A Day of Controversy.
SUMMARY.--The Vineyard and the Wicked Husbandmen.
Prophecy of the Calling of the Gentiles.
The Herodians and Pharisees.
Tribute to Cæsar.
The Sadducees and the Resurrection.
Which Is the Greatest Commandment?
The Son of David David's Lord.
Beware of the Scribes.
The Widow's Mite.
1-12. He began to speak unto them in parables. A series of
parables, given more fully by Matthew, outlining the sins and fate of
the stubborn Jewish nation.
A man planted a vineyard. For notes on this parable, see
13-17. They send certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians.
For notes on the effort to entrap Jesus on the matter of tribute to
18-27. Then come the Sadducees. For notes on this interview with
the Sadducees, see
28-34. One of the scribes came. See notes on
adds that the scribe asked his question, "tempting him;" that is,
Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. This commendation,
not given by Matthew, is given because the scribe had declared that
outward obedience amounted to nothing unless the heart was right.
Pharisaism consisted of forms and paid little attention to love, mercy,
and purity of heart. Alford says: "This man had hold of that principle
in which law and gospel are one. He stood, as it were, at the door of
the kingdom of God. He only wanted (but the want was indeed a serious
one) repentance and faith to be within it. The Lord shows us
here, that even outside his flock, those who can answer discreetly, who
have knowledge of the spirit of the great command of law and
gospel, are nearer to being of his flock than the formalists; but then,
as Bengel adds, 'If thou art not far off, enter; otherwise it were
better than thou wert far off.'"
35-37. How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David? See
Mark adds to Matthew's account,
The common people heard him gladly. Not the Pharisees,
scribes, Sadducees or rulers, but the common people, of whom the
Pharisees were wont to say, "This people who know not the law and are
We have many hints of the favor with which Christ was regarded by the
38-40. Beware of the scribes. Mark gives in three verses his
report of the wonderful discourse recorded in
Matthew, chapter 23.
These three verses are parallel to
Matt. 23:5, 6, 14.
Love to go in long clothing. Peculiar to Mark. Long, flowing
robes, reaching to the feet, similar to those worn by Romish priests,
and were worn by the scribes as a kind of professional attire, in order
to attract attention. When Christ sent his apostles out to preach, he
directed that they should be clothed as the common people
(Mark 6:9; Matt. 10:10).
The scribes, ancient and modern, love display, showing
themselves off in the chief places of concourse. They love appellations
of honor and respect, such as Rabbi, Father, Master, Teacher. Men often
profess a desire to magnify their office, when in truth they want to
magnify themselves. They love robes that advertise to every one that
they are separate from the rest of the people.
41. He sat over against the treasury. This incident of the
widow's mites is omitted by Matthew, but given in
It is given as a contrast to the hypocrisy of the scribes.
Treasury. A name given by the rabbins to thirteen chests, called
trumpets, from their shape, which stood in the court of the women, at
the entrance to the treasure-chamber. "Nine chests were for the
appointed temple tribute, and for the sacrifice-tribute; that is,
money-gifts instead of the sacrifices; four chests for free-will
offerings, for wood, incense, temple decoration, and burnt
Beheld how the people cast money. Jesus still takes note of our
offerings. Before the passover, free-will offerings, in addition to the
temple tax, were made.
42. There came a certain poor widow. Here, as in other places in
the Bible, we must remember the exceedingly depressed and dependent
condition of a poor man's widow in the countries where our Lord was.
The expression is almost proverbial for one very badly off, and most
unlikely to contribute anything to a charitable purpose.
Two mites. The smallest of Jewish coins, about the value of
one-fifth of a cent. It took its name from its extreme smallness, being
derived from an adjective
A farthing. Mark (not Luke) adds for his Roman readers an
explanation, using a Greek word
(taken from the Latin),
meaning the fourth part, as our word "farthing" does. The value is only
of importance as showing upon how minute a gift our Lord pronounced
this splendid panegyric, which might be envied by a Croesus or a
43. Cast more in than all. Note the word
more--proportionately, to-wit, to her means, and thus
more in the estimation of God, who measures quantity by
44. For. The worth of a gift is to be determined, not by
intrinsic value, but by what it costs the giver. The measure of
that cost is what is left, not what is given. For the widow to
give her mites was noble; for one well off to give "his mite" is
All that she had, all her living. Out of her want, out of her
destitution, she has cast in all that (in cash) she possessed--her
whole (present) means of subsistence. In love she devoted all of God,
with strong faith in his providential care.