26th June 2023
Read - Mark 12:1-12
Message Alan Burke
Think through the parables in Mark’s gospel, the Parable of New Cloth and an Old Garment (2:21-22), The Divided Kingdom (3:23-27), The Sower (4:1-20), the Mustard Seed (4:30-34). Most of them are fair to say a little obtuse, what I mean by that is that they are not immediately clear and if you don’t believe me and you have a moment or two, go and have a look. Jesus even explained to his disciples why he told parables back in chapter 4, the reason why they were told in the way that they were, that they were obtuse it was so that those who were on the outside, 12 so that “ ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’ ” Mk 4:11–12.
But this parable that we come to today is different and it really doesn’t take much to figure out what Jesus is saying and who he is directing this parable towards, for it is directed at the chief priests, the scribes and the elders who are there. The end of this parable it also testifies to that truth because if you look down in v12 we are told, 12 Then they (the they being the chief priests, the scribes, the elders) looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them.
The vineyard is Isreal, the owner is the Lord, the tenants are the religious leaders, the servants who were went represent the prophets that were sent and often rejected, finally the son well it is Christ. Jesus was making it clear to them that God was displeased with them, he was displeased with their leadership. While they were to be those who cared and tended the vineyard on the behalf of the Lord God they had not done this, in fact they had used their position for their own gain and had not sought to honour the Lord God who had entrusted them with the vineyard, it’s an alogical parable about a vineyard which is all about them.
We could be tempted to assume that as a result that there is nothing for us but we would be wrong just to assume that. For here in this passage there is a challenge to us here as the church today. There are but two ways to respond to the messenger and the message, there is the wrong way to respond and there is the right way to respond, the right way is to becoming a servant of the Lord. But there is one thing I want to draw out for us today because we read the parable and think to ourselves that God seems like an absentee landlord, that he has just left us to it and has let people get away with what ever, they’re seems to be no consequences for their actions or their sins.
One day though and it is something people forget, all will have to stand before him and all will have to give account. It can be easy for us to loose heart in this day and age but the Lord God has the victory, there is not one thing that has been hidden that will not be brought out into the open. While the tenants lived and acted in a way that showed they cared not about the landowner the landowner cared very much how they lived and acted. God cares how we live, how our neighbours live, and all of us will have to give account. For those of us who know Christ Jesus then he has taken the consequences for us, through his substitutionary death for us, those who do not know Christ then they will face the wrath of God.
Q82 Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, (Eccles. 7:20, 1 John 1:8,10, Gal. 5:17) but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed. (Gen. 6:5, Gen. 8:21, Rom. 3:9–21, James 3:2–13)