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March 15

Mark 12:1-12

1 He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them. 3 But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent another servant to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; some they beat, and others they killed. 6 He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenant farmers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill the farmers and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this Scripture: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 11 This came about from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes?” 12 They were looking for a way to arrest him but feared the crowd because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. So they left him and went away. — Mark 12:1-12

The Servant With Authority

by Lauren Webb
Station Hill Campus

The young seem to bear the weight of God’s authority more intensely, yet the old are not exempt. It is no small matter to heed God’s authority in your life. His authority in our lives is intertwined with our very human, very short-sighted expectations of Christ. Our hopes and expectations bleed into our prayers—for mission work, careers, families, ministries, marriages, health goals and success.

Only as we step through the last door of our goals do we find that the room is empty, the stage bare, and the applause of heaven silent. The confusing echo of Christ’s “no” is hanging in the air. We look back and wonder what happened.

In this parable, Christ is sharing the gospel. He clearly indicates that He is the Messiah, the Son who is to be slain for the sins of the people. But He is also fully God, and He is also communicating His authority to those who were listening.

Those to whom He spoke were not so different from those of us today who seek God’s will in our lives. The Pharisees had been given the work of God. They focused on teaching and keeping the laws and looked for a promised Messiah. They also prayed for guidance and witnessed God moving on their behalf in their daily lives. They were confident that Israel would be restored to its former glory and their reward would follow.

Jesus, however, did not fit into their expectations. With Christ, the Pharisees’ room was empty, their stage was bare and the applause of heaven was not for them. Jesus was a servant. He didn’t sell the Pharisees a lesser view of the Kingdom of Heaven to spare their feelings. Christ used a direct parable with direct language to make sure His point got across.

His words echoed Isaiah 5. He wanted the listeners to recognize His voice, for they were well versed in these Scriptures. Feel the impact as He asks, “What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do?”

The Pharisees got the point, for the Scripture says, “They perceived He was talking to them.” The choice was theirs. Would they accept His authority and relinquish their expectations, or would they retain their ideas and goals even at the cost of the Kingdom?

If you have ever faced the authority of Christ, take heart. Christ as a suffering servant will not sell us short of His glory to spare our feelings. Christ will not downplay His authority so our faulty expectations remain intact. One day, when Christ returns, He will obliterate all our expectations, revealing that the applause of heaven was not silent after all, but simply muted to our earthly ears. We will be in awe at what He has done for us.

Hear Christ’s questions again through the lens of the cross. What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do...when He returns?

Praxis

  1. In what areas of your life do find it difficult to surrender to Christ’s authority? Be encouraged to write them out, and then be brave enough to offer them to the One who has all authority.
  2. When you expect Christ to make life easier or fix your problems, and He doesn’t do it the way you wanted, how does this change your affection towards Him?
  3. God has plans and work for each of us who call on His name. Our expectations of what that looks like can get in the way of our obedience. What are some practices we could set in place to safeguard our walks in faith?