PONTIFEX MAXIMUS

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Study on the encounter of Christ with the Pharisees, the Herodians and the Sadducees-  When reading the Bible there is so much depth to every passage and every word even.   As a believer I would glance over these passages and not understand their full meaning, and this is the easy stuff!  I understand why so many unbelievers harden their hearts when just reading one verse on the internet and dismiss the rest, one verse theology is a license to invent.  You must take the whole Bible into account, it is an integrated message.

13)”And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.”

—-The common threat had forced two traditional enemies to unite: The Pharisees, the nationalistic legalists; and, The Herodians, the sold-out liberals. The former were unalterably opposed to any foreign overlordship, while the latter were supporters of the foreign government of the Herods. The Herodians supported the family of Herod as well as the Romans who gave them the power to rule. The Pharisees considered the Herod clan to be evil usurpers of the throne of David: Herod was an Edomite, not even a Jew. The Pharisees opposed the poll tax that the Romans had inflicted on Judea and they resented the very presence of Rome in their land.

14)”And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?”

Their words dripped with insincere flattery, but were aimed at setting a subtle trap: He was ostensibly snared to offend either: the Jewish population or the Roman leadership

15) Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, why tempt ye me? Bring me a penny, that I may see it.

“…penny”: a denarius: a small silver coin of 3.8 grams. One side bore the head of Caesar and the abbreviated inscription:

 

  1. CAESAR DIVI AVG. G. AVGVSTVS

“Tiberius Caesar, son of the divine Augustus, Augustus”

 

The reverse was inscribed:

PONTIFEX MAXIMUS

“Chief Priest”

 

[This still remains a title of the Pope, in contrast to 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 4:14, 15; et al.]

16) And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s.

17) And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marveled at him.

“…Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars”…: Astonishing reply! Some have regarded it as the single most influential political statement ever made in the history of the world. “…render” = avpodi,dwmi apodidomito : pay a debt; to pay back (Cf. Rom 13; 1 Tim 2:1-6; 1 Pet 2:13-17).

 Coinage was regarded the property of the government that minted it. They were already accepting Caesar’s authority or they would not be using his money. The state is a valid institution (even when it is controlled by a man who thinks he is god!) Being created in the image of God, we are under God’s Authority as well! He has total ownership of us all!

Next up come the Sadducees

18) Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying

The Sadducees did not believe in the existence of the soul, life after death, resurrection, final judgment, angels or demons. They did, however, accept the Torah, the books of Moses. Most of them were wealthy; the religious aristocrats. This is the only place in Mark where the Sadducees are mentioned. Nowhere is it recorded (that I am aware of) did any of these “liberals” come to faith. Many of the Pharisees and priests did.

19) Master, Moses wrote unto us, if a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him and leave no children that his brother should take his wife and raise up seed unto his brother.

 This hypothetical question was based on the law of levirate marriage (Deut 25:5-10). From Latin levir “husband’s brother;” the practice or requirement of marriage of a widow to the brother of her deceased husband. This custom was practiced in ancient Jewish society and is common in parts of Africa today.

20) Now there were seven brethren; and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.

21) And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed; and the third likewise.

22) And the seven had her, and left no seed: Last of all the woman died also.

23) In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? For the seven had her to wife.

 You can imagine them plotting for days for this opportunity to show all around that this was no Prophet much less the Messiah. We will fool him in front of everyone, regardless of miracles, which we have seen in our own eyes. This was pride that they had- the Pharisees and Herodians had their chance now let us set a trap. Jesus responds the same way he responded to Satan during the temptations- thru the Scripture, the Bible (Old Testament)-

 24) And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God?

 Jesus pointed out their ignorance of two things; 1) the truth of Scripture, and 2) the Power of God.

 25) For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

 26) And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

 “Have ye not read”: The question expects an affirmative answer, for Christ knew well that these Sadducees were thoroughly familiar with the Pentateuch. He referred them specifically to Ex 3:6, quoting the LXX (the Septuagint). The Sadducees accepted only the Torah: so Jesus nails this one from Exodus 3:6! The Torah- God didn’t use the Past tense: He States “I am the God of Abraham, et al.”

 He is pointing out the patriarchs were alive when those words were spoken: the Torah does, thus, teach that there is life after death! The covenant promises were eternal

 Origen pointed out in the second century that is ridiculous for God to say that he is the God of men who have no existence!

 27) He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

 Ouch- The Sadducees—the liberals of that day—did not know Scripture or the power of God. What about us? Resurrection is the signature of my soul.

 

Excerpts from Chuck Missler exposition on the Book of Mark