Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of Proper 15: Year 1
Morning, Psalm 119:145 to 176; Evening, Psalms 128, 129 and 130;
2nd Samuel 18:19 to 33; Acts 23:23 to 35; Mark 12:13 to 27:
“And they came and said to him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth:” (Mark 12:14)
Our Daily Office Lectionary Reading of Mark is long for today and has two components. There is the issue of whether or not they, or we, should pay the tax. Then there are the Sadducees who do not believe in the resurrection. This is why they are “SAD YOU SEE?” I will try to deal with both.
Jesus walks into human history about five thousand years after we have been using money. Money, especial metal coins have pretty much no shelf life, the coins will last several human life times and therefore can be handed down from generation to generation. And pretty much as long as we have had money we have had public servants who do not work fields or ply the craftsman’s trades. Such public officials are the governing body from Cesar himself right down to the lowest soldier enforcing Roman, or whatever national law or constitution, he or she is instructed to enforce. We need these public servants. We would be hard-pressed to have a community life without them. We also need a reserve for those who have no income. So yes, we should pay the tax. However, our Lord Jesus is right; God does not want the tax. God wants our hearts and souls to be with God for all eternity; which brings us to the next issue, the Resurrection.
Jesus refuses to use the example put before him by the Sadducees regarding the woman who married brothers, all of whom died and finally she died. The question put before Jesus is, “Whose wife will she be in the Resurrection?” Jesus informs them that they don’t understand the scriptures. Life in the Resurrection is independent of human traditions and laws. We are all God’s own in the Resurrection without having the limitations of our mortal restrictions. Jesus uses God’s words about being the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God does not say He “was” the God of them, but rather, “is”, the God of them. They still Live!
I think they spoke correctly when they approached Jesus in the beginning. “And they came and said to him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth:” There was no need to go any further after saying that. Since Jesus teaches the Way of God in accordance with the truth; then they, and we, should be done with any further questions. There should be nothing further to discuss. We should just listen to him and obey the commands to love God and neighbor.
Let us live to love, serve and teach, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying through the saints and to us, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John