Lent.07: Parable

Palm Prints

Mark 12:1-12

Jesus spoke to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the winepress, and built a tower. Then he rented it to tenant farmers and took a trip. When it was time, he sent a servant to collect from the tenants his share of the fruit of the vineyard. But they grabbed the servant, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again the landowner sent another servant to them, but they struck him on the head and treated him disgracefully. He sent another one; that one they killed. The landlord sent many other servants, but the tenants beat some and killed others. Now the landowner had one son whom he loved dearly. He sent him last, thinking, They will respect my son. But those tenant farmers said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ They grabbed him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

“So what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others. Haven’t you read this scripture, The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this, and it’s amazing in our eyes?”[a]

They wanted to arrest Jesus because they knew that he had told the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.

[a] Ps 118:22-23

Mark 12: 1-12, Common English Bible (c) 2011

This is a parable.  It is “a metaphor drawn from common life, arresting the hearer by its strangeness and leaving the mind to doubt its precise application so as to tease it into active thought.” (C.H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom, used by Stephen Patterson in his book The God of Jesus.)

While the first audience (chief priests, legal experts, elders) is clear that the parable is told against them, I’m not so sure.  Could Jesus be talking to us when we hang on tightly to a tradition or a particular practice because we’ve always done it that way?  Could the parable be addressing us when we ignore the voices of children or newcomers?  Could the story be a warning about grabbing what is not ours to have?

So, what do you think?

-Teressa Clark, 2012, 2019

Lenten Reflections 2019:  Following Jesus from the Mount of Olives to the Tomb ~ Day 7


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