The Gospel of Mark emphasizes Jesus' role as a servant. Join with us as we venture through one section of this vital gospel that recounts many of Jesus' actions during his ministry years.
Read Mark 12:1-9
Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.
"He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
"But the tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
"What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others."
The behavior of the tenants in Jesus' parable seems outrageous to our modern sensibilities, and it likely sounded just as scandalous to his original audience, the same religious leaders who'd asked where his authority comes from. But when might the object of their outrage have begun shifting from the story's characters to the storyteller, as it dawned on them that Jesus was telling the parable about them?
Sadly, the Old Testament tells how many of the numerous prophets sent by God to speak hard truths to Israel and others were rejected, treated badly, and even killed, just like the servants in the parable. And sadly, too, Jesus uses this story to speak of the death he knew he'd face soon himself. As you pray today, imagine the very mixed emotions Jesus must have felt in telling this parable. Thank him for calling out the evil he'd seen among the leaders, and thank him for calling us to join him in doing good.