November 2, Matthew 22, Mark 12

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22 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to summon those invited to the banquet, but they didn’t want to come. Again, he sent out other servants and said, ‘Tell those who are invited: See, I’ve prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

“But they paid no attention and went away, one to his own farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged, and he sent out his troops, killed those murderers, and burned down their city.

“Then he told his servants, ‘The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go then to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.’ 10 So those servants went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests. 11 When the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to trap him by what he said. 16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are truthful and teach truthfully the way of God. You don’t care what anyone thinks nor do you show partiality. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

18 Perceiving their malicious intent, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” They brought him a denarius. 20 “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked them.

21 “Caesar’s,” they said to him.

Then he said to them, “Give, then, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

23 That same day some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came up to him and questioned him: 24 “Teacher, Moses said, if a man dies, having no children, his brother is to marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first got married and died. Having no offspring, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second also, and the third, and so on to all seven. 27 Last of all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, then, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had married her.”

29 Jesus answered them, “You are mistaken, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. 31 Now concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God: 32 I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

33 And when the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. 35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”

37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

41 While the Pharisees were together, Jesus questioned them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

They replied, “David’s.”

43 He asked them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’:

44 The Lord declared to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies under your feet’?

45 “If David calls him ‘Lord,’ how, then, can he be his son?” 46 No one was able to answer him at all, and from that day no one dared to question him anymore.

Mark 12

12 He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away. At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them. But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent another servant to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully. Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenant farmers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill the farmers and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this Scripture:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
11 This came about from the Lord
and is wonderful in our eyes?”

12 They were looking for a way to arrest him but feared the crowd because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. So they left him and went away.

13 Then they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to Jesus to trap him in his words. 14 When they came, they said to him, “Teacher, we know you are truthful and don’t care what anyone thinks, nor do you show partiality but teach the way of God truthfully. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”

15 But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” 16 They brought a coin. “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked them.

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

17 Jesus told them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him.

18 Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and questioned him: 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife behind but no child, that man should take the wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers. The first married a woman, and dying, left no offspring. 21 The second also took her, and he died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 None of the seven left offspring. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be, since the seven had married her?”

24 Jesus spoke to them, “Isn’t this the reason why you’re mistaken: you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised—haven’t you read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God said to him: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob27 He is not the God of the dead but of the living. You are badly mistaken.”

28 One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which command is the most important of all?”

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. 31 The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”

32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, teacher. You have correctly said that he is one, and there is no one else except him. 33 And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to question him any longer.

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he asked, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 David himself says by the Holy Spirit:

The Lord declared to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies under your feet.’

37 David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How, then, can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.

38 He also said in his teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who want to go around in long robes and who want greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the best seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher judgment.”

41 Sitting across from the temple treasury, he watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two tiny coins worth very little. 43 Summoning his disciples, he said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had —all she had to live on.”

Love your neighbor as yourself. It is much easier said than done. It begs the question..who is my neighbor? Is it those who live on the same street or in the same subdivision as me? Yes, but that is not the exhaustive list of who your neighbor is. Your neighbor, as Jesus would define it, is humanity. Your neighbor is every human you come in contact with. So when Jesus says love your neighbor as yourself, he is essentially saying, “Love those who I have died for as you love yourself.” This means we love those we don’t agree with. We love those who are unlovable. We love them as a response to the love Jesus has shown us.

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