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See on Mt 21:33-46.
Mr 12:13-40. ENTANGLING QUESTIONS ABOUT TRIBUTE THE RESURRECTION, AND THE GREAT COMMANDMENT, WITH THE REPLIES--CHRIST BAFFLES THE PHARISEES BY A QUESTION ABOUT DAVID, AND DENOUNCES THE SCRIBES. ( = Mt 22:15-46; Lu 20:20-47).
The time of this section appears to be still the third day (Tuesday) of Christ's last week. Matthew introduces the subject by saying (Mt 22:15), "Then went the Pharisees and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk."
13. And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees--"their disciples,"
probably young and zealous scholars in that hardening school.
Tribute to Cæsar (Mr 12:14-17).
14. And when they were come, they say unto him, Master--Teacher.
15. Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their
The malignity of their hearts took the form of craft, pretending what
they did not feel--an anxious desire to be guided aright in a matter
which to a scrupulous few might seem a question of some difficulty.
Seeing perfectly through this,
17. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Cæsar the things
that are Cæsar's--Putting it in this general form, it was impossible
for sedition itself to dispute it, and yet it dissolved the snare.
The Resurrection (Mr 12:18-27).
18. Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no
resurrection--"neither angel nor spirit"
They were the materialists of the day. See on
23. In the resurrection therefore when they shall rise, &c.
25. For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor
are given in marriage--"neither can they die any more"
Marriage is ordained to perpetuate the human family; but as there will
be no breaches by death in the future state, this ordinance will cease.
26. And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the
book of Moses--"even Moses"
whom they had just quoted for the purpose of entangling Him.
27. He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living--not "the God of dead but [the God] of living persons." The word in brackets is almost certainly an addition to the genuine text, and critical editors exclude it. "For all live unto Him" (Lu 20:38) --"in His view," or "in His estimation." This last statement--found only in Luke--though adding nothing to the argument, is an important additional illustration. It is true, indeed, that to God no human being is dead or ever will be, but all mankind sustain an abiding conscious relation to Him; but the "all" here means "those who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world." These sustain a gracious covenant relation to God which cannot be dissolved. (Compare Ro 6:10, 11). In this sense our Lord affirms that for Moses to call the Lord the "GOD" of His patriarchal servants, if at that moment they had no existence, would be unworthy of Him. He "would be ashamed to be called their God, if He had not prepared for them a city" (Heb 11:16). It was concluded by some of the early Fathers, from our Lord's resting His proof of the Resurrection on such a passage as this, instead of quoting some much clearer testimonies of the Old Testament, that the Sadducees, to whom this was addressed, acknowledged the authority of no part of the Old Testament but the Pentateuch; and this opinion has held its ground even till now. But as there is no ground for it in the New Testament, so JOSEPHUS is silent upon it; merely saying that they rejected the Pharisaic traditions. It was because the Pentateuch was regarded by all classes as the fundamental source of the Hebrew religion, and all the succeeding books of the Old Testament but as developments of it, that our Lord would show that even there the doctrine of the Resurrection was taught. And all the rather does He select this passage, as being not a bare annunciation of the doctrine in question, but as expressive of that glorious truth out of which the Resurrection springs. "And when the multitude heard this" (says Mt 22:23), "they were astonished at His doctrine." "Then," adds Lu 20:39, 40, "certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said"--enjoying His victory over the Sadducees. "And after that they durst not ask Him any [question at all]"--neither party could; both being for the time utterly foiled.
The Great Commandment (Mr 12:28-34).
"But when the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together" (Mt 22:34).
28. And one of the scribes--"a lawyer," says Matthew
that is, teacher of the law.
29. And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments
is--The readings here vary considerably. TISCHENDORF and TREGELLES read
simply, "the first is"; and they are followed by MEYER and ALFORD. But though the
authority for the precise form of the received text is slender, a form
almost identical with it seems to have most weight of authority. Our
Lord here gives His explicit sanction to the distinction between
commandments of a more fundamental and primary character,
and commandments of a more dependent and subordinate
nature; a distinction of which it is confidently asserted by a certain
class of critics that the Jews knew nothing, that our Lord and His
apostles nowhere lay down, and which has been invented by Christian
30. And thou shalt--We have here the language of law,
expressive of God's claims. What then are we here bound down to
do? One word is made to express it. And what a word! Had the essence of
the divine law consisted in deeds, it could not possibly have
been expressed in a single word; for no one deed is comprehensive of
all others embraced in the law. But as it consists in an affection
of the soul, one word suffices to express it--but only one.
Fear, though due to God and enjoined by Him, is limited
in its sphere and distant in character. Trust, hope, and
the like, though essential features of a right state of heart towards
God, are called into action only by personal necessity, and so
are--in a good sense, it is true, but still are
properly--selfish affections; that is to say, they have respect
to our own well-being. But LOVE is an
all-inclusive affection, embracing not only every other
affection proper to its object, but all that is proper to be
done to its object; for as love spontaneously seeks to please
its object, so, in the case of men to God, it is the native well spring
of a voluntary obedience. It is, besides, the most personal of
all affections. One may fear an event, one may hope for an
event, one may rejoice in an event; but one can love only
a Person. It is the tenderest, the most unselfish,
the most divine of all affections. Such, then, is the affection
in which the essence of the divine law is declared to consist.