Mark 12:1-12 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Parable of the Vineyard
Comments for Study 22

Mark 12:1-12
Memory Verse: 1b


Passion Week Events

I. The Owner of the Vineyard and The Tenants (1-5)

>1. To whom and on what occasion did Jesus speak this parable? (11:27,28,33; 12:12)

* Mark 11:27-28 "They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you authority to do this?"

* Mark 11:33 "So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."

* Mark 12:12 "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."

* "temple courts" -When Herod rebuilt to temple he surrounded the whole enclosure with magnificent porches, particularly the royal stoa along the southern wall. Through the Huldah gates, double and triple arches of which can still be seen, worshippers went up through enclosed passageways into the court of the Gentiles. Greek inscriptions separating this court from the court of the women and the holier inner courts of Israel (men) and the priests have been found. (from the Holman Bible Dictionary)

* "the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders" -The Lord instituted having one chief priest who was head of the other priests. Chief priests here is plural indicated the use of two chief priests at this time. (John 11:49) The reason the Jews did this is because the real priest was rejected by the Romans and Herod. The Romans instituted their own priest. In secret the Jews kept and recognized the real chief priest. Jesus pointed this hypocrisy during his trial before both high priests. (John 18:13)

* "they arrived again in Jerusalem" -this is not the first time Jesus was in Jerusalem.

* A time line of this week is as follows.
    Friday -Jesus arrives in the Jerusalem area. (John 11:54-12:1)
    Saturday (Sabbath) -a day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38.
    Sunday -Jesus' triumphal entry. (Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19)
    Monday -Jesus curses the fig tree (Matt. 21:18-19; Mark 11:12-14). Jesus clears out the Temple. (Matt 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18)
    Tuesday -Jesus' authority questioned. (Matt. 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:18) Jesus teaches in the temple. (Matt. 21:28-22:46; Mark 12:1-44; Luke 20:9-21:4) Jesus wept over Jerusalem's leader's unbelief and rejecting him as thier King. (Matthew 23:1-39) Jesus anointed at Bethany. (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 13:3-9; John 12:2-11)
    Wednesday -another day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38. The Jews plot to kill Jesus. (Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6)
    Thursday (Hebrew month Abib the 13th day) -the Passover meal begins at twilight (see below note) when Jesus and the disciples celebrate the Last Supper. (Matt. 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20; John 13:1-18) Jesus comforts the disciples (John 14:1-16:33) Jesus prays at Gethsemane. (Matt. 26:26-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46)
    Friday (Hebrew month Abib, 14 day) -According Hebrew time Jesus is arrest and tried from night to daylight. (Matt. 26:47-27:26; Mark 14:43-15:15; Luke 22:47-23:25; John 18:2-19:16) Jesus' crucifixion at 3:00pm, and death before sunset which is the end of the Hebrew day and Passover. (Matt. 27:27-56; Mark 15:16-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30) Jesus is buried at sunset. (Matt. 27:57-66; mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:31-42)
    Saturday (Sabbath Abib 15, Seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread begins) Jesus' body is in the tomb. He appears in Sheol and accompanies the saints previously dead to heaven.
    Sunday (Abib 16; day of First Fruits Sheaf Wave) Jesus' morning resurrection and appearing to the women. (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18) Then he appeared to the two on the road. (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35) Then to the ten apostles (no Thomas or Judas) in the evening. (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)
    Saturday (Sabbath) -Jesus appears to Thomas and the rest of the apostles. (John 20:26-31)
    A week later -Jesus talks and eats with some disciples by the Sea of Galilee. (John 21:1-25)
    Forty days since his resurrection -Jesus ascends to his Father from the Mount of Olives. (Matt. 28:15-20; Mark 18:19-20; Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:1-11)

* Note: The Passover is linked to the 14th days of the month not the day of the week. It starting on Thursday twilight is a very rare event; unusually it starts on a different day of the week. (Hebrew days start at sunset/twilight and go thru the night till the next day's sunset.) Falling on a Thursday that year made it possible for Jesus to fulfill the meaning behind the feasts associated with the Passover. His cruxified was on Friday (still Passover), the Sabbath (Saturday) rest was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Sunday was the third day since his death, the day of the First Fruit Wave Sheaf, and the day that Jesus rose from the dead. All three feasts were thus fulfilled by Jesus.

>In what way is the theme of this parable similar to that in Isaiah 5:1-7?

* Isaiah 5:1-7 "I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it. The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress."

* God gave his heart and energy to prepare a vineyard.

* The main themes are God's patience, his love, the tenants unfaithfulness, and God's judgement.

* The Owner, God was gone for a while.

* The vineyard was destroyed and useless in the end.

* Both give us a warning and direction.

* This tells us of what God wants of his people.

* The leaders of Judea knew of the passage of Isaiah 5:1-7 when Jesus taught his parable. However, most of the common people did not.

>2. Who does the owner of the vineyard stand for?

* God is the owner of the vineyard.

* God owns all.

* "planted a vineyard" -God plants us us. He plants the seed of this word in us as Jesus' parable of the sower reveals.

>The farmers?

* The farmers are those chosen by God to do his work. Specifically it was the religious leaders of Israel.

* The farmers and the tenants are the same.

* God expects all those who he calls to be farmers, workers in his field. The call is not specific to leaders.

>The vineyard?

* The vineyard is whatever the mission that God has given us. Specifically it was for Israel's leaders to take care of God's people.

>How did the owner of the vineyard prepare it to bear good fruit?

* Mark 12:1 "He then began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey."

* "he put a wall around it" -To protect it from animals and thieves.

* "dug a pit for the winepress" -Grapes are good, but wine is better.

* "built a watchtower" -a place to oversee the vineyard and the area outside the walls.

* "rented the vineyard to some farmers" -Farmers is plural. God calls people to work in his field. Farmers are to know all about how to get the best yield from the field. They have skills and knoweledge needed to do the work. God does not call people who are not capable to work in his vineyard. Each farmer has a task.

* "rented" -Any rent has terms so that each party knows what is required. Leviticus & Exodus 19:3-6 are the terms between the Lord and the people of Israel and house of Jacob.

* "went on a journey" -Jesus has gone a journey leaving us to care for his vineyard.

>What can you learn about the basic relationship between God and his chosen people through this?

* God has given us a field to work, a mission to do. He is the owner of the field and we are his workers.

* The environment that God sets his workers (tenants, farmers) in is fully prepared to do the work he expects and we have agreed to.

* God loves the vineyard.

* God providing the sun, rain, and no frost or to high temperatures is a given.

* God trusts the tenants to keep their responsibility.

>3. What in his preparation reveals his expectations?

* God expected to get a crop.

* Many crops can come from one field.

* He expects wine, not just grapes.

* Wine will last a long time, grapes rot after awhile.

>What is the responsibility of the tenants to the owner?

* We are given a mission and expected to complete that mission and bear fruit that will last as Jesus taught in John 15.

* The owner knows that the farmers will need to eat vegetables grown in the field.

* The farmers are not to get drunk on the wine. The wine is not for them to drink.

>4. How did the tenants treat the servants?

* Mark 12:2-5 "At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed."

* "servant" -Prophets.

>Why did they treat the servants he sent as they did?

* They did not want to give the owner what they had agreed on.

* The progression of evil against the servants get worse.

* The tenants wanted to keep it all for themselves.

>Through this parable what can you learn about the source of evil in man?

* No thankful heart to God.

* No respect and love for God.

* We do not give to God what is due him.

* We are selfish, rebellious, and greedy.

* We do not know the love of God.

* We do not trust his plans.

* We do not stick to the agreement we make with God.

* We forget our position and his power.

>And about God's love in response to man's evil?

* He is patient and hopeful.

* He is not like a prison guard or a watchful owner. he respects our choice to serve him in fear and love.

>5. Why was the owner so insistent in collecting the fruit from them?

* Because it was his and an agreement.

* It establishes creation order.

* It shows thankfulness for his hiring us (calling us).

* Tenants do get paid for their work. God promises a reward for faithfulness to the mission he has given us.

>What do you think the fruit God wants from his people is (Jn. 15:8,16)?

* John 15:8 "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

* John 15:16 "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."

* Jesus told this to the those he called. He trained them and expected them to take his place and follow his example after he left. The disciples understood. We should too.

II. He Sent, Last of All, His Son (6-9)

>6. Why did the owner sent his beloved son?

* Mark 12:6 ""He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, 'They will respect my son.'"

* "one left" -all the servants were killed.

>What can you learn about the character of the owner through this?

* He it patient and kind to those who are not kind to him.

* God's hope is from his goodness.

* God loves us and give us many chances to give what is his.

* God's love is a sacrificial love.

* God' love is long suffering; he patiently tried to help us do right even though it costs him.

* Man's love is not like God's love.

III. The Rejected Stone (10-12)

>7. What did the tenants think about the son's coming and what did they do?

* Mark 12:7-9 ""But the tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'" So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others."

* Hate and envy.

>Who does the son represent?

* The son is Jesus Christ.

* God loves the Son.

* The Son goes out to them in obedience even though he knows the peril.

* The Son's coming is a mission of love, not of vengeance or judgement.

>What can you learn about God's love through this parable?

* He loves his people so much that he would risk his son's life to help them live and work according to the word they agreed to.

* The Son loves the tenants and the Father.

* "to others" -the gentiles. Jesus began his church. He called a bride to himself.

>8. How does the scripture (Ps. 118:22,23) Jesus quoted fit this parable?

* Psalms 118:22-23 "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes."

* Capstone is the stone at the top of an arch. It is the most important stone. Similarly, the cornerstone is the most important stone in the building.

>What does this verse reveal about Jesus' faith?

* He knew that although they rejected him, he was still God's stone.

* He knew he would not die.

* He knew God would still build a group of people who would do his work; the church (congregation, his bride).

* He knew he was God's One and only Son.

>About God's sovereign ways?

* God works not according to man's will.

* God works in spite of man's sin. His plan still comes about.

* God's plans are never aborted or overcome.

>What does this mean to us?

* We have been given a responsibility just like Judah did.

>9. How did the religious leaders react to Jesus' Bible teaching?

* Mark 12:12 "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."

* "because they knew he had spoken the parable against them" -Their unbelief kept them from understanding the meaning of Jesus' parable.

* "against them" -Not because it was wrong or blasphemous.

* "they were afraid of the crowd" -Fear of being harmed, fear of losing their respect and high honor.