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                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

            The Parable Of The Wicked Vinedressers (12:1-12)

INTRODUCTION

1. Reviewing the events of the Last Week recorded by Mark so far...
   a. Sunday - The triumphal entry and brief visit to the temple - Mk
      11:1-11
   b. Monday - The cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the
      temple - Mk 11:12-19
   c. Tuesday - The lesson of the fig tree and the authority of Jesus
      questioned - Mk 11:20-33

2. As we continue our study with chapter twelve, it is still Tuesday of
   the Last Week...
   a. In the temple, Jesus begins to speak in parables - Mk 12:1
   b. Matthew records a trilogy of parables, while Mark just one

[Mark records the parable of "The Wicked Vinedressers" (Mk 12:1-12), its
meaning quite clear...]

I. THE MEANING OF THE PARABLE

   A. THE PARTICULARS OF THE PARABLE...
      1. The vineyard immediately brings to mind Israel
         a. The figure of a vineyard referring to Israel was well-known
            - cf. Isa 5:1-7
         b. But here it is not Israel as a nation per se...
            1) Rather, "the special advantages and opportunities which
               were given to the people as the chosen seed" (W.M. Taylor,
               The Parables of Our Savior)
            2) For later Jesus explains the vineyard (or kingdom of God)
               will be given to others ( "a nation producing its fruit")
               - Mk 12:9; cf. Mt 21:43
      2. The man who planted the vineyard is God
      3. The wicked vinedressers represents Israel’s leaders - Mk 12:12
         a. Their chief priests, scribes, elders, and their followers
            - cf. Mt 21:45
         b. Therefore, the physical nation of Israel as a whole
      4. The servants who were sent in behalf of the landowner
         represents the prophets
         a. As a nation, Israel rejected many of her prophets - cf. 2Ch
            36:15-16
         b. Note the plaintive cry of Jesus over Jerusalem later on
            - cf. Mt 23:37
      5. The landowner’s son is Jesus Christ Himself

   B. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REVEAL JESUS’ INTENT...
      1. To help them see why God would be just
         a. In bringing condemnation upon Israel
         b. In giving the blessings of Israel to those more deserving
            - cf. Mt 21:43
      2. Their rejection of Jesus had been foretold - Mk 12:10-11; cf.
         Ps 118:22-23
         a. The "builders" were the religious leaders of the nation
         b. The "stone" they rejected was Christ
         c. Yet, this stone would be made a "chief cornerstone" by God
            Himself
            1) In which God would build something new, i.e., the church
               - cf. 1Pe 2:4-10
            2) Where both Jew and Gentile are members of God’s household
               - Ep 2:19-20

[The main lesson of this parable can be summarized in the words of Ps
2:12...

         "Kiss (i.e., pay homage to) the Son, lest He be angry,
            And you perish in the way,
            When His wrath is kindled but a little.
         "Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him."

So obvious was Jesus’ meaning and intent in telling this parable, that
the religious leaders’ would have arrested Him at that moment had it not
been for the people (Mk 12:12).

What application can we make from this parable?  Is there a lesson for
us today that can be drawn...?]

II. AN APPLICATION OF THE PARABLE

   A. GOD OFTEN BESTOWS WONDERFUL PRIVILEGES...
      1. This He had done with the nation of Israel
         a. Like a precious vineyard, God planted Israel in Canaan
         b. He blessed the nation with laws, priests, prophets, and
            other special privileges
         c. He eventually sent His only begotten Son as their Messiah
      2. What about us?
         a. Have we not received wonderful privileges from God?
         b. We enjoy free access to the Word of God, and the freedom to
            worship without fear of persecution; many in the world do not
         c. We are blessed to hear things that prophets, kings, and
            saints of old desired to hear and were not able - cf. Mt
            13:16-17

   B. PEOPLE OFTEN MAKE BAD USE OF THEIR PRIVILEGES...
      1. The history of Israel as a nation established by God
         a. They consistently murmured against God in the wilderness
         b. They turned away from God time and again during the period
            of the Judges
         c. They persecuted His prophets, and eventually rejected His
            own Son
      2. What about us?
         a. We have blessings given to us through Christ
            1) The forgiveness of sins through His blood
            2) The aid of the Holy Spirit in putting to death the deeds
               of the body
            3) The joy of fellowship in the family of God
            4) The privilege of sharing the gospel with a dying world
         b. And yet Christians often turn their back on such blessings
            1) They sin, and do not seek forgiveness
            2) They do not seek the help God gives to deal with the
               problem of sin
            3) They neglect their brethren by forsaking the assembling,
               and by not developing close relationships with them
            4) They make little or no effort to spread the precious
               gospel of Christ

   C. JUDGMENT COMES ON THOSE WHO MAKE BAD USE OF THEIR PRIVILEGES...
      1. Again, the nation of Israel is an example
         a. They suffered forty years of wandering in the wilderness
         b. God allowed neighboring nations to be a thorn in their side
         c. They endured Assyrian and Babylonian captivity
         d. God destroyed their temple and their religion by the Syrians
            (167 B.C.) and the Romans (70 A.D.)
         e. He has indeed taken away the kingdom of God from them, and
            given it to a nation bearing the fruits of it - cf. Mt 21:43
      2. What about us?
         a. Consider the words of Jesus - Jn 15:1-2,6; Re 2:4-5,16; 3:1-3
         b. Consider what was written to the Hebrew Christians - He
            10:26-31
      3. Clearly, if we do not utilize our special privileges...
         a. God will take away the blessings we have (i.e., the kingdom
            of God)
         b. And give it to someone who appreciates it (i.e., bears the
            fruit of it)

CONCLUSION

1. Truly God has given us wonderful blessings...
   a. He made us worthy to be "partakers of the inheritance of the
      saints" - Col 1:12
   b. He "has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us
      into the kingdom of the Son of His love" - Col 1:13
   c. In Christ we have "redemption through His blood, the forgiveness
      of sins" - Col 1:14
   d. He sent us apostles and prophets of His Son, whose words are in
      the New Testament

2. Let us be careful how we receive them (cf. Jn 13:20), for the next
   time the Beloved Son is sent, He is coming in terrifying judgment!
   - 2Th 1:7-10

Indeed, as Jesus said...

   "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required;
   and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."
                                                         - Lk 12:48
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