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Mark 12:1-12 – Parable of Tenants: Meditative Musing for Dec 12

Israel’s unfruitfulness is again on display. This time, Jesus adapts a parable from Isaiah 5. In Isaiah’s parable, the vines gave bad fruit. As Jesus told it, the fault lay with the husbandmen, the tenants – the sharecroppers, if you please.

Of course, this parable was directed at the leaders of Judah: chief priests, scribes, and elders – the same crowd that admitted they did not know if John’s baptism was from Heaven or from men when they demanded to know by what authority Jesus did these things. They knew it was aimed at them and wanted to arrest Him, but because they feared the people they went away (but sent others to try to trap him).

After Isaiah’s parable, the Lord asked, “What more could be done for my vineyard that I have not done?” In Jesus’ adaptation, after sending various servants (i.e., prophets) who were abused, the owner sent His Son, whom they should have respected. Instead, they killed Him.

Jesus was clearly stating what would happen to Him before the week was out. If my reckoning is right, this was Tuesday. Thursday night, Jesus would be arrested with his death following on Friday.

Was He deliberately provoking the Jews so that in their fury they would do what they did?

The leaders still feared the people. They had to find a way to either discredit Jesus so the people would desert Him – or find a way to arrest Him and have Him killed before the people knew what was happening.


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