Summary: What exactly was Jesus saying?

Mark 12:1-12 The Parable of the Tenants

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 marvellous 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.

Mark 12:1-12 Parable of the Tenants

As I was driving home from Matlaske on Thursday I asked myself the question:

What is the Parable of the Talents all about

And in a short answer it seems to me that Jesus is saying two things:

1. The earth is God’s and we are there to be stewards of it

2. We need to remember that the property is not ours and we are tenants of God’s earth and we can use it on his terms


We live in a country, where vineyards are not particularly common – though we have a few vineyards down in Kent that make ‘a not too unreasonable’ English wine.

And I know there is at least one vine in Stody – Mike Chesterman’s.

But in Palestine, where Jesus lived and taught vineyards were commonplace.

Jesus always took everyday examples as illustrations to teach people about the Kingdom of God.

And this parable is no exception.

Do you know what a parable is?

Ans: A picture story with a meaning.

In the Parable of the Tenants, everything represents something.

1. Who do you think the landowner represents?

Ans. God

2. What do you think the vineyard represents?

Ans: the Kingdom of God.

3. Who do you think the tenants represent?

Ans. The religious leaders.

4. Who do you think the servants represent?

Ans. the prophets.

5. Who is the Son in the parable of the Tenants?

Ans. Jesus.

6. Who do you think the new tenants are?

Ans. The church made up of Jews and Gentiles.

So what is Jesus saying directly here?

God entrusted his Kingdom to the Israelites during Old Testament times.

When they went off course, God sent the prophets to try to correct them.

Most of the Israelites did not listen to the prophets.

Finally, God decided to send his Son - Jesus to make clear God’s message.

But the religious leaders turned against Jesus and finally had him killed.

So God has put new tenants in the vineyard, his Church.

So what can we learn form this parable?

1. God has given us the world to steward and not abuse it

We need to remember that the earth is not ours and we are tenants of God’s earth and we are given it on his tenancy terms.

As Stewards of God’s world we are called to look after it and live in it according to God’s rules.

Rules are not made to stop us enjoying life, but to enable us to enjoy it.

Story: Take a game of football for example. Imagine what fun you’d have if you had no rules. The game would soon disintegrate into a battle ground.

Imagine if one side thought the offside rule was one defender between the attacker and the goal and the other side thought that there had to be two defenders between the attacker and the goal when the ball is passed.

The rules are there to allow you to enjoy the game.

God has given us rules in the Bible of how to live successfully on earth.

It is a manual for harmonious living among ourselves and nature.

For example, the Ten Commandments regulate how we can live in harmony.

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Joel Richards

commented on Dec 1, 2006

What is tlhe parable about. Itdoesn't seem to be abut stewardship. It is an illustration about the Jewish religious leaders. It says that in the passage. Jesus was not teaching about stewardship of the earth or his gifts.

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