Do You Know Jesus
Text: Mark 12: 13-37
Proposition: To know Jesus means you no longer try to test Him but rather you begin to listen to Him, to follow Him and you begin for the first time to love Him.
Introduction: I pulled into the local gas station a while ago and had the guy fill the tank on my truck. It came to over $50.00 and when I went inside to pay I suddenly discovered I had left my wallet at home. I offered to leave my watch as security until I could drive home and get the wallet and come back. The manager simply said, ‘It’s okay, I know you.’ I left, went and got the wallet and returned and paid for the gas. Before, he knew what I looked like and that I was nearby. Now he knew me even more because of what had just happened. This morning I want to talk with you about people who know about Jesus, they know they have heard His name, they know what has been said about Him but they don’t know Him directly, they have never trusted Him or trusted in Him. The account we are going to look at this morning takes place on that same Wednesday we were talking about last week, the Wednesday that was two days before the crucifixion of Jesus. Have a look at Mark 12:13-37 as we see a rapid series of encounters with people who to a great degree knew about Jesus but did not know Him.
I. When You Stop Testing and Start Trusting You Begin to Know Jesus.
In verse 13 it says, “Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words.” This was an unlikely alliance, the spiritual heavy weights holding hands with the political pundits, the Pharisees and the Herodians. The question they pose has elements of both groups, “…Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” The politicians wanted to hear Jesus give political support to Rome and indirectly to Herod the puppet ruler for Rome. The Pharisees wanted to hear Jesus kick away any affection or duty towards Rome. But ultimately it was a setup question, one designed to not only test Jesus but to cost Him either public support or Roman discipline. It’s always a dangerous thing to test God because the hook you are trying to put Him on usually ends up being the hook that pierces you. Jesus holds up a denarius coin that had stamped on it, “Tiberius Caesar, the Divine Augustus.” On the back was the title “Pontifex Maximus,” declaring Caesar as the high priest of the Roman Empire. Jesus response is to the point, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” The point was simple, give Rome its 31% tax as that which is due to Rome. Then give to God that things are due Him. It begs the question, ‘What do you owe God?’ The answer in the simplest form is that you owe Him the right to stop testing Him. You owe Him your life, but let’s start small, you owe Him the smallest degree of trust that says this God whom I don’t yet know I need to hear out. I need to trust Him in order to know Him.
II. When You Try to Lure Jesus Into the Ludicrous You Learn Literal Truth.
In these next verses comes an encounter with some Sadducees, a Jewish sect that were mainly from the wealthy class, though many were Pharisees and priests. They did not believe in angels or demons, they didn’t believe in the reality of a resurrection from the dead. So they come to Jesus with a ludicrous argument, a resurrection question. It was about a woman who had been married seven times and each time she had been left a widow. Their question which has the pretense of sincerity asks, “Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.” These Sadducees knew about Jesus but they did not know Him. They did not know that they were speaking with One Who had been where none had ever been and had seen what none had ever seen because He was more than what they thought. Jesus is the Son of God so He tells them things that only God could know. He tells them six things:
1. The Scriptures have been given to us so that we would know the certainties life, death and resurrection. Job 19:25, 26 says, “For I know that my Redeemer lives and He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.”
2. The power of God to do what He says He will do is greater than we can grasp. Omnipotent means all powerful, all means all. The Scriptures are literally God’s statements about what He has done and will do and they describe Who God is.
3.The resurrection will most certainly be for all people, this life is not all there is. For some the resurrection will be for everlasting life, for some everlasting contempt. Eternity in us is a design that God has placed there. Daniel 12:2 says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
4.The angels are an order of beings made by God that do not procreate. They are eternal beings, they aren’t born and they don’t die. They are existent since the time of creation.
5. Procreation and marriage no longer have a purpose in an eternal state. The question of the woman and whose husband she will be is selfishly short sighted.
6. There is an eternal state that exists right now even though the resurrection is yet a future event. God declares that He is presently the God of those we would call long dead, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is their God this very moment meaning there is life after death. Who could know such things but the One Who has been there to witness them. These are statements not just about the resurrection but also about Who Jesus is. This literal truth silences the ludicrous questions meant only for controversy.
III. If You Ask God in All Sincerity For Direction, He Will Answer You.
That’s what happened when yet another scribe came to Him with a question, but this time a real question. “Which is the first commandment of all?” By first he meant which one is the most important. Look at verse 29, 30, “Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Jesus quotes to him the Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4,5. The LORD is one is a statement about the relational identity of the God who said, “Let Us make man in our image.” The Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One God. That One God has made us relational in His image. The highest expression of that is to love God with all of who we are, from the depths of our heart and the clarity of our intelligence. Then we move to loving others with the degree of love that we have for our own well being. Here’s the kicker, for God that kind of love shown first towards Him and then towards others is greater than any other expression of our sacrifice or obedience. In fact all other obedience and sacrifice to God is meant to proceed from this place of first loving God. That’s why Jesus came to this earth, it’s why he was born of a virgin, why He died on a cross for us. 1 John 4:10, 11 says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” That’s the answer to the young man’s question and, by Jesus measure, this fellow was very close to the kingdom of God. The point is simple, if you ask God and are sincere in wanting to know what He desires from you, He will answer you because He wants you to know Him.
IV. Jesus Also Asks a Question, ‘Do You Know Who I Am? ’
Jesus asks the people this question, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?” The answer should have been easy, it’s because the Christ would be a descendent of King David. But then Jesus quotes from Psalm 110, a Psalm David wrote 1000 years earlier, “The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” Jehovah God said to Adoni God, the Father said to the Son, sit at My right hand… The point is simply this, 'If the Christ is the Lord and this conversation between the Father and the Son predated King David then the Christ not only comes from the line of David but also exists before David.' It is in essence a statement about the self-existent eternality of the Christ. It is Jesus saying to them once again, Before David was, before Abraham was, I AM. This is Who Jesus is, outside of time, before all things and in whom all things hold together. This Jesus Christ now calls to you, He Who sees you, Who invites you to see Him by faith calls to you. It is He Who came to take away your sin, even the sin of the world if they would call on Him as their Savior.