Love and hatred
Mark 12:1-12 NASB
¹And He began to speak to them in parables: A man planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.
²At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. ³They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
⁴Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully.
⁵And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others.
⁶He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
⁷But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’ ⁸They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.
⁹What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others.
¹⁰Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone; ¹¹This came about from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?
¹²And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away.
People cannot block God’s plan of salvation.
He Himself ensures that it becomes reality.
In this parable, Jesus holds up a mirror to his opponents in which they could recognize themselves (Mark 12:12). In fact, they should now get the shock of their lives: are we so hostile and mean?
Already in the Old Testament the vineyard served as a parable for the people of Israel. Isaiah had illustrated God’s care, his patience, his disappointment, and ultimately his judgment, by telling a story about a vineyard. –Isaiah 5:1-7.
Jesus actualizes this parable in connection with the situation in which the people of Israel now found themselves. Israel disappointed God, as did the barren fig tree in Mark 11:13.
Throughout history, God sent prophets to warn them, but they whipped them or killed them (Mark 12:2-5; Matthew 23:37).
In His great patience, God then sent the Prophet to earth (Deuteronomy 18:15-18): Jesus, his Son. But even Him they would kill (Mark 12:6-8).
Jesus here foretells His death on Golgotha: the utmost love is reciprocated by the utmost hatred. That is why God comes with His judgment.
In Isaiah 5:1-7, the vineyard itself was struck by God’s judgment because it yielded no fruit. Not now, because the vineyard does produce fruit, but the tenants refuse to hand it over to the owner of the land. That is why judgment does not strike the vineyard, but the tenants: the vineyard will be given to ‘others’ (Mark 12:9).
Matthew 21:43 spells out judgment even more clearly: the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people producing its fruits. These are the believers from Jews and Gentiles (See also Romans 10:20, 21).
Jesus is the foundation of that coming Kingdom, the stone of God’s conquering Kingdom (Psalms 118:22, see also Daniel 2:44,45), first rejected by Israel as the Messiah (= the Christ, the Anointed One) (Mark 12:8), but later adopted by many. Wonderful are God’s ways (Mark 12:10,11).
Unfortunately, these Jewish leaders hardened themselves (Mark 12:12).
Will You Let God’s Love Overcome You?
Question for self-reflection
▪︎ Who is Jesus to you? A stone that you stumble upon, or the rock of your salvation? (Compare 1 Peter 2: 4-8.)
▪︎ Pray that God would break all resistance against His grace in you.
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