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The Parable of the Vine Growers

Rev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., July 21, 2019
Part of the The Parables of Jesus series.

As you know, the parables of Jesus are scattered through all four Gospels, with the bulk of them located in the ‘Synoptic Gospels’ (those that are similar, Matthew, Mark, and Luke). When one of these parables is found multiple times in the Gospel accounts, we need to pay particular attention to it. For some reason, the Holy Spirit has seen fit to record it for us more than once.

In Matthew 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, and Luke 20:9-19 we discover the ‘Parable of the Vineyard’ (also called the ‘Parable of the Vine-growers,’ or the ‘Parable of the Land-owner’). Like the other stories that Jesus told, this one also deals with the Kingdom of Heaven. But this parable is uniquely directed against the religious and spiritual leaders of Israel. You can see this as you examine the context, or setting of this story. For example, in Mark’s account you’ll note the context of the parable beginning in 11:1 with the ‘Triumphal Entry’ of Jesus into Jerusalem during the final week of His earthly life. From there, He is confronted by Israel’s religious establishment, and He gives this parable to them as a counterattack upon their rejection of God’s Kingdom.

As with all of Jesus’ parables, there is much for us to learn here about our Savior and about His gracious reign. On Sunday, we will follow Mark’s version of this parable, and we will walk with our Lord through the details of this story as we seek to learn the valuable lessons of salvation and discipleship.

Mark 12:1-12

1And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. 2And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. 3And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. 4And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. 5And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. 6Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. 7But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. 8And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. 9What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. 10And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: 11This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 12And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way. (KJV)