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MK 12:13172834P21
21st S.after Pentecost

The bit omitted in the middle, about the application of the 'Levirate' law, may be abstruse by our standards. On the other hand, the underlying concern for preserving family & relationships (not to mention property!) has some attraction. Though its fundamental premise that women are chattels is a no-no, on the other hand in that culture it provided widowed women with a measure of 'social security'. Our ways of dealing with family & property can be more devious & destructive than this ancient system we so readily dismiss. I wonder if  those who are caught up in family breakdown & thrown on the 'mercy'(?) of our legal systems, into the clutches of lawyers, end up faring any better than those provided for under 'Levirate' law?

Quite apart from anything else we learn from the incident of the coin, it shows us how highly intelligent Jesus is. What a lateral thinker. If someone who can think as clearly as this (& take the mickey out of his enemies in the process) decides to sacrifice himself for 'the sins of the world' we ought to take him seriously on intellectual grounds as well as theological!

Whether it was a Pharisee or a Herodian (what an unholy alliance!!) who produced the coin, as I understand it, a 'good' Jew of the time oughtn't to have been carrying a Roman coin! If we were asked to 'turn out our pockets' (or our cupboards) would the contents give us away as hypocrites?

When we jump to the second part of the passage, it's the turn of the scholars to go on the attack. So in a few verses we strike the unholy alliance of Pharisees & Herodians, Sadducees, & now Scribes all mounting their attacks. Has there been some behind the scenes agreement to sink their differences in pursuit of this common enemy? How good are we at identifying those who are really on the attack against us today. No use dwelling on ancient parties & enemies if we can't see some contemporary ones under our noses. Not just our enemies, but God's enemies. What are the formal or informal alliances lined up against God & us today?

How about we come up with a card game, or a board game, in which the players have to rank the commandments according to whether they're convenient or inconvenient, worth keeping or not, what we can get away with & what we can't, all that kind of thing? And devise a scoring system relating to how we end 'not far from' God's Rule, or very far away from it? Mightn't that be more interesting than a sermon!