Through the Bible Day by Day
And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
JESUS SILENCES HIS ENEMIES
Our Lord reviews the history of the theocracy. He recounts the long roll of God’s servants who had been persecuted and misused from the first to the last, including Himself. In doing so, He openly implied that He was the Son of God and made the Pharisees realize how clearly He foresaw the fate which they were preparing for Him. They were accustomed to apply Psa_118:22 to the Messiah, and recognized at once what Jesus meant, when He claimed it as an emblem of His own rejection.
How admirably our Lord defined the relations of His Kingdom to the civil power! If we accept Caesar’s protection and ordered government we are bound to maintain it by money payment and such other service as conscience permits. This indeed is part of our duty to God; and with equal care we must give Him the dues of the spiritual world.
Jesus silenced the Sadducees by a quotation from the Pentateuch, whose authority they admitted. God could not be the God of persons not in existence. Therefore since He used the present tense of His relationship with the patriarchs in speaking to Moses three hundred years after their death, they must have been still in existence.
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
To the young ruler our Lord named one command as great-the love of one’s neighbor. Now, in answer to this scribe, he turned with unerring choice, first to Deu_6:4-5, and then to Lev_19:18, for the two pillars on which the collective and individual life of man must rest. The reverent answer of the scribe proves that he was no ordinary questioner; and our Lord acknowledged this when He told him that a few steps more would bring him into the kingdom of God. Our Lord was David’s son by human descent, but as Son of God, proceeding from the Father, He is exalted far above David and all mankind.
In terrible words, Mar_12:38-40, Christ denounced the moral and religious leaders of the time. They made a pretense and a gain of their religion. How great the contrast between them and this poor widow, who cast into God’s treasury all that she had to provide for her day’s living! Our Lord is quick to notice acts like these, which give evidence of the true heart.