I shared with one of his followers the bible truth all men have sinned. This young man became offended and said: “Rev. Moon has never sinned!” It is really unfortunate such people didn’t hear Jesus’ warning: “Watch out for the teachers of the law.” Every generation will have anti-Christ teachers. Every generation must “Watch out for them.” Jesus ends his warning by telling the crowd: “Such men will be punished most severely.”

Second, Jesus watches the crowd make their offering.

 Jesus was now wrapping up his time of teaching in the temple courts. Before leaving he wanted to teach his disciples one more lesson about giving money to God.  Look at verse 41: “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.” It is interesting Jesus is watching how much money each person is putting in the treasury. Did you ever notice a person watches those things they are most interested in?  Here we see Jesus is watching people put their money in the temple treasury. This tells me Jesus is very interested in the offerings people make. Some people have a problem with that. They ask: “Why is Jesus so interested in the money people are offering? Maybe this bible passage might answer that question.

  This matter of making offerings has always been the big silent elephant in the room nobody likes to talk about. I certainly don’t like to talk about it. Nevertheless this passage happens to fall on the day I am appointed to give a Sunday message. Therefore I have to be the one to talk about it.

It is undeniable Jesus is watching the offerings people are making. Why is this? It is because as we were early reminded Jesus is much more than a sinner turn servant of God. Jesus is the perfect, holy God incarnate. According to John 2 Jesus declared: “Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days.  Jesus himself is the true temple of God. To make an offering in the temple treasury in effect is to make an offering to Jesus Christ. There are other reasons Jesus could be interested. Matthew 6 Jesus teaches we can only serve one master. He teaches it is impossible to serve both God and money. In fact he tells his disciples a person will grow to love one and hate the other. Later in 1 Timothy 6 we are taught the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Many people have ship wrecked their faith in pursuit of it. Malachi 3 God challenges his people in the area of tithing. He writes:  “But you ask, ‘how are we to return? Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?”  In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse-because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this says the Lord Almighty, an see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land.”  says the Lord almighty.” Finally 2 Corinthians 9 Paul reminds God’s people: “Remember this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he ahs decided in his heat to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Biblically we see there are many good reasons why Jesus is watching people make their offerings. Let us see what Jesus had to teach his disciples about those people he saw making their offerings. Look at verses 43-44: “Calling his disciples to him Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on.”  Jesus commends the offering of the person who gave the least amount. Why is this? It is because Jesus knew the offering she made was all the money she had to live on while all those others who gave large offerings, when they left the temple they still had stashes of money, bank accounts with money and other forms of credit to buy what they need. As for this woman her only source of wealth was trust and faith in the God of Abraham.  The Bible teaches, “without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  Simply put Jesus stated a fact. He compared all the offerings each person made along with their own personal extenuating life circumstances. Since Jesus is the perfect judge he judged this woman’s offering was the greatest act of faith.

What we learn here is that Jesus is very interested in both the offerings of the rich and the poor. Frankly put, every single person rich or poor should wrestle with God in this matter of making offerings to God.  Historically those who wrestle with it and struggle to please God in this area of offering will grab hold of the attention of Jesus. Moreover the Bible promises: “Those who sow sparingly reap sparely while those who sow generously will also reap generously.

            Let me close with the testimony of one humble man who spent his life struggling to honor God with all the wealth God allowed him to earn. It was around 1796 in England when this young man began an apprenticeship to learn the trade of making soap. When he finished his apprenticeship he left the shores of England to move to New York City to start up his own business of making soap. One of the modes of transportation he used to travel to New York City was by way of a river canal boat. While on the canal boat he shared with the captain of this boat his plans to go to New York City and start a business making soap. This is the business advice that captain shared with that very ambitious 16 year old. “Son, someone will soon be the leading soap maker in New York City. You can be that person, but you must never lose sight of the fact that the soap you make has been given to you by God. Honor Him by sharing what you earn. Begin by tithing all you receive.” This captain’s business advice to tithe all he would earn did not fall on death ears.  Tithing became the foundation of this man’s business philosophy for the rest of his life. First he gave one tenth of his earnings. Then two tenths, then three tenths, then four tenths and finally five tenth of this wealth. This man eventually gave 50 percent of everything he made to the work of God around the world.  Who was this man? His name was William Colgate the founder of the still very successful company we know as Colgate-Palmolive. This morning my family and maybe many of you used his company’s toothpaste or soap before coming to church. During his lifetime Mr. Colgate became an annual contributor to two theological institutions. He was a regular contributor to the funds of the Baptist Missionary Union and he took upon himself the entire support of a foreign missionary.  Finally in 1857 he died, but his work did not die with him. His company still is cleaning millions of people around the world every day. A famous university bears his name. More importantly Jesus knows how much good his lifelong practice of tithing helped in the work of God around the world.

            Mr. Colgate was not given bad business and we thank God he put it into practice a lifelong practice of honoring God through tithing. Our country is filled with the largest business schools in human history. It is obvious they have not been part of the solution in either preventing or solving one of our country’s worst economic downturn. As for myself my humble opinion of what will help is when young and old, rich and poor people all alike practice the biblical practice of tithing all they earn.

            Today we learn Jesus Christ is Lord over all. We also learn he holds great interest in the offerings we make.