What does Mark 12:6 mean?
ESV: He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
NIV: He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
NASB: He had one more man to send, a beloved son; he sent him to them last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
CSB: He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
NLT: until there was only one left — his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’
KJV: Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus' use of this parable is meant to turn the religious leaders' arrogance against themselves. At first, they might have thought of themselves as the parable's landowner. It would have quickly dawned on them that Jesus implies they are actually the abusive tenants, and God's prophets are the servants. That's confrontational enough—but this turn in the story would have been outrageous and alarming to the religious leaders. Jesus is saying that He is the son of the landowner: He is the Son of God.

In the Old Testament, "son of God" usually refers to angels (Job 1:6), the Nephilim from Genesis 6:2–4, or the Israelites in general (Exodus 4:22). Jews don't see it as a specifically Messianic term, although it is used loosely for David and his dynasty (2 Samuel 7:14; Psalm 89:27–28). Apocryphal literature does refer to the Messiah as the son/Son of God, but also uses that title for those who follow God closely. This kind of imagery is standard in Judaism. When the religious leaders call themselves the sons or children of Abraham, Jesus counters that they are not the children of God, but the children of the Devil (John 8:39–44). Their actions, particularly their rejection of Jesus, show who it is they resemble.

As used here, however, the phrase "beloved son" clears away all the historical metaphor. It pushes Jesus' claims into an area of theology for which the Jews do not yet have a name. Jesus is saying that the God of the universe, who is one, has a singular son. Years later, church leaders will wrestle with the concept of the Trinity, but on this day, Jesus' audience must be either very confused or very incensed that He presumes to state God has a son.
Verse Context:
Mark 12:1–12 takes place days before the crucifixion, while Jesus is in the temple courtyard, teaching. Chief priests, elders, and scribes—representatives of the Sanhedrin—have demanded to know the source of Jesus' authority to cleanse the Temple (Mark 11:27–28, 15–19). After exposing their hypocrisy, Jesus tells at least three additional stories that show how God will replace falsely-pious religious leaders with sinners who truly follow Him (Matthew 21:28—22:14). The second of these three stories is recorded here, in Matthew 21:33–46, and in Luke 20:9–19.
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 3/1/2024 3:24:32 AM
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