Summary: What started out to be a wonderful Vineyard full of good workers who had everything at their command to produce a bountiful harvest of wine for the Master, turned sour. Good people became bad. Workers took over the Vineyard and expelled everyone else.
VENGEFUL VINDRESSERS VENERATE
I. THE ALLEGORY: *
II. THE ADVERSITY: **
III. THE AFTERMATH: ***
Jesus leaves little to be discussed or changed with this part of Mark’s gospel. He wastes little time to get to the nub of the matter regarding the situation of Israel and God’s plan for the nation. He has been ministering for now almost two years and He has not been able to convince the leaders of His own people that things are in a dire straight and need to be changed soon.
The people hear Him speak and see Him do many wonderful things, yet they have not turned in mass to accept His will. All they can think of and dwell upon is the need to set Israel free from the Romans. The leaders think that Jesus is a radical and that His inflammatory sermons will eventually bring the wrath of the mighty Romans against their land. Instead of embracing Him, they shun Him and would like for Him to fade away. The whole religious and political set-up of His day was cozy for the lot of the leaders and they would rather have it this way, rather than obeying Him and gaining religious freedom. Somehow, the religious leaders had allowed themselves to be deluded into thinking that all was okay as long as they continued their Temple services and paid their taxes to Rome.
Yet, the Wise One, looked down the road of the future and was saying things that were either ignored or beyond comprehension of the leaders. This did not impede the Messenger or His message as He tried to shake the present situation free from its apathy. Realizing that the only way He could make any common sense to the powers-that-be, was to state His message of dire warning in a language that all could grasp. Yet, even with the clarity He gave in these verses of Holy Writ, the message went largely unheeded.
The truth remained regardless of the actions of the leaders and many of them lived to see exactly to what He referred on the day He gave this message. I see three things before me in these verses as they relate to the title. The first thing I note is the massage He gave was in the form of an ALLEGORY. What He said that day was couched in the form of a vineyard which all could understand as He related the story of the owner and the workers of this vineyard. Next, I note the ADVERSITY of the situation at hand between the owner and the vinedressers. This, evidently was close to the truth of the matter in real life of His day: the vinedressers clashing with the owners on some issues. Only in this situation, things got out of hand very quickly. Lastly, I see the AGENDA that the owner of the vineyard had to adapt in order to rectify the situation. This story is a story of desperation between two entities and the struggle ended to the detriment of the workers and the hurt of the owner. The people who heard Him speak this message that day might have comprehended some of the intent but it was not until everything fell apart in Israel that the real message became apparent to everyone who endured the terrible time which lay ahead for the nation and its religious liberty.
* THE ALLEGORY: Jesus was a Master at teaching by parables and by using allegories. What He saw in this world never seemed to escape His mind. He drew lessons from the common, everyday things of this life. He used fishermen and shepherds to teach valuable lessons for all to hear. He saw a lady give her all in the Temple offering one time and from this event He was able to derive a whole lesson about giving one’s best to the Lord. He castigated the rich and the powerful through His many parables and allegories. The lesson He gave forth at this time was familiar to His audience-the vineyard and vinedressers. Everyone knew something about these entities since so much of the natural livelihood was tied to the grapes and their growing in special places called a vineyard. The country side was dotted by these many and varied locales where grapes were grown, harvested and then turned into wine. He did not need a large projection screen or a large easel to drive home His point. When He spoke about the vineyard-everyone knew something about that which He was addressing. May we preachers learn a lesson from the Master: talk to our people about things they understand.
The first part of His ALLEGORY had to do with a specific Area of land. In the only way He could, He began the story about an owner who had some land and decided to turn this area into a vineyard. Jesus never told His audience that the man bought the land, nor did He say that the man rented the land. He simply launches into the story by asserting that the man in question owned the land, lock stock and barrel. No one challenged the man as to his ownership, Jesus said that the man decided to do with his land what he wanted to do with it. How much plainer could He get to refer to God owning this world and doing what He wanted to do with it?