And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?”
Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’ “
And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and that there is no other but he, and to love him with all the heart, and all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any question.
And Sadducees came to him, who say there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the wife, and raise up children for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no children, and the second took her, and died, and the third likewise; and the seventh left no children. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seventh had her as wife.”
Jesus said to them, “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in Heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ He is not God of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”
And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to entrap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”
But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a coin, and let me look at it.”
And they brought one.
And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”
They said to him, “Caesar’s.”
Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
And they were amazed at him.
Why does Mark (like the other synoptic writers) show Jesus quoting this line at the Temple?
As I said, it’s from Psalm 118. If you read this, you will find that the beginning seems to be stage directions for various groups to speak in the liturgy of a royal entrance to the Temple. Toward the end, “Bind the festal procession with branches up to the horns of the altar,” is probably a reference to the Feast of Tabernacles where the king is supposed to come to the Temple to read what Deuteronomy says about his place in the scheme of things.
If Jesus is referring to a portion of the psalm, his hearers are familiar with the rest. “Blessed be he who enters in the name of the Lord!”–the anointed king, that is–is also from this psalm.
He is implying a claim to royal honors while the priestly hierarchy, their leader appointed by the Romans (and his ceremonial robes kept in Roman custody) feel put on the spot by this demand. Whatever they do is likely to bring trouble, from either the Romans or their own countrymen, whom they are supposed to be keeping in (Roman) order.
Let me sing a song for my beloved,
a love song concerning his vineyard.
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
He digged it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it
and hewed out a wine vat in it
and he looked for it to yield grapes
but it yielded wild grapes.
And now, oh inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah,
judge, I pray you, between me
and my vineyard.
What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes
why did it yield wild grapes?
And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall
and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed
and briers and thorns shall grow up;
I shall also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
are his pleasant planting–
and he looked for justice,
but behold, bloodshed!–
but behold, a cry!
Woe to those who join house to house,
who add field to field
until there is no more room
and you are made to dwell alone
in the midst of the land.
The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing;
surely many houses shall be desolate,
large and beautiful houses
For ten acres of vineyard shall yield
but one bath,
and a homer of seed shall yield
but an ephah.
Woe to those who rise early in the morning
that they may run after strong drink,
who tarry long into the evening
til wine inflames them!
They have lyre and harp,
timbrel and flute and wine at their feasts;
they do not regard the deeds of the Lord
or see the work of his hands.
Therefore my people go into exile
for want of knowledge;
their honored men are dying of hunger
and their multitude is parched with thirst,
Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite
and opened its mouth beyond measure,
and the multitude go down,
her throng and he who exults in her.
Man is bowed down and men are brought low
and the eyes of the haughty are humbled
for the Lord of hosts its exalted in justice,
and the holy God shows
himself holy in righteousness.
Then shall the lambs graze as in their pastures;
fatlings and kids shall feed among the ruins.
Woe to those who draw iniquity
with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin with as with cart ropes,
who say “Let Him make haste,
let Him speed His work
that we may see it;
let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near
and let it come, that we may see it!”
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and shrewd in their own sight!
Woe to those who are heroes
at drinking wine
and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe
and deprive the innocent of his right!
Therefore, as the tongue of fire
devours the stubble
and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will be as rottenness,
and their blossum go up like dust;
for they have rejected the law
of the Lord of hosts
and have despised the word
of the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore the anger of the Lord
was kindled against his people
and he stretched out his hand against them
and smote them;
and the mountains quaked,
and their corpses were as refuse
in the midst of the streets.
For all this his anger is not turned away
and his hand is stretched out still.
He will raise a signal for a nation afar off
and whistle for it from the ends of the earth;
and lo, swiftly, speedily it comes!
None is weary; none stumbles;
none slumbers or sleeps;
not a waistcloth is loose
nor a sandal-thong broken;
their arrows are sharp;
all their bows bent;
their horses’ hooves seem like flint
and their wheels like the whirlwind.
Their roaring is like a lion;
Like young lions they roar.
They growl and seize their prey;
they carry it off and none can rescue.
They will growl over it on that day
like the roaring of the sea.
And if one look to the land,
behold, darkness and distress;
and the light is dwindled by clouds.
And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants and went into another country.
“When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruits of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him, and sent him home empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed, and so with many others; some they beat and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
“But some tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
“What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others.
“Have you not read this scripture?:
‘The very stone which the builders rejected
is become the head of the corner;
this was the Lord’s doing
and it is marvelous in our eyes!'”
And they tried to arrest him, but feared the multitude, for they perceived that he had told the parable against the; so they left him and went away.
And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they asked, “By what authority are you doing these things?–Who gave you the authority to do them?”
Jesus said to them, “I will ask you a question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from Heaven or from men? Answer me!”
And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From Heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From men’?” They were afraid of the people, for all held that John was a real prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.”
And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.
“Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
“And wherever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”