"Fulfilling Our Responsibility" - Mark 12:13-17

STUDY QUESTIONS

  1. Who sent the Pharisees and the Herodians to trap Jesus?  Why?
  2. Who are the Pharisees and the Herodians and what does their selection as "trappers" give you a clue as to the nature of the trap they desire to set for Jesus?
  3. Why is it so important that they get Jesus to make a statement about the lawfulness of the poll-tax?  What did they hope to accomplish through their question?
  4. In verse 14 the Pharisees and Herodians used a tactic on Jesus that is often used today.  What is the tactic and how is it used today?
  5. What is a poll-tax and why would someone consider it an unlawful tax?  What does it mean to be "unlawful"?
  6. Why is the question in verse 15 "shall we pay the poll-tax or shall we not pay" even more dangerous for Jesus than to simply give a judgment on the lawfulness of the tax?
  7. Mark states that Jesus was aware of their hypocrisy?  What is their hypocrisy and how does Jesus question "Why are you testing Me" help us understand the extent of their hypocrisy?
  8. In what way is it significant that Jesus ask the Pharisees and the Herodians for a denarius to look at? 
  9. What is a denarius?  How is the denarius connected to the poll-tax?
  10. Why do you think Jesus ask them the question "Whose likeness and inscription is this?"
  11. What does it mean to render to Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's"?  What were those things then, and what are they today"?
  12. What does it mean to render to God the things that are God's?  What were those thing then, and what are they today?
  13. How does this simple principle give us clear direction in fulfilling our responsibilities both to man and to God?  What are those responsibilities?
  14.  Is there a connection between Jesus question in Mark 11: 30 and His instruction here? What might that connection be?
  15. Is there a connection between this principle and the parable of the vine-growers in Mark 12: 1- 11?  What might that connection be?
  16. What does this passage help us understand what God expects from us?  Is rendering different than giving?
  17. How do you think a non-Christian would view this teaching?  How would their view or understanding be different than your view and understanding of this teaching?  How might it be the same?
  18. How does the principle of render to Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's and to God the things that are God's give us direction in living our lives today?  How is it helpful in setting healthy boundaries? In making decisions?
  19. What have you learned from this passage and what do you intend to do with what you have learned?
Benjamin Steiner