To illustrate His past circumstances, Jesus spoke a parable about a man planting a vineyard and sending slaves to vine-growers at harvest time to receive produce. The vine-growers beat the first slave and sent him away empty-handed. The second was wounded in the head and treated badly. The third slave was killed along with many others. Finally, the vineyard owner sent a beloved son expecting him to be respected. Jesus compared his killing to Himself, "The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone" (Mark 12:1-12). How amazing to consider the cross or crucified Jesus as the foundation of life.
Hypocritical Pharisees and Herodians attempted to trap Jesus by asking if it's lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar. He answered, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:13-17). How amazing to consider your calling involves living in the world without being entangled.
Sadducees who believed in no resurrection questioned Jesus concerning which of his seven wives a husband would be married to in heaven. He answered that they "do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God" since people live forever like angels in heaven. He is God of the living when He told Moses that "I am God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Mark 12:18-27). How amazing to consider that Christ's resurrection power imparts eternal life beginning now in this life.
A scribe asked Jesus what is the foremost commandment. He answered that loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength along with loving your neighbor as yourself are the greatest commandments. Jesus commended the scribe for his understanding that these were "much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12:28-34). How amazing to consider your most important priority is loving God and others.
Even though no one asked Him any more questions, Jesus asked how Christ could be the son of David when he calls Him Lord in Ps. 110: 1 (Mark 12:35-37). How amazing to consider the person of Christ as both God and man.
He warned them to reflect on the greater condemnation scribes received when they sought favor and honor from men, but devoured widows' houses and offered long prayers for appearance's sake (Mark 12:38-40). How amazing to consider that God values doing justice for the less fortunate more than religious observances.
Jesus pointed out that a "poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury" even though many rich people put in large sums. They put in their surplus while she "out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on" (Mark 12:41-44). How amazing to consider that God looks upon the heart, while man looks on appearances.
Let’s look at these seven paragraphs in a chiastic structure as follows from the first through the seventh paragraph: A; B; C; D; C’; B’; A’. We group together the content contained in A & A’; B & B’, etc. Here are my conclusions:
1. The foundation of your life is experiencing the sufferings of the cross through Christ's death (A & A’)
2. The focus of your life is doing justice with the less fortunate while not entangled in religious observances (B & B’)
3. The force of your life is Christ's resurrection power since He is both God and man (C & C’).
4. The foremost priority of your life is loving God with all your heart, mind & soul and loving your neighbor as yourself (D).
The above four "F's" can be summarized by Phil. 3:10-12. Meditate on this passage and ask God to make the cross the foundation of your life (attitude), doing justice the focus of your life (action), Christ's resurrection power the force of your life (empowerment) and loving God and others the foremost priority of your life (passion).