WHOSE VINEYARD IS IT?
My Savior, I praise You for Your glorious and amazing grace!
Read Mark 12:1–12
The Parable of the Tenants
12 Jesus 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 moved to another place. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.
6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
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.
9 “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’[a]?”
12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders 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.
a Mark 12:11 Psalm 118:22,23
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectHave you ever been to a vineyard? What was it like?
The Old Testament often uses the picture of a vine or vineyard to refer to Israel (Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15). Isaiah 5:2 uses language very similar to this parable to describe how God built a vineyard, fenced it, built a tower and dug a pit for pressing grapes. For Jews, brought up listening to scripture, the image was very familiar.
The leaders of the day knew that Jesus was telling this story about them (12:12). They were responsible for tending God’s vineyard and for giving Him the fruit. Instead, they were often guilty of taking advantage of their position to gain wealth and prestige for themselves (12:38–40), dishonoring the God they were called to serve.
Some believe that verse 9 means that Christians now take the place of Jews as God’s people. Others believe that Jews are still the chosen people of God. It’s a complex and controversial issue.
Whatever your understanding of the New Testament position of Israel and the Church, there is a clear message to God’s servants, whether Jew or Gentile. We are to play our part in producing good fruit for His glory. The vineyard itself belongs to God, we are just servants, each entrusted with a particular role in the fruit-producing process. We are called to tend the vines and make them fruitful wherever God has placed us: in our families, our communities and our local churches.
When others look at your life, what fruit do they see? Do you need to talk with the Heavenly Gardener about allowing Him to prune, water or fertilize areas of your life? Take time to talk with Him now.
God, I pray that I and my local church would produce lasting fruit for Your glory.