November 13, 2021

A Difficult Parable


Mark 12:1-12


The parable Jesus tells in Mark 12:1-12 took little imagination for its hearers to understand. Unlike most of his parables which cloaked his meaning and caused the hearer to think deeply, this parable’s meaning was obvious to the chief priests, scribes and other bystanders. The imagery Jesus used – vineyard and owner – was taken from Isaiah 5:1-7. The leaders knew which character they were in the story – the violent tenants – and which character Jesus was – the beloved son. As a result, they were furious and determined to kill Jesus who they saw as a threat to their own power.

When we read this parable, we may not see ourselves in it. After all – we are clearly not the vineyard owner (who is God); nor are we the wicked tenants who kill all the owner’s messengers (the prophets); and we certainly aren’t the beloved son, who is Jesus. So what does this parable say to us?

For me, it leads me to examine my own life. Have I rejected God’s messengers and sent them on their way? Have I refused to give to God what belongs to God and selfishly tried to keep it for my own? Have I rejected the beloved son when I’ve chosen my own agenda over God’s gracious plan of serving others and giving generously? 


  • When you read this parable, does it cause you any discomfort? If so, why? If not, why? What is your “take-away” from this parable?


  • Think about ways you can show God that you love him through showing love to other people. Maybe you can make a card for a neighbor who lives alone and isn’t able to get out much. Or help your parents or other trusted adult do chores around the house. When we love people, we are also showing love to God.


Lord, we don’t want to see ourselves as the wicked tenants who reject your ownership of our lives and all that we have. Help us to be obedient sons and daughters who live according to your will. Amen.