Summary: Exposition of Mark 12:1-12 about the parable of the vineyard and the tenets who would not give up the fruit of the vineyard and killed the son of the owner
Text: Mark 12:1-12, Title: Renters from Hell, Date/Place: NRBC, 10/5/08, PM
A. Opening illustration: the hummingbirds at the feeder becoming defensive and possession of what is theirs, when in reality it is mine, I bought it, I hung it, cooked the food, filled it up, and maintain it.
B. Background to passage: Remember that Jesus has just had a confrontation with these leaders about his authority, and stumped them with his response. And now he begins to teach in a parable to the people and the leaders. It is an innocent story at first dealing with a common problem that everyone would have been familiar with, but then he completes the story with a biting ending and a surprise. However the roots go back into the OT from Isa 5:2-6, and Jer 7:25-26. Define the allegory: Owner = God, tenets = religious leaders, son = Jesus, and others = gentiles.
C. Main thought: This parable teaches four seemingly foolish, spiritual realities for us tonight
A. The Folly of Lawlessness (v. 5)
1. There are several things that seem a bit foolish. The first of which is renters that think that they can just renege on the agreement. And not only not pay, but beat up the collection people. Then to top it all off well, they agree to kill the heir to the property and take it for themselves. What were they thinking? We must remember that law enforcement wasn’t the best in these days, the court systems where corrupt and not really worth the time unless you were a Roman citizen. But still it seems foolish. These people had complete disregard for law, for property, for integrity, for business, and they were fine with that.
3. Illustration: From Giuliani’s book called “Leadership” this is how he describes “Broken Windows.” The theory holds that a seemingly minor matter like broken windows in abandoned buildings leads directly to more serious deterioration of neighborhoods. Someone who wouldn’t normally throw a rock at an intact building is less reluctant to break a second window in a building that already has one broken. “Mine is the power, and the kingdom and the glory forever,” “If humanity could kill or dispense with God, then humanity can become God,”
4. This sounds much like our day and age. People who really go out of their way to excise God from life. There are many who believe that if God does exist, He is powerless and easily pushed over. Do not mistake God’s patience for His powerlessness or His approval. We are bent to pursue our own sovereignty, and the best way to that end is to get rid of God. Atheists, communists, and Darwinists have all tried, and to some degree failed. But the more severe problem is not with the unbelievers, but with those who are called believers, and live with no fear of retribution for usurping Christ’s authority in their own little kingdoms. Church members who never come, those who do and attempt to run the church as their own, Christians who mock and make fun of scripture and those who follow it (article in the Gazette about SBC and women and Sarah Palin.) Those who make promises that break them, marriage, contracts, service, etc. They claim to be bought with the blood, but live under their own authority
B. The Patience of the Owner (v. 6)
1. The second thing that seems a little odd is that the owner continues to send servants. Why not just call the police? Why not just roll out the army first. Why would you send another servant after the first two were beaten; let alone your only son? Can’t answer them all, but his son would command much more authority than slaves. He is technically the owner. But whatever the reason, great patience was being exhibited.
2. Rom 2:4, 2 Pet 3:9, Hos 2:2-5, 19-20, Ex 34:6-7, Ps 86:15
3. Illustration: “If God had been a man, He would have taken His hand and wiped out this world long ago; but God has that patience which bears with all our sinning and which will not cast us off. In our lives, in our attitude to and dealings with our fellow men, we must reproduce this loving, forbearing, forgiving, patient attitude of God toward ourselves.” –William Barclay, Piper speaks of “the supremacy of his patience to endure our dullness for decade after decade and to hold back his final judgment on this land and on the world that many might repent.”
4. We should thank God everyday for his mercy and patience with us. He (the first and best of all beings) endures the worst of all treatment as we ignore, scorn, mock, disregard, overlook, belittle, forsake, disrespect, forget, and ridicule Him daily. And one of the main reasons is that we might repent. And it all flows from His unchanging character and being. Be reminded what every sin deserves. Know that God would be perfectly justified at pouring out wrath upon you and me right now, except that He has decreed that those who believe in Jesus will be spared. But there was/is always a plan and purpose to God.