The Parable of the Tenants

Mark 12 (ESV)

The Parable of the Tenants

12 And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this Scripture:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
11 this was the Lord’s doing,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.

All I can think of this morning is that this is who we were when Christ died for us. He is telling the scribes and elders that the Jews are the ones who have continually rejected the Word of God, and will reject and kill Him very soon. This message is the same for us. When we sin, we place something above God and put ourselves at war with Him, struggling for supremacy. We reject all of His prophets and every thought of His truth as God continually shows us mercy after mercy. Finally we reject His son. The ultimate sacrifice, the Word made flesh to dwell among us. This is who we were when Christ died. We threw Him out of the city. We put Him on the cross and spat in His face with the ways we have chosen to live our lives. And He still died for us.

Paul tells this story so wonderfully in Romans 5.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For ifwhile we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Let us live in the light of this glorious truth. Christ died to save His enemies. Us.