Founders Blog

A collection of daily Bible commentaries from GoServ Global co-FOunder, Terry Baxter


The Scribes

The Scribes Exposed: Mark 12:38-40
“38) In His teaching He was saying: “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, 39) and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 40) who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.”” Mark‬ ‭12‬:‭38‬-‭40‬
In this section, Jesus publicly exposed the proud, pious and self righteous pageantry of the Scribes and religious leaders. He laid out six indictments against them.
They parade around in long ornate robes. They demand respectful greetings in the market place. They expect the chief seats in the synagogues. They run to the places of honor at banquets. They gain wealth by preying on widows and devouring their estates. They offer long and eloquent prayers for self praise and notoriety.
This list is sad and tragic. Their hearts were proud, their motives wrong and their intentions were wicked. They were self promoting rather than God honoring.
Jesus warned that it is an easy trap to fall into. A little success, praise from men and seasoning from religion and pride starts its cancerous work.
Both James and Peter warned that God resist the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5) In both texts the devil is present and ready to devour the proud.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global Sent from my iPhone

Evidence of Deity

Biblical Evidence of Deity: Mark 12:35-37
“35) And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36) David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.” ’ 37) David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; so in what sense is He his son?” And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him.” Mark‬ ‭12‬:‭35‬-‭37‬ ‭
Many biblical mysteries are packed into the Old Testament. This is one of them. Jesus quoted David from Psalm 110:1; “The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”” David through prophetic insight given him by the Holy Spirit called the coming Christ by the title “Lord.” It is a title reserved for God.
In other words, David understood that one of His future descendants would be God Incarnate. The full Psalm is packed with more insight on the identity of the coming Messiah and His Kingdom. It is the biblical evidence of the claim of Jesus Christ to Deity.
Psalm 110:4 includes the detail that He would be a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. See Hebrews 5-7 where this full mystery is unpacked. This includes a claim to eternality.
The next verse in Psalm 110 says; “The Lord is at Thy right hand.” Compare this with Matthew 26:63-66. This is claim of being at the right hand of Power resulted in Jesus being accused of blasphemy, but none other than King David substantiated this claim. Revelation 5:11-14 is the ultimate fulfillment of this claim. (See also Acts 7:55)
Though Mark 12:35-37 sounds benign to the casual reader, it was explosive. This short exchange loaded the guns of His opponents with the ammunition for His condemnation of death. But in doing so, they denied the clear teaching of David and the Bible. They became willfully blind.
Theological bias is blinding. It contributed to the crucifixion of Jesus despite the clear teaching of the Bible. At this point Jesus could say or do nothing in His own defense. The entirety of His public ministry screamed of His identity. The religious leaders would soon scream back; “crucify Him.”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

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The Biblical Definition of “God.” Mark 12:28-34
“28) One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29) Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30) and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31) The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32) The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; 33) and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34) When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.” Mark‬ ‭12‬:‭28‬-‭34‬ ‭
This interchange between Jesus and this Scribe is very interesting. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. This is known as “the Shema.” It is the cornerstone statement of monotheism that separated the God of Israel from the polytheism or many gods of the pagans.
Yet the Hebrew word play in Deuteronomy 6:4 is interesting. It is an affirmation of the existence of the plural/singular God. Theologically, it encompasses verses like Genesis 1:6 where the text says, “Let Us make man in our image, according to Our likeness.” It also embraces Genesis 3:22 when after the fall, “the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.”
This mystery of a plural/singular God is equivalent to the Christian concept of the Trinity, which recognizes “One God eternally existing in the three persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” This is the mystery of monotheism that acknowledges the plurality of the godhead as taught throughout the whole Bible.
It should be acknowledged that Orthodox Jews who accept the Shema do not embrace the concept of the Trinity. The word play statement of Deuteronomy 6:4 is the extent of the mystery of God that they embrace. This defines the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the God of Creation and is totally different from the monotheism gods of the pagans.
Ironically, the Shema also embraces the mystery of Isaiah 9:6; “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” This Old Testament prophecy opens the door for Jesus to be “the Only Begotten God.”
A literal translation of John 1:18 says, ““No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (NASB translation) This begins to shed light on the controversy with the Jews over Jesus claiming to be “the Son of God.” His claim ultimately led to His condemnation for Blasphemy.
Yet, there is no room for the concept of a Messiah without embracing the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4 as the basis for the mystery of the Trinity. That’s why Jesus responded to this Scribe that he was not far from the kingdom of God. He was close to embracing the gospel as expressed in John 3:16-18.
Those who understand this mystery of God understand, value and love other people as created in the image of God. They see intrinsic value and dignity in humanity not shared with the animal kingdom. They value human life. They love their neighbor as themselves.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
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Answering the Sadducees

The Peril of Hypothetical Questions: Mark 12:18-27
“18) Some Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection) *came to Jesus, and began questioning Him, saying, “19) Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves behind a wife and leaves no child, his brother should marry the wife and raise up children to his brother. 20) There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children. 21) The second one married her, and died leaving behind no children; and the third likewise; 22) and so all seven left no children. Last of all the woman died also. 23) In the resurrection, when they rise again, which one’s wife will she be? For all seven had married her.” 24) Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? 25) For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26) But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27) He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.”” Mark‬ ‭12‬:‭18‬-‭27‬ ‭
They were taking turns trying to discredit Him. This time it was a group of Sadducees. In their theological bias, they rejected the concept of a resurrection. They came a poised a hypothetical question to Jesus. These questions usually are packed with false pretense.
The question related to Deuteronomy 25-5-6 and raising up offspring for a deceased brother who died childless. In their question, they poses seven brothers in turn marrying a widowed sister in-law and dying childless. They wondered whose wife she would be in the resurrection? Note, their theological error was denying a resurrection. The construction of their question was loaded with bias.
Skeptics and agnostics come up with all kinds of ridiculous hypothetical questions to undergird unbelief. For example, “Can an omnipotent God create a rock so big He cannot lift it?” The problem is that weights and measurements pertain to the physical realm. God is Spirit and dwells in the heavenly realm, therefore the question is both foolish and irrelevant. It amplifies the ignorance of the beholder.
Jesus responded with a profound answer; “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mark 12:24)
Most theological blunders can be trace back to one of these two problems: 1) They don’t understand the Scriptures. 2) They don’t understand the power of God. Tuck His response in the back of your mind. It is fruitless arguing with people from either deficiency.
In the next few verses Jesus annulled the myth that earthly marriage relationships and procreation takes place in the next life. He also stated clearly that He is not the God of the dead but of the living. There is conscious existence after death. There is a resurrection of the dead. (Study 1 Corinthians 15:12-58)
Beware that you are not swept away by theological error. Many theologians and philosophers think logically to wrong conclusions. Study the Bible and the power and nature of God! Don’t swallow any presupposition thoughtlessly. It is a sure ticket to the wrong eternal destiny.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
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Daily Commentary

Whose Image Do You Bear? Mark 12:13-17
“13) Then they *sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap Him in a statement. 14) They *came and *said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? 15) Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at.” 16) They brought one. And He *said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17) And 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.” Mark‬ ‭12‬:‭13‬-‭17‬
They were relentless in their attempt to find fault in Jesus. This time they sent some Pharisees and Herodians seeking to establish a charge of insurrection against the government. They always sent a small delegation that every charge might be confirmed by two or three witnesses.
This question related to paying poll-tax to Caesar. There was already a Jewish religious movement that rejected Roman rule over Israel and refused to pay taxes. They were trying to pin the blame on Jesus.
Knowing their malice and hypocrisy, Jesus wisely asked for a denarius. On one side was stamped an imaged of Caesar. Jesus held it up and asked; “Whose likeness or inscription is this?” The question was literally; “Whose image is this coin made after?”
The answer was obvious. It was minted in the image of Caesar. It was tenure of Rome. It was often used to pay poll-tax.
The next statement of Jesus silence and amazed the adversaries; “Render to Caesar the things that are Ceasar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”
The parallel was unavoidable. People are created in the image of God. He is interested in people and not money. It behooves every person to seek God and not money, government or the world.
Every human was created in the image of God. We, like the coin are image bearers. Within us is a void in the shape of God. We are not complete until we are born-again and the Holy Spirit fills that void. We need to render ourselves to God! Only Jesus Christ can make us complete and full the inner void.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
Sent from my iPhone

Vine Growers

Parable of the Vine Growers: Mark 12:1-12
“1) And He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. 2) At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. 3) They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4) Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. 5) And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others. 6) He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7) But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’ 8) They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9) What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. 10) Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone; 11) This came about from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?” 12) And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away.” Mark‬ ‭12‬:‭1‬-‭12‬ ‭
Jesus had just cleansed the physical temple. With this parable He is exposing and cleansing the corrupt religious leaders over the temple system. He basically calls them thief’s, robbers and murderers.
The land owner in the parable represents God the Father. The wicked vine growers represent the religious leaders of Judaism. The many servants sent to collect rent represents the many Old Testament prophets that God sent to Israel and Judah. The beloved son represents Himself.
The story makes a transition in Verse 9. The owner wax coming and about to destroy the vine growers and rent the vineyard to others. Many see this as the transition from the Law to the gospel of grace. This points to Pentecost and the inauguration of the Church age. The whole temple system was about to be replaced with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The gospel was about to go to all nations.
Then Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22-23. Jesus was the cornerstone rejected by the religious leaders, but became the cornerstone of the church. The Promise of the Father seen throughout the Old Testament was about to be fulfilled.
They understood the parable was spoken against them. Their response was not repentance. Rather they double down on trying to destroy the beloved son and steal the inheritance.
This parable has been fulfilled. By 70 AD the gospel was spreading around the world while the temple and its whole system was destroyed. The priesthood, the Levite’s and the Pharisees and Sadducees were displaced. The Apostles and Spirit filled workers stepped into leadership.
Sadly, it didn’t take long for the church to become corrupt and a new oppression to begin. Welcome to the dark ages and the blinders of institutional Christianity.
Starting with the Great Reformation and followed by the Great Awakenings; Jesus began purifying His bride.
We are now approaching the end of the church age. Jesus is pouring out His Spirit in unprecedented ways. Denominationalism is being replaced by a new awakening around the world. People are seeking Jesus, His solid Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Get ready. A great purging is taking place. The Groom is right at the door and ready to come for His bride.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global Sent from my iPhone