What does Mark 12:24 mean?
ESV: Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?
NIV: Jesus replied, 'Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
NASB: Jesus said to them, 'Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures nor the power of God?
CSB: Jesus spoke to them, "Isn't this the reason why you're mistaken: you don't know the Scriptures or the power of God?
NLT: Jesus replied, 'Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.
KJV: And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
Verse Commentary:
Jesus' assertion that the Sadducees do not know the Scriptures is especially biting. The Sadducees, far more than the Pharisees, value a stridently literal interpretation of the Old Testament, specifically the first five books: the Torah. The Pharisees' belief in the resurrection is based on only two obscure prophecies (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2) and a handful of poems (Psalms 16:9–11; 49:15; Job 19:25–26). The Sadducees disbelief in resurrection relies on an argument from silence.

The Sadducees are trying to use the law on levirate marriages, which provide for a young widow with no children, to prove there is no spirit, resurrection, or afterlife. Their attempt centers on following an idea to a ridiculous conclusion: a technique in rhetoric known as a reduction ad absurdam. However, for this technique to be meaningful, the initial assumptions must be correct. As it turns out, this absurdity merely proves that the Sadducees lack understanding.

Despite their creative machinations, Jesus rejects their supposed expertise and points the Sadducees back to the basics. You don't go to a law on marriage to establish your theology on eternal life. You go to the scriptural truths about God. God told Moses that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 3:6). By the time Moses was born, these patriarchs had been dead for hundreds of years. But God identified Himself with these men. That can only mean that the patriarchs are alive, thus proving the existence of an afterlife.

Other people, even believers, can be just as guilty as the Sadducees. It's tempting to read a passage or two out of context, build a theology, and ignore larger truths of Scripture. A common example of this is the question of whether baptism is required for salvation. Several passages associate baptism with salvation (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Galatians 3:27). Assuming it is required for salvation requires flawed assumptions as well as rejecting context and cultural environment. In New Testament culture, baptism was performed as soon as a person decided to follow a specific religious sect. It is an identifying activity, like going on the dance floor indicates you want to dance. But baptism isn't required for salvation any more than going on the dance floor is required to dance. And, in fact, some people go on the dance floor with no intention of dancing.
Verse Context:
Mark 12:18–27 describes the Pharisees' and Herodians' futile attack on Jesus' base of support. Earlier, they posed a political question, trying to force Him to choose between the Roman rulers and the Zealots (Mark 12:13–17). It didn't work. Now, the Sadducees pose a theological question that seems to present a choice between their own woodenly literal interpretation of Scripture and the Pharisees' broader beliefs. These religious leaders fail to understand that Jesus doesn't need to align with any of them. If He's on any side, it's God's. This riddle is also found in Matthew 22:23–33 and Luke 20:27–40.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter contains lessons taught by Jesus in various circumstances. He explains the eventual destruction of traditional Judaism, the relationship between secular and sacred obligations, the nature of the resurrection, and the most important of God's commandments. Jesus also expounds on Messianic statements in the Old Testament. Jesus also condemns the glory-seeking shallowness of the scribes, and extolls the virtues of sincere, faith-based giving.
Chapter Context:
Days before, Jesus has entered Jerusalem, hailed as a hero by the people (Mark 11:1–11). While teaching in the temple courtyard, Jesus shows superior understanding of Scripture over the chief priests, scribes, and elders (Mark 12:27–33), the Pharisees and Herodians (Mark 12:13), the Sadducees (Mark 12:18), and the scribes again (Mark 12:35, 38). Sadly, even in the instance where a scribe does understand Scripture, that is no guarantee he will follow it to its logical conclusion: Jesus (Mark 12:28–34). In contrast, a humble widow exemplifies the faithfulness and piety the leaders lack (Mark 12:41–44). Jesus leaves the temple for the last time to teach the disciples on the Mount of Olives (Mark 13). In Mark 14, He prepares for the crucifixion.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 4/18/2024 7:10:14 PM
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