More than a metaphor, a parable invites us to make our home in the story. Jesus uses this means to invite us to dwell with him in the heart of his family - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we enter the home, we can look around and notice, how does the family treat one another? What tone, or culture does the parent establish for the family? What is valued and esteemed? Is it safe to be vulnerable and make mistakes in this family? How is injustice treated? Where do we notice love and grace lived out in the family?
This particular parable has been labelled The Parable of the Wicked Tenants or The Story of the Vineyard. Another perspective might name it The Story of a Vulnerable Landowner. Regardless of the name, Jesus invites you to enter the story to see and listen.
Mark 12: 1-12 NLT
12 Then Jesus began teaching them with stories: “A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. 2 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. 3 But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. 4 The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. 5 The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, 6 until there was only one left—his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’
7 “But the tenant farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ 8 So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard.
9 “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. 10 Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures?
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
11 This is the Lord’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.’”
12 The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.
For Reflection and Prayer:
As you listened to or read the text, was there a word, phrase or image which stayed with you? Be still with them for a while. Ask Jesus about them. Is there more that Jesus says to you?
Dwell in the parable. What do you come to know about this landowner? What do you notice about his vulnerable response to injustice?
Reflect on the things and people you consider "mine". How does this story intersect with what you own or attempt to manage, control and be responsible for?
Where do you recognize God's messenger's coming to you?