Summary: As the last week of Christ’s life gains momentum he reminds us that His impending death will conquer the enemy and rescued us from eternal "Jeopardy".


Mark 12:1-12

Sermon Objective: As the last week of Christ’s life gains momentum he reminds us that His impending death will conquer the enemy and rescued us from eternal Jeopardy.

Special Note: For this sermon I used a singer who played/sang “I will Sing the Wondrous Story” from the piano throughout the sermon. At the conclusion the congregation sung the song as a response.


This is the first sermon in a series called “Games People Play.” It comes from the division of Mark’s Gospel which begins in 11:27 and goes onward.

Jesus and his opposition are sitting in the temple’s outer courts where rabbis teach and debate great ideas. They are asking Jesus questions which will hopefully give them an opportunity to trap Him with his own words. They are looking for reason / evidence to judge him. Jesus knows this and He seizes the opportunity to show them they are all ready under judgment.

The Religious leaders are not interested in the truth they only cared about serving their own interests. Thus, they exposed themselves as being opposed to God’s authority.

What we have in chapter 12 are head games … questions and answers, point and counter point, mind games and manipulations, attempts to trap, and attempts to expose.

Today we will look at Mark 12:1-12; “Jeopardy.”

11: 27They 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. 28"By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you authority to do this?"

12:1He 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. 2At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5He 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.’ 8So 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. 10Haven’t you read this scripture:" ’The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone 11the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?"

12Then 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.

I Will Sing the Wondrous Story (Verses 1 & 2)


Questions are precarious things. They can tell us as much about the one making the inquiry as the answer can about the subject involved.

The first question asked in Scripture was from Satan in Genesis 3. That question exposed the serpent’s heart more than it sought truth. In fact, Satan was not seeking truth and neither are his cohorts here in chapter 12. You see, Jesus’ questioners also have their hearts laid bare by their questions. They show us that not everyone acknowledged that the reign of God had come in Christ; some vehemently denied it and even opposed it.

Jesus segues from their first question of 11:27 into this story in chapter 12. He is actually still answering that query. He is telling them by what authority he does the things he does.

Questions are a precarious thing.

Have you ever watched the television game show “Jeopardy”? My summation of Jeopardy is that the show gives you an answer and you have to give the proper question for the answer. The question becomes the answer. In a real sense that is exactly the case here … the question becomes the answer.

I thought that in Jeopardy-style this morning I would give you the answer to three questions. They are designed to get to the heart of Jesus’ parable in today’s passage.

Are you ready? Let’s play Jeopardy!



Humanity has avoided this truth (Divine judgment) since history began. Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves form it. The thought of being accountable and of standing before a Sovereign Judge who will rule from a standard of righteousness and equity is sobering.

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