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When Priorities Are Challenged       Mark 12:13-17, 28-34     Feb. 07, 2010


       It is fun to witness a debate where a Christian is challenged mentally and see him win the debate because of his dependence upon the wisdom God gave him. When I attended a secular university I felt overwhelmed by the number of people who seemed to be so brilliant. When I arrived at seminary I applauded the Lord for the number of very intelligent men and women He has speaking for Him. We do not need to fear an intellectual challenge from the non-Christian crowd. We simply need to follow the Lord’s example When Priorities Are Challenged. 


1.    When Priorities Are Challenged About Government; Respond With . . Surety. Mk. 12:13-17

       A.   Surety Illustrating Your . . Confidence. 12:13-16

13 Then they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to Him to trap Him by what He said.

       14 When they came, they said to Him, "Teacher, we know You are truthful and defer to no one, for You

       don't show partiality but teach truthfully the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?

       15 Should we pay, or should we not pay?" But knowing their hypocrisy, He said to them, "Why are you

       testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at."

       16 So they brought one. "Whose image and inscription is this?" He asked them. "Caesar's," they said.


       B.   Surety Illustrating Your . . Common Sense. 12:17

17 Then Jesus told them, "Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him.

       Christians can be confident in the Lord and the wisdom He gives when they are intellectually challenged.

This confidence needs to be evidenced in the continence displayed as we trust in the Lord and not in ourselves.

I remember a story about a rather haughty man who people thought to be intelligent, and as they stood around

this man said, “I just can’t believe there is a God.” It so happened the so called dummy in town spoke up in a poor English style and said, “you know I can’t believe either.” The second response negated the first. Jesus responded to the Herodians in confidence and then gave a common sense answer to them. I like the statement in verse 34 as the Bible says, “And no one dared to question Him any longer.” What a smart move on their part!


2.    When Priorities Are Challenged About Godly Matters; Respond With . . Scripture. Mk. 12:28-31

       A.   Scripture . . Well Known To All. 12:28-30

28 One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?"

              29 "This is the most important," Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One.

              30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your



       B.   Scripture . . Wisely Chosen. 12:31

31 "The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."

       Matters related to God must be settled from the scriptures which are the source of authority. You can prove almost anything you want about God if you do not pay attention to God’s Word. The Lord said about these kind of people, “ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” ( Mt 23:15 KJV). Jesus chose scripture well known to the Herodians. Obviously we may also say Jesus chose this scripture wisely. This certainly is a reason for all of us to memorize scripture. One of the men in our church drives an hour to work and he uses the time to memorize scriptures. He will become prepared to respond wisely.


3.    When Priorities Are Challenged And Then Complimented; Respond With . . Support. Mk. 12:32-34

       A.   Support For The . . Correctness Of The Answers. 12:32-33

32 Then the scribe said to Him, "You are right, Teacher! You have correctly said that He is One, and there is no one else except Him.

              33 And to love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to

              love your neighbor as yourself, is far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices."


       B.   Support For The . . Closeness Of The Answers. 12:32-33

34 When Jesus saw that he answered intelligently, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And no one dared to question Him any longer. HCSB

       We can be positive about the final response of at least some of the scribes as they compliment Jesus for His answers. Jesus knew they were trying to trip Him up, and asked, “Why are you testing me.” We can judge that this scribe who complimented Jesus was more congenial. Jesus said this man was not far from the kingdom but to have correct answers without a commitment will only make you closer to heaven. Commitment to Jesus as Lord is required to get into heaven. When Priorities Are Challenged never lower the standard of commitment to Jesus. Amen? Amen!. (For a more detailed outline go to: