Christ and the son of David (Mk 12:35-12:35)

“While Jesus

Was teaching

In the Temple,

He said.

‘How can the Scribes say

That the Messiah Christ is

The son of David?’”

 

Καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἔλεγεν διδάσκων ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ Πῶς λέγουσιν οἱ γραμματεῖς ὅτι ὁ Χριστὸς υἱὸς Δαυείδ ἐστιν;

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:41-42, but there Jesus was sparing with the Pharisees and not in the Temple, as here in MarkLuke, chapter 20:41, is almost word for word like Mark.  Mark said while Jesus was teaching in the Temple (διδάσκων ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ), he questioned them saying (Καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἔλεγεν) how can the Scribes say (Πῶς λέγουσιν οἱ γραμματεῖς) that the Messiah Christ is the son of David (ὅτι ὁ Χριστὸς υἱὸς Δαυείδ ἐστιν)?  This was a complex question that Jesus posed to them.  He seemed to indicate that the Christ Messiah was the son of David.

No more questions (Mk 12:34-12:34)

“When Jesus saw

That he answered wisely,

He said to him.

‘You are not far

From the kingdom of God.’

After that,

No one dared

To ask Jesus

Any question.”

 

καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, ἰδὼν αὐτὸν ὅτι νουνεχῶς ἀπεκρίθη, εἶπεν αὐτῷ Οὐ μακρὰν εἶ ἀπὸ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ. καὶ οὐδεὶς οὐκέτι ἐτόλμα αὐτὸν ἐπερωτῆσαι.

 

This saying of Jesus is unique to Mark, except for the ending.  When Jesus saw that this Scribe (καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, ἰδὼν αὐτὸν) had answered wisely (ὅτι νουνεχῶς ἀπεκρίθη), he said to him (εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he was not far from the kingdom of God (Οὐ μακρὰν εἶ ἀπὸ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ.).  After that, no one dared to ask Jesus any questions (καὶ οὐδεὶς οὐκέτι ἐτόλμα αὐτὸν ἐπερωτῆσαι).  This is one of the few times in the gospel stories where there is a kind word for any of the Jewish Scribes.

 

The value of the commandments (Mk 12:33-12:33)

“‘To love God

With all the heart,

With all the understanding,

With all the strength,

As well as

To love one’s neighbor

As oneself,’

This is much more

Important than

Than all the burnt offerings

And sacrifices.”

 

καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν αὐτὸν ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς συνέσεως καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος, καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν τὸν πλησίον ὡς ἑαυτὸν περισσότερόν ἐστιν πάντων τῶν ὁλοκαυτωμάτων καὶ θυσιῶν.

 

This monologue of the Scribe to Jesus is unique to Mark.  This Scribe pointed out that these 2 commandments were more important that all the Temple sacrifices of burnt offerings.  He said that to love God (καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν αὐτὸν) with all your heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας), with all your understanding (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς συνέσεως), with all your strength (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος), as well as to love your neighbor as yourself (καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν τὸν πλησίον ὡς ἑαυτὸν) was much more important (περισσότερόν ἐστιν) than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices (πάντων τῶν ὁλοκαυτωμάτων καὶ θυσιῶν).  This Scribe recognized the value of love of God and neighbor.

Jesus is right (Mk 12:32-12:32)

“Then the Scribe

Said to Jesus.

‘You are right!

Teacher!

You have truly said

That he is one.

Besides him,

There is no other.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ γραμματεύς Καλῶς, Διδάσκαλε, ἐπ’ ἀληθείας εἶπες ὅτι εἷς ἐστιν καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλος πλὴν αὐτοῦ·

 

This dialogue between Jesus and the Scribe is unique to Mark.  This Scribe said to Jesus (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ γραμματεύς) that Jesus was right (Καλῶς).  He, in fact, respectfully called Jesus “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  This Scribe agreed that Jesus had spoken according to the truth (ἐπ’ ἀληθείας εἶπες).  God was one (ὅτι εἷς ἐστιν).  There was no other God but him alone (καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλος πλὴν αὐτοῦ).  Thus, the Scribe and Jesus were on the same page as regards God.

The second commandment (Mk 12:31-12:31)

“‘The second commandment is.

‘You shall love

Your neighbor

As yourself.’

There is no other commandment

Greater than these.’”

 

δευτέρα αὕτη Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν. μείζων τούτων ἄλλη ἐντολὴ οὐκ ἔστιν.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:39-40, and Luke, chapter 10:27, but in a more condensed version.  This was based on Leviticus, chapter 19:18.  A further explanation of the commandments in Leviticus ends with this basic fundamental concept of love your neighbor as yourself, which became the cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity.  They were not to hate in their heart anyone of their relatives.  They should reprove their neighbor, but not take vengeance on him.  They were not to bear a grudge, because they should love them as themselves.  Mark said that Jesus replied that the 2nd commandment (δευτέρα αὕτη) was like the 1st one about love.  Not only were they to love God, but they were to love their neighbors as themselves (Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν).  There were no other commandments greater than these 2 commandments of love (μείζων τούτων ἄλλη ἐντολὴ οὐκ ἔστιν).  Everything was based on the love of God and neighbor.

 

The first commandment (Mk 12:29-12:30)

“Jesus answered.

‘The first commandment is.

‘Hear this!

O Israel!

The Lord Our God!

The Lord is one!

You shall love

The Lord

Your God

With all your heart,

With all your soul,

With all your mind,

And with all your strength.’”

 

ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Πρώτη ἐστίν Ἄκουε, Ἰσραήλ, Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν Κύριος εἷς ἐστιν

καὶ ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου.

 

This response of Jesus can be found also in Matthew, chapter 22:37-38, without the Shema cry for Israel to listen.  In Luke, chapter 10:27-28, Jesus responded that he had given the right answer to the question.  Here, in Mark it is separate from the love of neighbor, which is the 2nd commandment.  This Shema can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5.  These verses have had a great influence on the Israelites as the great commandment that is recited often and written all over the place on their hands, forehead, and door posts.  It is both a morning and an evening prayer, something you say at home and when you are away from home.  The Israelites taught their children this simple prayer.  Jesus and the early Christian followers will repeat this prayer in the gospel stories of the New Testament as the great commandment of love of God.  This “Shema” became the basis of the Abrahamic religions, the great commandment of monotheism and love that must always be remembered.  Mark said that Jesus answered this Scribe (ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς) that the first commandment was (ὅτι Πρώτη ἐστίν) “Hear this (Ἄκουε,)!  O Israel (Ἰσραήλ,)! The Lord our God (Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς), the Lord is one (Κύριος εἷς ἐστιν)!”  He should love the Lord (καὶ ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον), his God (τὸν Θεόν σου) with his whole heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίᾳ σου), his whole soul (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου), his whole mind (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου), and with all his strength (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου).  This was the greatest and the first commandment, love God above all else with your whole powerful being, heart, soul, and mind.

Which commandment is first? (Mk 12:28-12:28)

“One of the Scribes

Came near.

He heard them

Disputing with one another.

Seeing that Jesus

Had answered them well,

He asked him.

“Which commandment

Is the first of all of them?”

 

Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων, ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων, εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς, ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων;

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:34, but there the question was presented by a Pharisee lawyer, not a Scribe.  In Luke, chapter 10:25, there was an unnamed lawyer who wanted to know how to gain eternal life.  Here, Mark has an unnamed Scribe approach Jesus (Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων) because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other (ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων).  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions very well (εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς).  He was not there to test him, but he did question Jesus (ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν).  He wanted to know which commandment was the first or the greatest (Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων), since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.

God of the living (Mk 12:27-12:27)

“He is the God,

Not of the dead,

But of the living.

You are quite wrong.”

 

οὐκ ἔστιν Θεὸς νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ζώντων. πολὺ πλανᾶσθε.

 

Jesus continued his explanation that can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:32, and Luke, chapter 20:38.  Mark said that Jesus ended by saying that Yahweh, the Father, was not the God of the dead (οὐκ ἔστιν Θεὸς νεκρῶν) but the God of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων).  He insisted that the Sadducees were very wrong, mistaken, or incorrect (πολὺ πλανᾶσθε).

The God of Abraham (Mk 12:26-12:26)

“As for the dead

Being raised,

Have you not read

The book of Moses?

In the story

About the bush,

How God said

To him.

‘I am the God of Abraham.

I am the God of Isaac.

I am the God of Jacob.’”

 

περὶ δὲ τῶν νεκρῶν ὅτι ἐγείρονται, οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως ἐπὶ τοῦ Βάτου πῶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Θεὸς λέγων Ἐγὼ ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ;

 

Jesus continued his explanation that can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:31-32, and Luke, chapter 20:37.  They all refer to Moses at the burning bush, a mysterious theophany that overwhelmed Moses, but is not explicitly mentioned here.  However, this was implied by the comment about God based on Exodus, chapter 3:6.  Mark said that the dead will rise up (περὶ δὲ τῶν νεκρῶν ὅτι ἐγείρονται).  Jesus reminded the Sadducees that they had not read the correct book of Moses (οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως), and not “the sayings of God” as in Matthew.  Jesus then referenced this saying of Yahweh to Moses in Exodus, chapter 3:1-6, about the burning bush (ἐπὶ τοῦ Βάτου).  Yahweh God spoke to Moses saying (πῶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ λέγων) that he was the God of Abraham (Ἐγώ ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ), the God of Isaac (καὶ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ), and the God of Jacob (καὶ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ).

No marriage in heaven (Mk 12:25-12:25)

“When they rise

From the dead,

They neither marry

Nor are given

In marriage.

But they are like

The angels

In heaven.”

 

ὅταν γὰρ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῶσιν, οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε γαμίζονται, ἀλλ’ εἰσὶν ὡς ἄγγελοι ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.

 

Jesus continued his explanation here in Mark as in Matthew, chapter 22:30, almost word for word.  Luke, chapter 20:34-36, had a longer explanation.  Mark said that in the afterlife resurrection, when the dead rise (ὅταν γὰρ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῶσιν), there will be no marriage or giving in marriage (οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε γαμίζονται) because they will all be like angels in the heaven (ἀλλ’ εἰσὶν ὡς ἄγγελοι ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  Humans will take on an angelic way of life.