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God’s Word for You

Mark 12:7-8 The Tenants - Part 5

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, March 25, 2022

7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. (NIV)

Up to this point, the parable has been perfectly historical. All of the events Jesus described can easily be proved in the Old Testament. But now he turns to prophecy. The murderous chief priests and scribes thought that they would lose their authority and position to Jesus because all the people were turning to him. “If we let him go on like this,” they had said, “everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (John 11:48). The statement, “the inheritance will be ours,” is not without legal precedent. Land that was unclaimed by an heir could be declared to be ownerless under Jewish law, and could be claimed by anyone who wanted it. Such claiming was done on a first come, first serve basis.

The Sanhedrin wanted what Jesus had, but they completely mistook what it was that he possessed. They saw only the effect of his teaching. He had the hearts, the love, the adoration and the worship of the people. This is what the Sanhedrin craved. They had been harsh taskmasters. They demanded obedience. They were content that the people feared them. But seeing a leader who was loved was something that was astonishing. They had only the examples of the Herods and the Caesars to ape. Seeing Jesus enter the city on Palm Sunday to shouts of Hosanna on a carpet of cloaks amid a veritable forest of waving palm fronds was completely outside their experience, and they craved this, or at least they wanted to put an end to it. If the people would not love them, then they could go back to being afraid, but either way, Jesus had to go.

What the Son and Heir had that they didn’t understand was so much more than the effect! It was the cause, not the effect, that they should have been seeking. The reason for the Son’s entrance into the world was to them a great and unsearchable thing that they did not know (Jeremiah 33:3). He came to make a new covenant, not a new law. He came to forgive wickedness and sin. He came to proclaim that God would remember their sins no more (Jeremiah 31:31,34). Why else would people adore him so? They could simply have taken up his message, and proclaimed repentance and forgiveness as John had. If they had not seemed like his apostles, at the very least they could have been like Eldad and Medad, prophesying in the camp (Numbers 11:26). Instead, they were no different from Korah and Dathan, plotting to kill the heir.

Ponder the truth of the final phrase: “They threw him out of the vineyard.” He was rejected by men (Isaiah 53:3) but chosen by God and precious to him (1 Peter 2:4). His opponents were in darkness, the darkness that has not understood (John 1:5). They wanted a kind of glory from him, but not the glory that comes from being forgiven by God and received into eternal life. “For it is better that you be found small but honorable in the flock of Christ than have a great reputation but be cast away from his hope.” As David said: “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse” (Psalm 25:3). So whatever is done to Christ even in our time, let us not let go of him whatever may come. If he is thrown out by the treacherous, let us be thrown out with him. If he is reviled, let us be reviled with him. We do not need to walk into the jaws of the lions and leopards without cause, but neither should we shrink if we are accused of being Christians. He has the words of everlasting life. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He says, “Come, follow me.” And so we follow. It is better to let go of this world and inherit the next than to embrace the alternative. In Jesus, we have forgiveness, eternal life, and everlasting peace.

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 visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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