Monday, January 16, 2012

Mark, Chapter 12

Oh, goody. Jesus is now going to speak in weird parables that are supposed to teach us things, but what those things are isn't clear because they're super-confusing.

First parable: a man plants a vineyard and becomes an absentee landlord. As you will see from the Wikipedia article, this situation has been problematic throughout history, and this case is no exception. When our landlord starts sending his slaves back to collect the rents, the tenants beat, then kill them. Eventually he runs out of slaves, so he sends his son, who is summarily beaten and killed. So the landlord comes back, kills all the tenants, and rents the farm out again. And what is our lesson? Draining wealth out of a region really pisses the residents of that region off, so it's better to live where your money is earned, lest you lose all your slaves and heirs? No, the lesson here is that the leaders of Judea have rejected Jesus, and now it's payback time. Clear as mud.

Those same priests were listening to this parable, and they sneak off to confer. They decide to send some Pharisees to ask about taxation and he advocates for separation of church and state.

Next up are the Sadducees, who don't believe in the afterlife, but want to know what would happen in the case of a woman who was widowed by seven successive brothers: whose wife is she in heaven? According to Jesus, heaven is a sexless paradise, not that anyone has ever come back to confirm or deny this.

Finally a scribe wants to ask him which commandment is the most important. Personally I've always liked the ones about graven images, the one nobody seems to care about. But Jesus says we should love god and our neighbours with all our hearts. That shuts everyone up.

Later, Jesus is teaching in the temple and asks why people think he's related to David when David was god, so how can he have a son? Or something. It's incredibly confusing. Then he starts criticising the scribes and priests for their love of fine fabrics and lavish feasts, which they finance by fleecing widows. Odd how no one ever follows that particular lesson, innit? To demonstrate, he leads them over to the collection plate, where people are just throwing in money. He notes a poor widow who has still managed to scrounge up some loose change for the church, and says she has given more than any of the rich people because she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (v. 44)

No comments:

Post a Comment