Hello everyone. I hope this post finds each of you doing great. I was spending a little time this morning reading my bible, when I came across Mark 12:1-12 and I began to meditate on it. Mark 12: 1- 12 is one of those sections of scripture that takes you through the entirety of the human race and sheds light on why things are in the shape they are in. There is so much to unpack, I have decided to break this up into parts, with this being part 1. I am persuaded that if we get a full understanding of this scripture, it will transform how we look at our mission on earth, and change how we execute our faith with our family and others. Let’s get started by reading the full section of scripture, and then we will began to look at each peace.
In this section of scripture, Jesus is speaking to the chief priest, the scribes and the elders as He (Jesus) was walking into the temple, and the religious leaders began to give Him a hard time. After a little back and forth exchange, Jesus said:
“A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.“ Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? ”And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.
To me, when I read this parable, I read a story about a God who is patient. I read a story about mankind that is selfish and greedy. I read a story about servants of God who are selfless and steadfast, especially the ones who followed after the others that had been beaten and murdered. I also read a story of judgement and loss. In part 1 of this series, we will be covering something that many people miss when reading this parable. We will also be coving some things that you may already know. But we need to set the stage for what may prove to be one of the greatest revelations to your Christian walk. Let’s start by reading verse 1 again:
“A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.
“A man”. First of all, who is the man being referred to? If you read the whole parable, you realize quickly that the man that Jesus is referring to, is God the Father. The servants are the prophets of the Old Testament and the son is Jesus. It is important to note, the vinedressers in the parable are the Jewish leaders.
Understanding that, let’s take a quick look at what God did according to the parable. HE planted the vineyard. Not the vinedressers, it was God that planted it. Now, think about the parable for a minute and think about “In the beginning when God created the havens and the earth.” Isn’t that what happened in the beginning? God created the heavens and the earth and blessed it to produce abundantly. Gen. chapter 1 makes that crystal clear. He planted and created everything in the earth and that garden (the earth) that He planted is still producing to this day all that man needs to thrive and survive. Yes, there are areas of this world were the people are in need and hungry. But, that is not God’s fault, as you will see before we finish. It is the fault of greedy, lazy and selfish people. But, we will save that explanation for a little later. Then, in Gen. 2:8-9 we read, He (God the Father) planted a garden (Eden) within the garden (earth). “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.”
Next in the parable, He (the land owner) set a hedge around it. He actually created a wall around the property to protect the crop and everything in it. The reason for the hedge/wall is to protect the vineyard from unwanted intruders, and create a wind break for any harsh storms. It was to be a safe place for the crop and everything in it. Is that not what God did in Gen. 2: 8-9? He created a special place for Adam and Eve to enjoy and take care of. A place that was safe and full of everything they would ever need or want. A place they could have expanded in time (be fruitful and multiple), if they chose to do so. They also could have gone anywhere on earth they wanted to, but God gave them that place to take care of until they grew as a family and became productive.
Now, back to the parable. After the hedge was planted, He dug a place for the wine vat. The wine vat was the place where the vinedressers could take the product that they nurtured, and turn it into something they could make money with. In their case, wine. As in the parable, God also has given us everything that we need to be successful and produce. Maybe this scripture sounds familiar to you, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2Peter 1:2-4 NKJV. Everything we need has been given to us freely to produce every positive result we need. That is great news!
The next to last thing He (the landowner) did for the vinedressers, before He left to a far country was to build them a tower. The tower was actually a watchtower. Watchtowers are used to get up high enough to watch over all the work being done in the vineyard, and to see beyond the hedges for any possible intruders, or dangers to come. In our case we have been given the Holy Spirit, which “when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13 What a blessing! The God of the universe is watching out for us, looking ahead and beyond all that we can see or sense, and is willing to tell us those things to come. Things that we don’t know. Thank you God. There are many of us children that appreciate that.
As you can see from this parable, the vinedressers had it made. Everything was handed to them by the landowner. They only had to focus on the job at hand (water, prune, produce and harvest), be watchful and subdue any intruders that would harm the crop. Does this parable not sound more, and more, like the beginning, with Adam and Eve? Gen 2:15 “God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” What about Gen 1:26; “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion (authority) over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” How about Gen 1:28 when God said to Adam, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; …” God gave him (Adam) authority over everything, just like the vinedressers. They only had to take care of the crop, produce what they wanted and pay the lease (what the landowner wanted, a portion of the crop).
Oh, did I mention the lease? Now this is where I may loose 1 or 2 of you. The lease. Read the parable again. It is there. “And he leased it to vinedressers…” I’m sorry everyone, but if you are going to deal with the parable, you must also address the lease. The lease is possibly the most important part of the story. The lease will explain so much of what is wrong with things today. The lease is a major piece of mankind’s story and we, I, will need some time to unpack it. When I started this post, I said I would need to break this up into parts, with this being part 1. The lease will take me some time to explain, and I promise to cover it in detail in Part 2. They just tell me to keep the blogs short and sweet. Hard to do for someone that loves to teach.
Until then, may God richly bless you and keep you in His will.
With much Love, Dr. J. Peterson Th. D