Lenten Reflection - Mark 12:1-11 by Benjamin Griffin
12 Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. 6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Mark 12:1-11
I have always enjoyed this particular parable because of how straight forward it is. It’s all right there on the surface - the vineyard is earth where we are the tenants, the servants are the prophets sent time and time again to remind us who rightfully owns the vineyard. We have beat them, killed them, or outright ignored them until the landlord finally sends his son - and can you guess who the son is in this story? It’s all right there - the tale of God reaching out to his people, trying to get them to listen.
Think about how Christ must have felt telling this parable - he was well aware that the world was about to kill him. He knew that despite the hope with which he was sent by the “landlord,” we would be capable of doing the unthinkable. We testified against innocence and slaughtered the Son of God to gain his inheritance. But despite our foolish greed, God is capable of turning this great offense into magnificent glory.
The Lord takes our brokenness - the sin that led us to crucify His very Son - and builds His Kingdom upon it. The stone, broken and useless, becomes the foundation. The parable ends without telling us what becomes of the tenants only that from the waste, from what should by all accounts be rejected, God will build something marvelous. This Lent, we’ve reflected on Jesus’ journey to the Cross and in a couple days we will walk with him to his death, yet again. Let us remember this - although the blood of the Son has spilled across this vineyard, a marvelous victory has been built upon it.