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Mark’s first-century biography – page 34

And he (Jesus of Nazareth, Passover week, AD 30, Jerusalem) began to speak to them in parallels. 

The ‘them’ are the Jerusalem authorities. They had questioned his authority for having thrown out of their Temple the buyers, sellers, and others.

Because they avoided commitment to the Lord God’s message through John the Baptist, he did not disclose clearly the source of his authority. Instead he then used parallels for them (and us) to work that out.

“A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress pit and built a watchtower and gave it out to husbandmen and went away from people."
The Jerusalem authorities were well used to their national and ethnic identity as the family of Israel being compared by the Lord God in their Scriptures to a vine and vineyard. A vineyard chosen, protected, supplied and defended by the Lord God.

“And when the appropriate time came, he sent out a servant to the husbandmen so that he might take from the husbandmen some of the fruit of the vineyard. And having taken him they thrashed him and sent him out with nothing. And again, he sent out to them another servant, and him they struck on the head and abused. And he sent out another, and him they killed. And many others, some thrashing but some killing.”

This history would have been well known to the Jerusalem authorities. Their claim would, however, be that things were now (AD 30) very different. They had got things right.
‘So the Lord said, “People of Jerusalem and Judah, you be the judge between me and my vineyard. What more could I have done for my vineyard? I did everything I could. I kept looking for a crop of good grapes. So why did it produce only bad ones.’ (Isaiah, Jerusalem prophet, c. BC 610)
“He had still one, a beloved son. Finally, he sent him out to them, stating that, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those same husbandmen said among themselves, ‘Since this is the heir, come, we might kill him and the inheritance will be ours.’” 

This, also, would not be new to them because they were very well aware that this Jesus was believed by many (but publicly rejected by them) to be their long-promised Messiah – sent by the Lord God to restore their nation to its long-lost former glory.  And there was more in what Jesus said which was not new to them. Without disclosing their intentions publicly, they did wish to destroy him altogether. They envied what the good he was able to do - and his teaching – which had made him vastly more popular with the people.

“And taking him, they killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the Lord of the vineyard do?” 

This hadn’t happened yet. But it was about to – within days. Jesus asks them to think about consequences. Vital thoughts. Unforeseen consequences.

“He will come and destroy the husbandmen and give the vineyard to others.” 

They would have seen themselves as the ‘husbandmen’ to whom Jesus was referring. But they thought they were pleasing the LORD God and would never lose their earthly glory.

“Have you not publicly read aloud this particular Scripture: ‘The stone which the house builders rejected - this has come to be the head of the corner; this has come to be through the Lord and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” 

The Scripture to which Jesus referred was from Psalm 118, written centuries earlier. It’s included in both Jewish and Christian Bibles today. It was a true parallel for them in AD 30. It’s a true parallel today in a world that wants nothing to do with him.

‘Crucified, laid behind the stone; you lived to die, rejected and alone; like a rose trampled on the ground, you took the fall and thought of me. Above all.’ (Lenny LeBlanc & Paul Baloche) 
And they were seeking to overpower him and they feared the crowd, because they knew that he had said the parallel against them. And leaving him, they went away.

The parallel, instead of deterring Jerusalem’s authorities, made them even more determined. The parallel applies to all of us today. This world is the Lord’s vineyard. He looks for fruit from the husbandmen in it. Many human beings are determined to eliminate Jesus. There are consequences.

Sinner Syvret

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