Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

Mark 12:9 The Tenants - Part 6

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, March 28, 2022

9 “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. (NIV)

The parable is almost at an end. Jesus will make an application from Psalm 118, but the story of the parable ends with this verse. The plan of the wicked tenants had been to kill the owner’s son and then claim the field and the vineyard as theirs, since killing the heir would mean that someone else could claim it. But in fact, the opposite was going to take place. The wicked tenants themselves would be put to death (that is, condemned to eternal suffering), and the vineyard would be rented out to completely new renters. The tenants are clearly the religious leaders of the Jews, not the Jews as a nation. The new renters are the Christian church. Individual Jews were fast becoming the early members of the church, although many of them would be persecuted and killed in the years to come (Acts 8:1, 11:19-20, 12:1).

Jesus’ explanation of the end times and of judgment day continue from here through chapter 13. Before we expand on judgment day, let’s look at an overview of what to expect from the other parts of this discourse on the last things:

1, The Wicked Tenants (the plot on Jesus’ life, 12:1-12)
2, Paying taxes to Caesar (a trap to kill Jesus, 12:13-17)
3, Marriage at the resurrection (a doctrinal trap, 12:18-27)
4, A question about the greatest commandment (12:28-34)
5, Jesus identifies himself as the Son of David (12:35-40)
6, True worship: the widow’s offering (12:41-44)
7, Jerusalem will be destroyed (13:1-2)
8, Signs of the end in the church, war, and nature (13:3-8)
9, Christ’s followers will be betrayed (13:9-13)
10, The suddenness of the end (13:14-20)
11, False prophets and false Christs (13:21-23)
12, Signs of the end in nature (13:24-25)
13, The coming of Christ and the resurrection (13:26-27)
14, The example of the fig tree (13:28-31)
15, The day is unknown (13:32-37)

Since this passage (the tenants) is the picture we have in Mark about the judgment of the wicked (13:27 is about the good), this is perhaps the best place to mention some specifics about Judgment Day, that is, the Final Judgment.

I, A conclusive judgment is passed on every person already at the time of death (when the spirit of the believer, for example, returns to God, Ecclesiastes 12:7, but the spirit of the unbeliever goes immediately to hell, Luke 16:23).

II, Nevertheless, it is certain from Scripture that a last or final judgment will take place at the end of the world on the Last Day when God “will judge the world” (Romans 3:6), and will especially judge those outside the church (1 Corinthians 5:13). “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

III, This judgement is based on divine righteousness as the standard (2 Timothy 4:8).

IV, This judgment will explain many secrets of world history and what appear to be many puzzling inequalities (Psalm 73:16-20; Job 11:5-6).

V, The Judge on the Last Day is God, in the person of Jesus Christ who is the Son of God and the Son of Man (“The Lord is the Righteous Judge,” 2 Timothy 4:8), who will judge from God’s judgment seat (Romans 14:10; Isaiah 45:23). The Scriptures present this in three ways:

  a, He is judge according to his human nature (Matthew 19:28)
  b, He will come visibly (in his human nature, Acts 1:11; Luke 21:27)
  c, This judgment is given to him by the Father (John 5:27)

VI, In some manner, believers will also participate in Christ’s judgment. This might be as judicial assistants of some kind, by approving of the sentence or verdict reached by Christ, by the testimony of their lives and/or good works produced by faith, or by condemning the ungodly and the evil angels by the example of their faith. In other words, the faith of Christians, perhaps individual Christians, can and will be used as examples in the judgment (as in Luke 16:25, a law passage).

VII, The ones judged on the Last Day will be the evil angels including the devil (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6), human beings in general (2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:12), and especially the godless and the Antichrist. For this last group there is “only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:27). And again: “Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful” (James 2:13).

VIII, For believers, judgment day will involve being pointed out by Christ as believers and receiving absolution: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). The specific sins of believers will not be examined or published (John 5:24; John 3:18).

IX, Judgment will take place according to the norm of the Word of God in general, and it will be the gospel with reference to believers (Galatians 3:9,12; Matthew 25:34) and the law with reference to unbelievers (Galatians 3:10; Romans 2:12).

X, The Judge’s rule will be carried out immediately. Believers will be admitted to eternal glory right away,  and unbelievers will be condemned to eternal punishment: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

Praise God for the faith he has given to you. Nurture that faith with regular study of God’s word, regular attendance at worship, and regular trips to the Lord’s table. He makes our cup overflow with blessings (Psalm 23:5) and especially with the comfort he gives in every situation: “Through Christ our comfort overflows” (2 Corinthians 1:5). Be at ease about judgment day because Jesus has you in his arms, and he has prepared a place for you in his Father’s house.

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.


Browse Devotion Archive