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Summary Chapter twelve continues the discussion of Jesus' authority, beginning with a parable of a rich landlord who had rented his vineyard to some farmers in agreement for a portion of the vineyard's produce.  The landlord sends servants to claim the rent, but they are abused, some wounded, and some even killed.  The landlord next sends his son to claim payment; the son, also, is killed.  The landlord himself, now with government backing, will come authorized to take what is his.  This leads directly into the discussion of paying Caesar's poll-tax.  This is a political question, and it is followed by a theological question concerning the resurrection.  Jesus grounds his answer in scripture; the next question about which commandment is greatest is genuine and raised by a teacher of the law.  Jesus asks the next question, directing it to the teachers of the law, asking them concerning the messianic title Son of David. The last two episodes both discuss the sincerity of the act: the scribes are condemned for outward show while the widow is commended for giving everything she has.


Pasted from <http://crain.english.missouriwestern.edu/Mark/newpage18.htm>


In contrast to Short's conclusion in the previous chapter about Jesus' superior authority as Son, the Jewish Encyclopedia, suggests an alternative interpretation:


The parable of the faithless husbandmen and the vineyard (Mark xii. 1 et seq.) certainly does not bear out the assumption that Jesus described himself as the "son of God" in a specific theological sense. The parable recalls the numerous "son" stories in the Midrash, in which "son" is employed just as it is here, and generally in similar contrast to servants. If these considerations create a strong presumption in favor of the view that the original gospel did not contain the title, the other Synoptics do not veil the fact that all men are destined to be God's children (Matt. v. 45; Luke vi. 35). The term is applied in Matt. v. 9 to the peacemakers. God is referred to as the "Father" of the disciples in Matt. x. 29, xxiii. 9, and Luke xii. 32. Several parables illustrate this thought (Luke xv. 11 et seq. and Matt. xxi. 28 et seq.). Much has been made of the distinction said to appear in the pronouns connected with "Father," "our" and "your" appearing when the disciples are addressed, while "my" is exclusively reserved to express the relation with Jesus, and then, too, without the further qualification "who art [or "is"] in heaven" (see Dalman, "Worte Jesu," pp. 157, 230). But in the Aramaic this distinction is certainly not pronounced enough to warrant the conclusion that a different degree or kind of sonship is conveyed by the singular pronoun from what would be expressed by the plural. In the Aramaic the pronoun would not appear at all, "Abba" indiscriminately serving for the apostrophe both in the prayer of a single individual and in the prayer of several.


Pasted from <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13912-son-of-god>


Michael Turton concludes the first twelve verses of Mark 12 have on likely historicity, quoting scholarship to the effect that the story is drawn from Isaiah 5--and from the Septuagint rather than a targum, this important to whether the story can go back to Jesus. He quotes Alfred Loisy to the direction of an interpolation:



v1: Alfred Loisy (1962) argued that this parable was an interpolation, noting:



"Between [11:27-33] and this conclusion someone has intercalated the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (12:1-11), a short apocalypse which turns on the fall of Jerusalem, the evangelisation of the pagans, and on the assumption of Jesus into glory; a fragment of apologetic in the style of the discourses attributed in Acts to the first Christian preachers, and even ending with the usual quotation of the apologists (Psalm 143, 22-23). This must be the work of some Christian prophet, utilized at first as the conclusion of the Jerusalem ministry (note the correspondence of 12:12a with 14:1-2) before being replaced for that purpose by the great apocaplytic discourse (Ch. 13)." (p. 109).


Turton further argues for Christian influence in the "cornerstone" and for a possible pun in the close proximity of meaning in the Hebrew for "stone" and "son":


v10-11: cites Psalm 118. The proverb was not originally intended as a messianic prediction but was read as such by early Christians. Another signal of Markan creation off the OT. The phrase "has become the cornerstone" is highly controversial, for the Greek can mean either cornerstone or capstone (bottommost or topmost stone) (Donahue and Harrington, p340).


v10: Psalm 118 was written during Maccabaean period. This is the second use of this Psalm in this sequence of events; it was one of the Hallel Psalms (113-118) that celebrate the entrance, Messiah-style, of Simon Maccabaeus into the Holy City.


v10: in Hebrew the word for stone (eben) is similar to the word for son (ben). Perhaps there is a pun here.


12: And they tried to arrest him, but feared the multitude, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them; so they left him and went away.


v12: This verse, in conjunction with the beginning drawn entirely from the Septaugint Isaiah, shows that the parable was most probably created by Mark to serve his narrative purpose of painting the chief priests and scribes as the bad guys.


Concerning "son," a lexicon explains in the following way:


son rarely used for the young of animals generally used of the offspring of men in a restricted sense, the male offspring (one born by a father and of a mother) in a wider sense, a descendant, one of the posterity of any one, the children of Israel sons of Abraham used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower a pupil son of man term describing man, carrying the connotation of weakness and mortality son of man, symbolically denotes the fifth kingdom in Daniel 7:13 and by this term its humanity is indicated in contrast with the barbarity and ferocity of the four preceding kingdoms (the Babylonian, the Median and the Persian, the Macedonian, and the Roman) typified by the four beasts. In the book of Enoch (2nd Century) it is used of Christ. used by Christ himself, doubtless in order that he might intimate his Messiahship and also that he might designate himself as the head of the human family, the man, the one who both furnished the pattern of the perfect man and acted on behalf of all mankind. Christ seems to have preferred this to the other Messianic titles, because by its lowliness it was least suited to foster the expectation of an earthly Messiah in royal splendour. son of God used to describe Adam (Lk. 3: used to describe those who are born again (Lk. 20: and of angels and of Jesus Christ of those whom God esteems as sons, whom he loves, protects and benefits above others in the OT used of the Jews in the NT of Christians those whose character God, as a loving father, shapes by chastisements (Heb. 12:5- those who revere God as their father, the pious worshippers of God, those who in character and life resemble God, those who are governed by the Spirit of God, repose the same calm and joyful trust in God which children do in their parents (Rom. 8:14, Gal. 3:26 ), and hereafter in the blessedness and glory of the life eternal will openly wear this dignity of the sons of God. Term used preeminently of Jesus Christ, as enjoying the supreme love of God, united to him in affectionate intimacy, privy to his saving councils, obedient to the Father's will in all his acts son(s)85, Son of Man+( 444 )&version=kjv87 {TDNT8:400,1210}, Son of God+( 2316 )49, child(ren)49, Son42, his Son+( 848 )21, Son of David+( 1138 )15 {TDNT8:478,1210}, mybeloved Son+( 27 ) +33507, thy Son+( 4575 )5, only begotten Son+( 3339 )3, his (David's)son+( 846 )3, firstborn son+( 4316 )2, miscellaneous14

Lexicons - New Testament Greek Lexicon - New Testament Greek Lexicon - King James Version - Huios


Pasted from <http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?q=%22Beloved%20Son%22%20Mark&s=References&ps=10>



As a transition into this chapter, the discussion in chapter eight should be recalled concerning the several possible meanings for "Son of God": hellenistic figure  (Bultmann), servant (Cullman), distinct to history of Jesus (Grundmann), sonship of believers present and future (Hay)--Jesus becoming the "Son of  God in word and deed, Divine Man (Kingsbury) by reason of wisdom and virtue or by performing miracles with a trajectory ending at the second coming of Jesus as "Royal Son of God," and Jesus as Israel and Messiah and the Messiah of the One God.


Herbert W. Bateman, IV, in  "Defining the titles  'Christ' and 'Son of God' in Mark's Narrative Presentation of Jesus" (JETS 50/3 ,September 2007, 537–59) describes the real issue as relating to the "divinity of Jesus" and asks whether later creeds of church cloud earlier writings such as Mark:


“Have the church’s creeds, confessional statements, and later systems of theology concerning the deity of Jesus clouded our ability to make unbiased interpretations of an earlier and not-so-developed usage of the titles ‘Christ’ and ‘Son of God’ in a

 NT book such as the Gospel of Mark?”


Bateman then lays out a three-fold structure in Mark related to these titles, echoing some of the scholarship discussed in chapter eight:


As Mark’s rendition of the good news about Jesus unfolds, the titles “Christ” and “Son of God” serve as pivotal confessions in the narrative first spoken by a Jewish disciple (8:29) and then by a Roman soldier (15:39). Moving beyond their literary significance, however, they are also pivotal in defining Mark’s explicit portrayal of Jesus. Whereas the one confession appears to rest upon the miraculous acts of Jesus (1:14–8:21),4 the other is grounded in Jesus’ suffering and death (11:1–16:8).


After Mark’s title (1:1) and introduction (1:2–13), the narrative may be divided into three major sections: (1) The Miraculous Ministry in Galilee and Beyond (1:14–8:21); (2) The Passion Predictions “On the Way” (8:22–10:52); and (3) The Temple and the Cross in Jerusalem (11:1– 16:8). Whereas Mark 1:14–8:21 contains fourteen miracle stories, the third major section of Mark 11:1–16:8 has only one miracle of Jesus (the cursing of the fig tree in 11:12–14, 20–23). Jesus’ miraculous ministry appears to serve as a basis for Peter’s confession in 8:29.



Bateman answers his own question clearly after sorting through some of the scholarship on the issue: Mark presents Jesus as "'the Christ' who was empowered by God via his Spirit to teach and act with authority of God's royal 'Son'" (558).  In answer to his earlier question, he says that it is not necessary "to impose a Incan definition to the title 'Son of God, '" thus, to address the deity of Jesus.


In review of scholarship, he remarks a predisposition on the part of scholars to impose some theology concerning "Son of God" (Notes 539) Neander, he says, interprets Son of God in a sense which cannot be predicated of any human being," as a source of divine life for a humanity "estranged" from God (1851). Dorina, more recently, supposed Jesus as "self-conscious of his deity via the culmination of implict acts within the Synoptic Gospel"  (1994)  He understands James R. Edwards (2002) as seeing "The divine Sonship of Jesus as the theological keystone to the Gospel of Mark," so designated at the baptism and transfiguration. He also sees Donahue and Herrington as well as James A. Brooks as in line with this interpretation (1991). Son of God, he says, also has been viewed as having a Jewish-Hellinistic origin, positively by Rudolf Bultmann (1951), and coming to have a negative interpretation, with Mark writing to counteract the divine man concept (Weeden, 1971). Other scholars, he identifies as saying the concept was not well defined (Otto Betz, 1972;Carl H. Hollady, 1977; and Jack Dean Kingsbury, 1983).


In reviewing Mark's use of Christ,  Bateman says "Mark consistently uses the human name 'Jesus' throughout his gospel for the historical Jesus (541), using it some 82 times; he points out, on the other hand, that Christ is used sparingly (only 7 times). He finds "Jesus Christ" as occurring only once (1:1). Because "Christ" is employed in Peter's confession, it "appears to serve as a central confessional title for Jesus" (8:29). Peter, he remarks, knows "the Christ" through miraculous ministry (542), an expectation in keeping with first-century Jewish beliefs, yet Jesus corrects Peter's misunderstanding and teaches the disciples about the "suffering Christ." The entire section (Mark 1:14 - 8:21) presents Jesus as a "superior miracle worker" (542). Bateman goes on to show that "Son of David" is used in the second major section (8:22-10:22) on the way to Jerusalem and the celebration of the Passover. Bateman makes the point that Bartimaeus is encountered by Jesus "along the side of the road," but after the healing, follows him "on the way" to Jerusalem where Jesus would suffer and die (543). Here, as in Mark 1:1, "'the Christ' and of David' are in apposition to the name of 'Jesus'" (543), making these, perhaps, synonymous titles for Jesus. Son of David itself could be used as a "polite title" for any Jew or a "hoped-for anointed figure." Furthermore, since in Mark 12:35-37, Davidic sonship speaks of kingship, "'son of David' [would seem to be] another expression for 'the Christ,'" as one and not many (543). Bateman says the Bartimaeus story reveals a "self-denying Son of David," who takes time to extend mercy, portraying the spirit of discipleship and servanthood.


Bateman next takes up the question of whether Son of God is used as an alternate expression of Christ, invoking messianic overtones as opposed to divinity. He notes three uses of "Son of God": to refer to Adam, God's angels, and God's chosen people Israel, God's chosen leaders, and God's chosen king from the line of David (545), noting that the use of Psalms 2:7 makes the last usage most likely. He then examines the "Son of God" declarations by God, designations by demons, and the demand by the high priest for Jesus to examine himself in light of possible divinity. He interprets the baptism as "in keeping with first-century Jewish expectation" and as serving to endorse, commission, and empower Jesus for the ministry as "the Christ" (547). Strategically placed at the beginning of the second section (8:22-10:52) and Peter's confession (8:29), Bateman sees the transfiguration as providing further credence about Jesus' message concerning he cross; he says the significance is three-fold: pointing to an association with two highly exalted prophets, confirming a divine commission as "the Christ," and serving as a divine authentication of the Passion (549). The disciples are instructed to listen to the "royal son." 


He next examines whether the declarations by demons also supports "the son" as Jesus and "the Christ," more explicitly, whether they know him merely as God's chosen son, "Christ," or as "the divine Son" (550). The first encounter contrasts Jesus, who bears God's holy Spirit to a man who bears a n "unclean spirit" (1:2-13). Thus, as God's Son, the baptism serves as the commissioning of Jesus to serve as "the Christ" (551). Likewise, "the Holy One of God," through extensive references also refers to Jesus as "set apart" for the messianic mission. Occasioned within a Jewish synagogue, it should not be surprising to hear a command of silence in light of expectation that "a Messiah figure would purge the land and its people of all impurity and that he would rule in righteousness" (551). In Gentile territory, the admonition to silence disappears, Jesus is recognized as "Son of the Most High God," a worker of wonders. In Mark 3:11-12, the question must be asked whether the declaration of "You are the Son of God" refer to divine Son. Bateman says the utterance closely parallels the baptism recognition of Jesus as God's chosen Son, "the Christ" (554). In summary, Bateman understands the demons' declarations of "Son of David," "Son of God," "Son of the Most High," and "Holy One of God" as speaking directly to Jesus as "the Christ" but less clearly indicating any knowledge of Jesus being "a divine Son" (554). He further concludes that the high priest's use of "Blessed One" (Mark 14:53-65) represents "merely a variation of Mark's title 'Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God" (555). The charge of blasphemy arises from the quotation to Old Testament scripture of Psalms 110:1 and Daniel 7:13 that "you shall see the son of man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." Nonetheless, Bateman concludes that the declaration cannot be used to say that Jesus claimed "ontological or functional equality with God" but rather that the title is to "royal messianic figure" as typically used by first-century Jews. The charge of blasphemy possibly stems from going against or insulting the chosen leaders of Israel as opposed to using the divine name of God or showing arrogant disrespect for God (556). Further, the exaltation of the "yet living" to eschatological privilege could also have brought about the claim of blasphemy.


Bateman, in conclusion, says that Mark presents  Jesus as "the Christ" though divine authentication, commissioning, and empowerment for the ministry and that the titles all are straight-forward references to Jesus as "the Christ" (557). Bateman states, importantly, that "Scripture supports the Christian orthodox doctrine that Jesus, the exalted Christ, was and is God" but returns to his earlier supposition that "Son of God" as presenting Jesus to be the ontologically and functionally second personhood of God leads to a biased reading of the way Mark presents "the Christ." Bateman concludes, quoting N.T. Wright:


"Mark tells the story of Jesus as the story of a Galilean prophet, announcing the kingdom of Israel's God, summoning Israel to change her direction, that is, to repent (1:15, 6:4)." Mark, however, takes the concept a step further and extends the suffering to those who dare to follow Jesus... We follow because he calls us, appoints us, and sends us... to go obediently and to serve...


Chapter twelve next raises the question of authority, and the nature of the contest here is clearly political:


13 Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. 14 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. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? 15 Should we pay them, or should we not?" But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it." 16 And they brought one. Then he said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose title?" They answered, "The emperor's." 17 Jesus said to them, "Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were utterly amazed at him.


Verse fifteen reveals that the Pharisees and Herodians in this story hypocritically ask a question to trap Jesus rather than to learn any truth, a motive Jesus perceives and turns on edge: the coin bears the image of the emperor, and clearly belongs to him, but human beings made in God's image clearly owe their allegiance to God. In his review of existing scholarship about this particular story, Michael Turton makes several insightful leads to what the story should mean in the existing context. The Herodians and the Pharisees, he observes, disappear from Mark after this reference, suggesting Markan redaction. The hypocrisy emerges from the beginning when these parties believe they are lying in identifying Jesus as a teacher of truth--only to have the truth of their statement revealed, similar to the soldiers' calling Jesus "King" and thinking this is false.


v16: As Donahue and Harrington (2002, p345) point out, the coin would likely have been a denarius of Tiberius, full of imperial titles which could imply divine power. Tolbert (1989, p251) points out that the likeness is an important key to understand the suppressed minor premise of the argument Jesus is making: just as the denarius carries the words and image of Caesar, so humans are made in the word and image of God (this argument actually originated with Tertullian). Thus, as we render onto Caesar what is Caesar's so we should render unto God what is God's. This type of argument is known as an enthymeme and was extremely common in antiquity.


Turton concludes:


v17: Jesus does not even deign to give a clear answer to the question. In the usual Markan fashion, Jesus' adversaries do not press him for an elaboration, nor, despite being experienced quibblers and wits themselves, do they take a quill from their own quiver and direct it at Jesus. The depiction of the Pharisees in Mark is historically implausible.