God’s Top Priorities For Us

It is still just Tuesday of Holy Week!!! Wednesday starts with Chapter 14. The final five chapter of the Gospel of mark are DENSE! GRAVITY / WEIGHT. Each day Jesus & His disciples spend in Jerusalem this Holy Week is action packed! Jesus is dealing with everything from big picture ideas to individual examples, all the while teaching directly from the Scriptures. Pay attention to who He is talking to at different times. Today’s passage has: Big Picture / Specific Scripture / Individual Example

Setting The Stage: Christ is Teaching at the Temple. Jesus just told a story that describes the spiritual state of God’s chosen people. The parable of the vineyard tenants. [Grasping for Power] Then in answer to a couple of insincere, ‘trick questions’, He points out how the political and religious leaders have lost their way so badly they are completely aligned against God! [Greg’s Sermon] Directly following this Jesus tells the religious leaders they are completely wrong about God, then He fields a question from ‘A Scribe’. But this guys is different, he is sincere and real and in response to that, Jesus teaches truth to the teachable.

Let us be humble and teachable in all aspects of our life.[Easier said than done] Jesus gives revelation to those who approach Him in faith: This is a massive gift!!!

Mark 12:28-44

28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

  • THIS Scribe recognizes Christ’s ‘God-centric’ teaching [don’t take for granted]
  • So… He asks; ‘what is the most important thing God would have us do?’
  • Jesus begins by quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5
  • Then He quotes the end of Leviticus 19:18
  • He says: These two things are of the highest priority
    • How you are related to God
    • How you are related to your neighbor ‘Who is my Neighbor?’
  • The kind of relationship God wants with us includes every aspect of our lives
    • Loving Him with all we have
  • The kind of relationship God wants us to have with our neighbor is loving also
    • You love yourself all the time & in ways that fulfill your needs
    • So we are to love our neighbor this way. What does that look like in ‘real life’?

32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; 33 and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

  • The Scribe knows the Scriptures so he affirms Christ’s ‘Spiritual Priorities’
  • The Scribe agrees that these priorities are more important than ritual & religion
  • The Scribe quotes Hosea 6:6 as part of his response: ‘For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.’
  • It’s not about religious activity it’s about relationships [Vertical & Horizontal]
  • Jesus is like: ‘You are getting it and that will get you there!’ [The Kingdom]

35 And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.”’ 37 David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; so in what sense is He his son?” And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him.

  • So now that Christ has at least one teachable student [besides the Disciples]
  • He drops ‘Truth for The teachable’ [teaching in the Temple]
  • He takes on a real tricky passage… a real ‘ask the pastor’ kind of question
  • Quoting Psalm 110:1 He asks How can David’s son can also be David’s ‘Lord’
  • The answer is: If that descendant is the God-Man Messiah, The Incarnation!
  • The large crowd liked what they heard…But do they really get who HE is?
  • Then a quick pivot…

38 In His teaching He was saying: “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, 39 and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.”

  • He say lookout for the ‘Scribes’ who do the following things [Corrupt]
  • He is saying not all of them are corrupt.
  • What he describes are people who put on quite a show of their great position
  • Yet they steal from the most vulnerable!
  • They make a mockery of prayer, using it to get attention from people
  • They will face judgement
  • Now it is time for an object lesson, an example of the opposite of the Scribes

41 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

  • Jesus is now teaching in the court of Women across from ‘The Treasury’
  • This was 13 trumpet shaped ‘Alms Boxes’ located in the court of women
  • He see rich people putting in many coins, lots of loot
  • And He see a poor widow putting in 2 coins; 1/64 of a Denarius [a day’s wage]
  • In today’s money, a days wage is about $130 so this would be about $2.00!!!
  • Jesus says Her offering is more valuable than all the giving from surplus
  • She gave from obedience not out of calculation
  • She gave from what she actually needed, trusting in God not herself
  • She imitated Christ’s sacrificial giving to us on the cross: HE GAVE IT ALL


Christ gives us a synopsis of what a real relationship with God looks like based on what God has already revealed: Scripture.

The guy asking the question models how we are to properly approach God. [Humble] He’s a stark & necessary contrast, to the majority of the Religious & Political Leaders.

Jesus with a teachable audience, gives a short lesson on how there are some important details to understand regarding how God’s revelation all comes together in The Christ / Messiah. In this, Christ calls His ‘followers’ to lifelong learning = Discipleship [Scripture Study]

Christ then gives US [teachable disciples] two ends of the spectrum as to how people response to God’s revelation of Himself [Scripture]. First we have the Religious Elite, they are immersed in God’s revelation and yet live fake, self-dependent, all show no go lives before God…arrogant and shameless [think vineyard tenants]. Then Jesus points out one person living by trust in God alone… as Our Lord would have each of His followers live.

Theology: What God has revealed to us [Biblical] about Himself that we can comprehend.

Doxology: How one lives in response to [Biblical] ‘Revelation’ / The Gospel. The term Doxology carries the connotation of ‘Worship’ A Response to The Holy…

When you trust who Christ is, and that He, God Himself offers eternal life… You can now live in a state of dependance on God that resembles this poor widow.

What are the top priorities of the life Jesus calls us to?

~ A committed love relationship with your Creator and Savior that is Spiritual, Emotional, Physical, and Intellectual.

~ A lifestyle of consistently, effectively caring for those you are in community with.

Why do we seek to understand the Scriptural Messiah / Jesus The Christ?

~ To properly surrender our lives and worship God we must understand Him as He is revealed in Scripture.

~ The revelation of Christ that leads to salvation and the life of a disciple requires our diligent seeking of Scripture: an ongoing investigation of the Truth.

What does Christ Jesus teach HIS followers regarding generosity?

~ We are to give to the kingdom in ways that place us into dependance upon God.

~ Our giving has a spiritual value, not just dollars and cents value. Biblical obedience strengthens our alignment with God.