Series: BIOS of a Savior
Bible Passage: Mark 12:1-12
Other Pertinent Scripture: Parallel passages: for Mark 12:1-12 see Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 20:9-18
Psalm 118:22-23; 2 Chronicles 36:11-16; Isaiah 5:7; Ezekiel 36:22-27; Acts 4:11-12; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:4-7; Galatians 5:22-23
The gospel of Mark is a documentary account of the life of Christ. Like other ancient biographies, which were called a BIOS or “life,” Mark’s account speaks to us about the actions and events of a man’s life. But this is no mere man Mark is presenting. This is the holy man who is wholly God, the one who has unique authority to call us to follow him.
As a church, everything about Stonehouse centers on this BIOS - his life, his teaching, his authority, his suffering and his victory.
a note on this week’s text:
At last we see Jesus encounter the Chief Priests in Jerusalem, their meeting is as tense as we would imagine. Jesus said that he was going to be handed over to these men to be killed, to say they oppose him is putting it lightly. Their hearts are hard, they are resistant to the message of Jesus, they are proud & unwilling to repent, and in Mark 11:18 they are said to be bent on destroying Jesus. We find them in Mark 11:27 coming to ask Jesus what authority he is doing his works in. It’s clear that they have no genuine interest in learning about Jesus’ authority. Jesus catches them in their malicious intent and tells the parable of the vineyard illustrating how the leaders of Israel’s history have been unfaithful… and the Chief Priests know Jesus tells this parable “against them.”
The telling of this parable shows that the hearts of the Chief Priests are hardened and that the rejection of Jesus is God’s doing for “this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” Ultimately, Jesus being rejected and becoming the cornerstone means that God is taking the vineyard away from the original tenants and turning it over to others (this signifies the beginning of the church, the true Israel, God’s plan all along). In Jesus, God is doing this new work as hearts are made new through the gospel.
a few items to help take a deeper look this week or share with others:
“Gospel vs. Religion” by Scott Thomas
Suggested discovery/discussion questions:
1. The Chief Priests are not genuinely asking Jesus where his authority comes from. They have no humility in their approach. They’re convinced that they are right and Jesus is wrong and they want to prove that point. Jesus shows the opposite; it is, in fact, they who need to be corrected. When we come to Jesus / when we come to read the Bible / when we join in Christian community, are we genuinely looking to learn, be challenged and to grow? Or are we more interested in trying to confirm where we already think we’re right? In what ways do you need to humble yourself?
2. The parable is a story form condensing of the history of Israel. God built Israel to spread the truth about himself to the world. But Israel failed again and again in staying faithful to God. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of warnings for us in the history of Israel’s failures, both the people and the leaders of the people. What are some of the examples put before us in this storied history? What can we learn from the failures of Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Saul, Zedekiah, etc.? Do you see yourself in some of their sins and mistakes? How should we respond to God when we fail?
3. The Chief Priests perceive that Jesus is telling this parable “against them.” While we could certainly read this all and pick apart what is wrong with the Chief Priests, it’s more important that we take the time to realize how much we are actually like them. The fact is, the Bible has some things to say about us that we aren’t all to excited to recognize. Jesus comes to us through scripture and the work of the Spirit applying the Word to our lives and sometimes it is hard to swallow. What do we do in the challenging times? Are we quick to dismiss or write off the “servants” that are sent our way? Are we like the Chief Priest who are hardened by the challenge of Jesus rather than humble and repentant? Are there some ways that you are being challenged right now? What does your response look like in the midst of challenging and confronting words from Jesus?
4. The parable points to a “changing of the guard” that is to happen when Jesus, the stone rejected by the builders, becomes the cornerstone. The vineyard in the parable is taken away from its original tenants and handed over to others. This change happens when Christ dies and rises again and sends out the apostles to make disciples of all nations. This is the beginning of true Israel, the Church. Those entrusted with the vineyard are the apostles and those who follow in their steps.
We looked at Ezekiel 36:22-27 and the announcement about the new hearts God will give to people by the work of his Spirit. This change of heart happens when we believe the gospel. In Jesus, God does what he had long ago promised, he makes a new people and this new people, the Church, will be entrusted to new leaders. This new people is marked by soft hearts that love to do what God commands rather than stony hearts that cannot do what God commands. It’s the difference between the gospel and religion. It changes everything. The question for us is, have we put our faith in the cornerstone? Do we believe in Jesus, the only way to God? And if we do, then what does this mean? Does it mean we keep on trying to be good and make God happy with our deeds in order to earn something from him? Or, do we trust that Jesus alone is good and that his goodness (righteousness) is ours by faith thus liberating us from trying to earn anything and leading us to trust in grace? We are God’s vineyard when we put our faith in Jesus!
5. This parable reminds us that if we are disciples of Jesus we will bear fruit and that when we don’t bear fruit God pursues us by the Holy Spirit and corrects us. It is the love and grace of God to do this. We must walk away from this parable understanding that correction is loving. Do you believe that? Do you trust that God is up to something good when he works in ways that seem painful? Where do we find the strength and patience to endure the correction of a loving God?
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