Monday 14 March 2016

Bible Book:

“Have you not read this scripture: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?” (vv. 10-11)

Mark 12:1-12 Monday 14 March 2016

Psalm: Psalm 56


The previous chapter of Mark's Gospel is anexhausting dance around the edges of Jerusalem - Jesus enters thecity in triumph, riding on a colt and cheered by the crowds, onlyto head back to Bethany, returning to Jerusalem to anger the chiefpriests and scribes by turning over tables in the temple, leavingagain and finally returning, to be met with a torrent ofinterrogation. The events of chapter 11 have heightened the anxietyof the religious leaders who have witnessed Jesus' popularity withthe crowds and his apparent disregard for the temple economy. Thequestions fly, in an attempt to 'trap' Jesus - "By what authorityare you doing these things?" (Mark11:28); "Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?" (Mark12:14); "Which commandment is the first of all?" (Mark12:28). In the midst of this comes the parable of the tenants,which the religious leaders realised was told "against them" (v.12).

A vineyard is often used in the Old Testament as a metaphor forthe people of Israel. In the parable, the owner of a vineyard,expecting his rightful share in its profits, sends a series ofslaves and finally his beloved son to reason with the tenants. Butthey are each beaten or killed. In return, the tenants aredestroyed and the vineyard given to others. Many see the owner asGod, the slaves as the Old Testament prophets and his beloved sonas Jesus, rejected and killed by God's own people.

Jesus reinforces the message of the parable by quoting Psalm118:22, saying that the "stone the builders rejected has becomethe cornerstone". In Jesus' time, this psalm was already understoodto refer to the coming Messiah. By quoting it at this stage in hisconversation with the religious leaders, it seems that Jesus wasidentifying himself with the rejected stone and the priests,scribes and elders with the tenants/builders - those tasked withnurturing and building up the faith of the people of God, but whohad been blinded by power to the point that they rejected God's ownSon.

To Ponder

  • Who are the people or groups whose views you tend to reject orignore? What are the dangers in doing so?
  • Think of a time you have felt rejected. What can you learn fromJesus' response that might be able to help you?

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