As we journey through the Witness of Mark, we want to encourage you to first begin with the Daily Reading that will take you through the entire book of Mark. Then, read the First 15 Scripture and Reflection to dive a little deeper into verses from the Daily Reading.
Today's daily reading is: Mark 11:27-12:12
“He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
Once Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem he sets up shop in the temple courts. The second temple complex, renovated under Herod the Great, was expansive, beautiful, and widely regarded as one of the most impressive sights in the ancient world. Surrounding the large temple courtyard were small, arched porticoes, and Jesus likely settled underneath one of these arches when he taught, as was custom. On his first day in the temple complex, Jesus drove out those buying and selling, the moneychangers and those who provided doves for purchase that could be offered as sacrifices. The crowds were amazed at his teaching, but the chief priests and religious leaders sought a way to kill him (Mark 11:18).
On his second day in the temple, the chief priests and teachers of the law challenge Jesus directly: “By what authority are you doing these things?” But the crowds are on Jesus’ side, and Jesus refuses to play their game. He then tells a parable about a vineyard and a vineyard owner who planted, constructed a winepress, fortified the vineyard and even built a watchtower. The vineyard owner then moved to another place and rented the vineyard to a group of farmers.
When the harvest came, the vineyard owner sent a servant to collect rent, a portion of the yield from the vineyard. But the tenants seized the servant, beat him, and sent him away with nothing. The vineyard owner sent another servant who was struck on the head and shamed. But the vineyard owner doesn’t give up. He sends another servant, who is killed, and then many others, some who are beaten, some who are killed.
Finally, Jesus tells us that the vineyard owner “had one left to send, a son, whom he loved.” We’ve heard that phrase before. At his baptism and the transfiguration, a voice declares that Jesus is the beloved. The vineyard keeper, before sending his son, says, “They will respect my son.”
But when the tenants see the son, they say, “This is the heir!” The tenants conspire to kill him, believing that if they do so, the inheritance will be all theirs. When the son arrives, they kill him and throw his body outside the vineyard. For a moment, the wicked appear victorious.
But Jesus reminds his hearers that the vineyard owner is still around, and the vineyard is still his. Hearing of this, the vineyard owner will come to judge and set things right. Jesus quotes from Psalm 118:22-23, a Psalm describing the Davidic king’s vindication by God in the face of opposition. The chief priests, teachers of the law, and the elders understood Jesus’ point. The crowd got the point, too. God was the vineyard owner, the prophets were the servants, Jesus was the son, Israel was the vineyard, and the religious leaders were the wicked tenants. So 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 12:12).
We must be careful here. Jesus spoke this parable against the religious leaders of his day, and in some circumstances, it could be spoken against us. We must listen to God’s prophets. We must be faithful servants in God’s vineyard.
We must rightly respect and honor the Son.
God Almighty, make me a faithful servant in your vineyard, your field, and help me to honor and respect your Son, Jesus. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today, and enable me by grace to be loving, kind, patient, joyful, diligent, and humble. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.