Religious Dangers

The Hard Reactions of the Religious Lost (Mark 12:1-12)

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The Hard Reactions of the Religious Lost

Two parables about Israel’s reaction to Christ,

from the gospel of Mark 12:1 to 12


One of my fun-est classes in college was Psychology 101–not because I embrace a humanistic belief about people, but because of all the great experiments the course allowed me to try out on people I have never met. I loved watching how people reacted to tying a rope around my friend like a dog leash, and having that friend pretend he was crazy, funny, strange, silly, and then recording how people reacted–with mercy, with disdain, with fear, with concern, or even with anger.

I loved watching people react to my weird behavior in elevators–standing face in one of the corners, moaning the entire time, counting the numbers out loud as they flashed by, pretending to be sick after the doors close, talking about the next floor as the cursed floor, and watching how people reacted to all that, then ask why? People reacted differently.

We’ll now witness severe reactions to the Lord’s teaching and behavior. The Lord has entered Jerusalem with thousands of people shouting messianic praise. Jesus cleaned out the Temple, showing God’s judgment upon the current state of the Jewish religion–a false religion of works, of self-righteousness and good deeds, a religion that turned the place of worship into a swap-meet.

Next, the Lord taught His men about prayer–the disciples need to know they’ll still have the same help and provision they enjoyed while Christ was physically with them through prayer.

But now after the Temple cleansing, the religious leaders have had enough. They will now openly attack Christ, to find a way to disqualify Him in front of the population gathered for the Passover. They will try to get Jesus to admit that He is related to God, and that His authority only comes from God. But with effortless brilliance, Jesus turns it around on them by asking them about John the Baptist.

If they affirm John as a true prophet, then they have to embrace Christ as the Messiah, since John dogmatically pointed to Christ as the Old Testament promised Messiah–as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. But if the leaders reject John, then the population will reject the leaders, because the population believed John the Baptist to be a prophet of God, which he was the forerunner of Christ.

That’s all chapter 11–that’s all on Monday, Tuesday and now it’s Wednesday of the Lord’s final week of public ministry. Wednesday is the day of confrontation–the religious leaders are hatefully aggressive in their attempts to make Christ say something or do something that would cause the population to reject Christ, which would then allow them to kill Christ.

On Friday they’ll succeed in murdering Christ, but remember, they only succeed because the Father allows it to happen. God the Father desired the Lord’s death to occur on Friday–with all the other Passover lambs as the ultimate Passover Lamb. Listen carefully to Acts 2:23, “This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”

Evil men murdered Christ, but it was also God accomplishing His predetermined plan. Never forget, Christian–God is sovereign over all, but we have the responsibility to do what is right and do what is best, no matter what. And today, the Lord will use two parables–judgment parables, describing God’s sovereign plan and man’s responsibility to respond to God’s plan and God’s salvation through Christ.

Today you will see the religious lost react badly. Jesus stood on Solomon’s Porch on the east side of the Court of the Gentiles, amidst a forest of huge Corinthian columns, each rising almost forty feet to a richly ornamented roof, forming a colossal veranda extending several hundred feet to the north and south. Below this immense porch, a breath-taking view of the Mount of Olives, the sun-drenched Judean hills, and the Kidron Valley, which drops off at this point to a depth of 450 feet.

Here Jesus confronts the religious leaders and a massive crowd gathered for Passover, with this pointed parable. These verses show the reactions of the nation of Israel to Christ, but also the reactions of the religious lost to you when you share the Gospel. This passage is about the prophets being tortured, and Christ being killed by the leaders of Israel. But it’s also about the incredible patience of God toward those who reject Him.

This passage reminds us God produces fruit through believers, but believers also are responsible to yield to Christ and serve Him in order to produce fruit. In other words, God is sovereign and man is responsible. God has His sovereign plan, and you are responsible for how you react to His mighty hand.

I was one of the leads at the junior camp at Hume Lake Christian Camps, for 4th to 6th graders, called Wagon Train. At Wagon Train, we taught our adult counselors to sit with their kids surrounding them–not on the right and left, not all in a row, but all around you so you could quietly put your hand on their shoulder if they became distracting during the Bible teaching. I warned them, as they gently grabbed a rude kid on their shoulder they’d get one of two reactions–either the slumping shoulder of submission, or the angry shrug of rejection. One reacts with submission, the other reacts with rebellion.

How do you react when the mighty hand of the Lord grabs you with a trial or test? This morning, the people of Israel shrug off the hand of God in anger–they react hard to the hand of God. Jesus gives a parable in order to describe the sovereign hand of God, and the irresponsible, harsh reactions of the nation of Israel. What does Jesus say?

Let’s stand and read Mark 12:1 through 12, “And He began to speak to them in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.  2 At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers.  3 They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others. 6 He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” 7 But those vine-growers said to one another, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!” 8 They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture: “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone; 11 This came about from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes”?’ 12 And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away.”

Let’s pray! Lord, help us to understand how the leaders and crowd reacted to Christ, and help us today to react differently. Help us to respond in humility, brokenness, and a yielding heart. Stop us from being hard, hostile, rejecting, but especially stop us from being indifferent, or willfully inactive. Cause us to see you accurately as a God of wrath, and a God of great patience, and impact us today to either come to you, or become more like you. Amen

#1 The POINTED Parable to the People of Israel  Verses 1 to 9

Mark presents a blistering judgment upon the religious leaders for being entrusted with God’s vineyard, only to produce no fruit. And Mark here holds them responsible for the murder of God’s Son. And Jesus will describe all this through a simple parable.

Verse 1, “And He began to speak to them in parables.” What’s a parable? It’s an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Parables sometimes puzzle you, and they make truth clear. They’re designed to shock listeners and challenge them, rather than simply explaining moral platitudes. And this parable of the vineyard is the most elaborate of all Mark’s parables in His gospel. And in this pointed lesson, you’ll get an X-ray of God’s heart. You’ll see God’s expectations of His people. In fact, verse 1 gives you . . .

First  The HOPE of God for His People  Verse 1

Jesus pictures God’s hope for Israel is like the hope of a man who built a vineyard and waited expectantly for it to produce. Verse 1 says this, “And He began to speak to them in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.’”

As Jesus spoke these words, the religious leaders and the Passover crowds understood them, whether they liked them or not. The vineyard was and is the national symbol for Israel. In fact, the very Temple where Jesus is standing sported a huge richly carved grapevine, 105 feet high, sculpted around the door which led to the Holy of Holies. The branches, tendrils, and leaves were covered with the finest gold. The grape bunches hanging on the branches were costly jewels.

Herod first placed it there, and rich and patriotic Jews added to its embellishment for over 80 years. It symbolized the nation. Even old Maccabean coins bore the symbol of grapes or grape leaves, in order to represent the nation of Israel. There is little doubt that in verse 1 Jesus is referring to the beautiful Song of the Vineyard in Isaiah 5:1 to 7, a song about Israel. Just like a bald eagle, or the Statue of Liberty symbolize America, Jesus’ hearers knew the vineyard in His parable was Israel.

As Jesus talked, they also clearly grasped that the owner of the vineyard was God Himself, who had taken great pains to make this vineyard healthy and productive. What did God do? Verse 1, He “put up a wall” to keep intruders and wild animals out. There would be boars who’d damage the vineyard, and foxes who’d steal the grapes–enemies are kept out.

He “dug a pit for the winepress.” That is, he dug a pit out of solid rock, forming two vats–an upper, shallow place where the grapes were smashed, and a lower vat into which the juice ran through a channel in the rock to then collect the wine into jars or skins. He “built a tower” some fifteen to twenty feet high as a place for shelter, and a place for storage. But most of all, it was a vantage point from which the entire vineyard could be observed and protected with a sling.

God “planted a vineyard”–Isaiah 5:2 describes it this way. “He dug it all around, removed its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it and also hewed out a wine vat in it; then He expected it to produce good grapes, but it produced only worthless ones.” The point is, God created a beautiful garden, a blessed nation from which great things should and would come.

This is the story of what God did in the Old Testament. Under God’s leadership, Abraham left Ur and became the father of a chosen people, which was to be a blessing to the world. Moses delivered them from Egypt, now numbering over a million, and brought them back to the land of milk and honey. God delivered them and gave them His Law–their constitution. Then under Joshua, they made the land of Canaan their own–so now God expected great fruit to come from this spiritual vineyard.

Then it says in verse 1, “and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.”  Such lease agreements were common in Israel, with the owner usually getting one-third, to one-half the produce. Now these farmers, these vine growers are clearly a reference to the spiritual leadership of Israel. God’s expectations were high. God gave them great advantages. And as a result, God hoped for the development of a people who would so radiate His character and purpose they’d actually be a light to the Gentiles. And as a result, great responsibility rested on these vine growers, these farmers, to be faithful to their great owner, in order to see His vineyard, His people, produce great fruit.

Stop! Before you see this only as a past problem, think. You and I today, all of us here at FBC, are farming a far richer vineyard than ancient Israel. You are wealthier than they were. You have no living prophets like Isaiah or Daniel, but you do have the complete Word of God. You have so much more in our risen Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit, along with the full revelation of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures–plus over 2,000 years of testimony, examples, and the study of the Word.

We are so rich spiritually, intellectually, and materially. Jesus said in Luke 12:48, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, it’s inexcusable to lack the fruit of the Spirit, lack faithfulness of worship attendance or service in ministry to others through your spiritual giftedness. There is no excuse for being dominated by your temper, giving in to impatience, allowing jealousy to take root, allowing lust to rule or covetousness to eat you up–friends, you have Christ.

So there at the very pinnacle of the Temple, with the bright panorama of Judah as a backdrop, Jesus told these hardhearted leaders in no uncertain terms about God’s expectations of them.

Second  The EXPECTATIONS of God from Israel  Verse 2

At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers.” You say, “The owner was away for a long time–doesn’t that seem kinda unfair to expect some payment cause you’ve been gone?”

No! Grape plants don’t grow mature grapes the first year after planting. Usually, the very first harvest to expect some payment or return on a field like this is about five years–five years after the initial planting, you can expect some return. So it was not unusual the landowner would be gone for a long time, since he would not expect an immediate return on his investment. But after five years, finally now it’s harvest time, and the owner expects his percentage. Fruit should be produced. But this is when the parable gets surprising.

Third  The PATIENCE of God Being Mistreated by Israel  Verses 3 to 5

’They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others.’”

Sadly, most of you here right now are familiar with this parable. So when you read verses 3 to 5, you’re not shocked by it. Oh yea, “they beat some and killed others”–same song, second verse. No, this would be like your boss expecting a reasonable job from you, then sending one of his admins to get the paperwork, and you hit him repeatedly with your hole punch.

This is like your teacher expecting some homework from you, but you kill the teacher’s assistant who comes to get it. This is like your parents expecting you to clean your room, but you crack your brother’s head open just for coming to tell you. No wait, that’s normal for some. This is crazy behavior–everyone knows this is nuts. Yet this actually happened in real life–beatings, wounding, even murdering actually occurred between farmers and landowners in Israel at this time in history.

And if the Biblical restrictions given in Leviticus 19 were followed, five years had to pass before fruit could be harvested. This meant farmers had ample time to come to regard the owners’ property as their own. Outrages like this actually happened in Israel when Jesus spoke, so the leaders and the crowd knew what He was talking about.

But behind it, they all knew Jesus was referring to the way the leadership of Israel had treated God’s prophets. Elijah was driven into the wilderness by the monarchy (1 Kings 19:1 to 5). Isaiah, according to tradition, was sawn in two–not easy. Zechariah was stoned to death near the altar (2 Chronicles 24:21). John the Baptist was beheaded. So the writer of Hebrews summarizes in Hebrews 11:37 to 38, “They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”

And the Lord tells us in His parable, that all of this was done because Israel’s leaders wanted the vineyard’s fruits for themselves. God’s servants, God’s prophets, through announcing God’s Word threatened the leadership’s position and their monetary profits. And now Jesus, by stopping the Temple swap meet and moneychangers, is also threatening their profits.

So as Jesus continues in the parable, the leaders were visibly stung. Some undoubtedly drew their robes closer, as Christ moved from history to prophecy by unmasking their ultimate intention–to put Him to death. The Jewish leaders were cruel to God’s servants, and the current leaders listening, and the crowd knew it. But what they didn’t fully know was they were about to be cruel to the owner’s own Son–they’re about to kill Him.

Fourth  The SACRIFICE of God being Killed by Israel  Verses 6 to 8

’He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” 7 But those vine-growers said to one another, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!” 8 They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.’”

What’s scary is, the heart motivation of these men is easily discernible. They must have supposed, in seeing the master’s son come alone, that the master was dead. Therefore, if they killed the son, they alone would command the property. They wanted all the proceeds of the vineyard for themselves. Jesus actually exposes why they kill the son–do you see it? “And the inheritance will be ours”–greed drove this.

Do not forget–this is on the heels of Jesus cleaning out the Temple. The religious leaders had turned the Temple into a massive moneymaking flea market. The moneychangers were raking in millions, and the largest cut went to the religious leaders. And in a true sense, the religious leaders were actually requiring the Jewish people to pay huge amounts of money just to worship. In order to merely fulfill the law correctly, they made people pay so much, they pocketed millions every Passover.

Jesus stopped them by cleaning out the Temple, ultimately cutting off their gravy train. “Don’t stop our embezzled funds or we will kill you! Don’t mess with our Passover profits or you’re gonna die!” This is all about the money–they wanted the entire harvest and the entire vineyard for themselves, and would stop at nothing to get what they wanted–even killing the owner’s son.

In two days, these very listeners, would haul Christ before their own Jewish authorities and condemn Him. They’d arrange for His death outside the city (symbolically, outside the vineyard), so that the vineyard would become theirs alone. They are about to kill Christ and incur God’s eternal wrath for their evil actions. Don’t miss the obvious here.

Do you see the incredible patience of God?  Even after beating and killing His servants, God still sends His Son. One representative of God after another was abused and slain by God’s people, yet God kept sending more, and finally sent His Son. Martin Luther, the great reformer, said this, “If I were God, and the world had treated me as it treated Him, I would kick the wretched thing to pieces.”

Instead of pinching our heads off one by one, instead of turning His back on this fallen world filled with fallen people, instead of using this world like a soccer ball like we would have, God patiently sent godly servant after godly servant. They were insulted, beaten, even killed, but none of that stopped the Lord from sending His men. Finally, still patient, still loving, still with a heart for people, God sent His Son.

Spurgeon said, “If you reject Him, He answers you with tears; if you wound Him, He bleeds out cleansing; if you kill Him, He dies to redeem; if you bury Him, He rises again to bring resurrection. Jesus is LOVE made manifest.” Think about this–the Son dwelt with the Father and the Spirit in inconceivable glory. So unimaginable in perfect oneness, so sweet in perfect joyful fellowship it’s indescribable.

All three persons are co-equal, co-eternal, and possessing all the fullness of deity. And Jesus Christ left all that so that you might be saved. And in sending His Son, there was nothing more God could do. Jesus was God’s final ultimatum. As a result, nothing remains if Christ is refused. Ignore Christ, pass Him by, seek other things first and you’re lost. Yet even if you do, there is still some hope.

God’s love is often still available to those who have previously rejected God’s Word. You can reject each of us, mock the person of Christ, but Christ will still offer His salvation and love to the repentant. The Lord had achieved such a huge following, the leaders were convinced the only way to preserve their position and keep their profits was to kill Him–which is exactly what they did. It’s Wednesday, and they will crucify Christ on Friday, in two days.

Yet in spite of that, Christ is trying to reach their hearts. And in spite of your reaction, Christ is still trying to reach your heart. But be warned–don’t toy with Christ’s love, for there’ll come a day when it might be too late, and after that you will only meet with the severity of God.

Fifth  The Severity of God to Israel’s Rejection  Verse 9

What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others.” The listening crowd spotted with leaders, will see the actions of the vine-growers as evil, deserving wrath and judgment from God. In fact, Matthew tells us just how angry the listeners were at those farmers–listen to the attitude in Matthew 21:41. “They said to Him, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.’”

Certainly the leaders, and possibly the crowd, just pronounced their own judgment. The verdict on the vinedressers was Christ’s verdict on them. Jesus says He will destroy the vinedressers, meaning Christ will execute them–they will die and spend eternity in Hell. Plus their false belief will bring about the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70AD.

What else will the owner do? Verse 9 adds, the owner will give the vineyard to others. Who are the others? Well, who started the Church? The apostles–they will be the foundation of the Church and the dispensers of God’s Word. You see, a transition has already begun. Jesus gave authority to His apostles. They uniquely have authority over disease, over demons, and Christ has given them the truth, and told them to go preach the Gospel.

This is Wednesday, and on Thursday Jesus will meet with His apostles in the upper room, and He’ll tell them, “The Holy Spirit is going to come and He’s going to lead you in to all truth.” Why? Why does He say that? Because they’re going to be the stewards of truth, the unrevealed truth, the mysteries that have been hidden from ages past that will now be revealed to you. This is why the Early Church committed themselves not to the Rabbi tradition, or Pharisee teaching, or Sadducee ideas, but the apostles’ doctrine.

The apostles were the human writers of the New Testament, and the teachers of doctrine in the Early Church. And this Church–made up of mainly Gentiles, will temporarily take the place of Israel. God will give His vineyard over to the Church, Romans 11:11, “I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.”

Israel is not finished, but they’ve been set aside for a season while the Church, made up of people from all the nations, all tongues, seek to fulfill the purpose of Israel, which is to reach the nations with the Gospel, until one day the nation of Israel will again be the chosen of God. But there is an additional reaction–a strong reaction to this parable, which Luke alone describes.

A Strong Additional Reaction

Jesus tells this parable to the leaders and a huge crowd, but there were some in the crowd who understood its message as directed at their spiritual leaders and didn’t like, nor accept that logical conclusion. Luke 20:16, “He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others. When they heard it, they said, ‘May it never be!’

Some of the crowd gets that this parable is directed at the spiritual leaders, or the spiritual leaders themselves react with, “Certainly not, may it never be. Not our leaders!”–strong Greek. They jump to their leaders’ aid, or their own defense saying, “No, our faith is not wrong–they are not wrong. You’re wrong! No, Jesus–it doesn’t mean God will destroy the religious leaders. It doesn’t mean God will ever give the vineyard to someone else. No, may it never be–certainly not.”

But look at Luke 20:16 to 17, “When they heard it, they said, ‘May it never be!’ 17 But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘What then is this that is written: “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone”?’” They refuse to accept that God could reject the religious leaders. It’s too difficult for them to embrace that God would punish His own people for killing the prophets, and for rejecting the Messiah.

So how does Jesus answer them? The way we should. Jesus answers them by quoting Scripture. He shows them what the Word of God says–He proves His point by using the Bible. He quotes what’s been prophesied about Himself in the Bible. Give people the Bible, not your opinion.

#2  The PROPHESIED Parable about the Messiah  Verses 10 to 12

’Have you not even read this Scripture: “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone; 11 This came about from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes”?’ 12 And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away.”

Do not share your opinion. Do not teach your practice as principle. Do not share your thoughts on the idea, or what worked for you. Do what Jesus does, verse 10, “Have you not even read this Scripture.” Teach the Bible, share a passage, give others God’s Word. If you don’t know what the Bible says, tell them you’ll find out what the Bible teaches about their question, then get back with them.

Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean your advice is godly. Just because you’re born again, doesn’t mean your opinion is biblical. Your ideas, traditions, or practices that worked do not transform–only God’s Word saves, and only the Bible sanctifies. Romans 10:17 tells you only God’s Word saves, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

And John 17:17 tells you only God’s Word sanctifies. “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” Christians, stop sharing what you think, and share what God says. Answer with God’s Word, like Jesus does here. The Lord adds another parable–a different one. It’s no longer the vineyard and the vinedressers, but a parable about the chief cornerstone who’s rejected, then restored as the best. This parable is prophesied in the Old Testament, so it comes with proven biblical authority. And what does the Lord prove from the Old Testament?

First  The Shocking DESIGN for the Messiah  Verse 10

’Have you not even read this Scripture: “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone.”’” Jesus quotes the messianic prophesy from Psalm 118:22, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.” This points to the Lord’s crucifixion, resurrection then restoration as the cornerstone.

You all know what a cornerstone is? It is the perfect stone that sets the symmetry, stability and direction of an entire building. Builders would reject stone after stone until they found the perfect stone to function as the cornerstone, which would then set the entire building. Jesus is the cornerstone. The Lord is telling us the Old Testament already prophesied that He’d be rejected by the builders, but then Jesus would become the best and chief cornerstone.

And here, the builders are the religious leaders who’d reject, meaning crucify, Jesus–the cornerstone. But in resurrecting from the dead, Jesus would become the chief cornerstone. The Kingdom, and all the spiritual advantages given to Israel, would now be given to other vinedressers, symbolizing the Church.

The shocking design prophesied for the Messiah is that He’d be rejected first—then He’d become the chief cornerstone. Jesus tells His listeners in verses 10 to 12 all this–the vineyard parable truth is already in the Bible. All this truth about the Messiah was already written in the Scriptures of the Old Testament for you to recognize Him. “I am quoting the Bible so that you accept that the vineyard parable is true and was already taught”–the Messiah will be killed.

The religious leaders have rejected the prophets and their Messiah. God’s authoritative Word declares that the nation will reject the Messiah—but He will become the chief cornerstone that sets the direction for the entire work of God on Earth, reminding us His plan was all predetermined by God.

Second  The PREDETERMINATION of the Messiah  Verse 11

“’This came about from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?” God Himself designed this plan. This came about from the Lord. This is the plan God put into place before David, before Abraham, before Noah–but at the very beginning when the very first Gospel is described during the fall of Adam and Eve into sin in Genesis 3:15. It is literally from the Lord, stressing the source is God–God did this.

The one who was killed and thrown out is actually the stone who is the key to God’s redemption plan. God did this for you. Verse 11 says God brought it about, and it is amazing. “’It is marvelous in our eyes’?” God reverses the rejecting actions of men, to accomplish His redemptive plan–that is marvelous!

But when you’re religious but lost, truth doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the Bible or not, like this truth is. All that matters is what you think, how you feel, and what benefit can result for you. For the religious leaders, all that matters is making lots of money off the Passover, and remaining in charge. So instead of repenting, the religious leaders and the people who follow them react.

#3  The Dramatic REACTION to the Lord’s Teaching  Verse 12

And look at their reactions. “And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away.” What you read here is hatred, fear, an understanding but rejection of what Jesus has just said, and an indication of Gods perfect, providential timing for His death, which is not yet.

Do you see the hatred of the Lord’s enemies in verse 12? “And they were seeking to seize Him.” They are seething. Luke adds, “That very hour the religious leaders tried to grab Christ and kill him,” the very action Jesus just predicted in this parable. Religious people react with fuming hatred when you expose their sinful hearts.

They couldn’t find a way to grab Christ because they were afraid. Verse 12, and yet they feared the people. The crowds regarded Jesus as a prophet, like John the Baptist. And they’re not going to allow anyone to kill any more prophets. The gospels tell us the leaders actually thought they might be stoned by the crowds if they tried to arrest Jesus. So they were not only seething with anger, but also reacted with great fear of the people.

But that does not mean they didn’t understand the parable and who it was exposing. The Lord’s enemies understood that Jesus was unmasking their wicked hearts. Verse 12, “For they understood that He spoke the parable against them.” The leaders knew they’d been indicted, their evil exposed, their secret plans broadcast for all to hear.

They’re mad, afraid and frustrated. And because God’s timing is not quite right, they’ll remain frustrated for one more full day. It is Wednesday–the Passover lambs are killed on Friday, and the final Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, will be killed on Friday. So Verse 12 ends with God’s perfect timing still in place, “and so they left Him and went away.” Let’s bow our heads in prayer. What has God said to you through His Word? It could be . . .

Answer with Bible, not opinion–quote a passage or be quiet

Marvel at the patience of God–is He waiting for you?

Pursue the faithful manifestation of fruit–are you serving?

Understand Israel’s position and future–they are not done

Recall that the issue is rarely the real issue–greed is what was driving their reaction to Christ

Evaluate your reaction to God’s sovereignty–do you submit in your heart or shake off His hand

when He squeezes you?

Be fearful of God’s wrath and judgment

Are you truly His child?

Are you certain of your salvation?

Are you growing in Christ? Is Christ in you?

Are you producing fruit?

Are you wanting to follow Christ in every way?

Tell Him now in silence

About Chris Mueller

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.

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