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God’s Word for You

Mark 12:10-12 The Tenants - Part 7

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, March 29, 2022

10 Haven’t you read this scripture:
    “‘The stone the builders rejected
      has become the capstone;
  11 the Lord has done this,
      and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

Here Jesus preaches the law to his listeners, with his harsh question: “Haven’t you read?” Of course they had read this. They knew he was condemning them. But here Jesus also preaches the gospel to us, Mark’s readers, who are comforted that he applies this clear prophecy about himself directly to himself. He is this Stone.

Recently we explored this passage (Jesus is quoting Psalm 118:22) when we were looking at 1 Peter 2:6-8. If you recall, a capstone or keystone is the specially cut top of an arch. If it is perfect, the arch will not fall. If it is flawed in any way, the arch cannot stand. We can apply this directly to Christ: Since Jesus is perfect, the church cannot fall (Matthew 7:25; Psalm 37:24, 46:5). If Jesus were flawed in any way, the church could not stand.

Jesus quotes the Psalm here to show that the “builders” (the Jewish spiritual leaders) had rejected him like workmen tossing aside a flawed stone or a bad board. But the very same article that the builder rejected has become the key to the whole church. How? “The Lord has done this.” How awesome are God’s works in man’s behalf! (Psalm 66:5).

By citing this passage, Jesus declares that he is the sole head and foundation of the church. “He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy” (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23). There is no one else who is supreme or whose word should be followed above the word of Christ, as the Father had already commanded: “Listen to him” (Mark 9:7). He is not a despotic lord, nor a tyrant. His word is life, not death. So the Apostle proclaimed in Philippi: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:31). And Paul preached fearlessly in Rome itself in the days of Caesar Tiberius: “Boldly and without hindrance Paul preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31). Jesus was placed in this position by the Father, as the Psalm states and as Jesus says: “My decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me” (John 8:16), and again, “I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me” (John 8:28).

We stand in awe of God’s plan of our salvation. His own judgment that the life of a creature is in its blood (Leviticus 17:11) means that blood atones for life. The Lord, therefore, had to be human in order to bleed and to be subject to God’s law. But because he is also God, his blood has infinite value; a single drop would have been enough to atone for the sins of all the world for all time, but he bled much more than a single drop. He bled, suffered, and died for our sakes. This is beyond our comprehension, and we are willing to confess with the ancient believer: “Awesome is the Lord, and very great, and marvelous in his power.”

12 Then they looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away. (NIV)

Jealousy and fear are a powerful combination. “Who is able to stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4). Also: “Fear of a man will prove to be a snare” (Proverbs 29:5). The fear of the crowd and jealousy over Jesus’ success, authority, and the love that people had for him, were going to lead these men—the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders of the people (Mark 11:27)—to find a way to kill him. They had arrived at the point where they didn’t care what their pretext was any longer. They were willing to catch him in any trap, to trip him up with any foolish question. They only wanted him dead. “Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash, so that you vent your rage against God?” (Job 15:12). They were unwilling to believe that they were not only venting their rage against God, but upon God as well. This is the application of the law.

As for the gospel: This man, Jesus, is the Savior of all. We put our faith in him. The world, misled by the devil’s lies, will never stop hating the One who came to be its Savior. What mystifying grace our God has, that he would spare us from the devil’s snares, enticing as they are, and bring us into his arms with the priceless gift of faith in Jesus. Trust in Jesus, because through him you have everlasting life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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