I want to share with you six truths of life: 1. It is impossible to touch all your teeth with your tongue. 2. All idiots, after reading this first truth will try it. 3. They will discover that the first truth is a lie, it can indeed be done 4. YOU are smiling now because you’re an idiot. 5. You probably can’t wait to share this with some other idiot and finally #6………… I really apologize for this joke, I didn’t mean to offend anyone. But I also am an idiot and I just really needed the company!
The last few days we have been looking closely at “The Parable of the Tenants” (Mark 12:1-12) told by Jesus to the religious leaders of the temple, a group of men comprising the Sanhedrin (The Jewish ruling council). All in all, this parable IS RICH WITH PROFOUND TRUTHS.
Let’s first look at the last couple verses:
Mark 12:9-12 (TNIV)
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’?” 12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.
THIS PARABLE IS FULL OF TRUTHS ABOUT GOD:
1. It tells us of the GENEROSITY OF GOD. The vineyard was equipped with everything that was necessary to make the work of the cultivators easy and profitable. God is generous in the life and in the world that he gives to men and women.
2. It tells us of the TRUST OF GOD. The owner went away and left the cultivators to run the vineyard themselves. God trusts us enough to give us freedom to run life as we choose. As someone has said, ‘The lovely thing about God is that he allows us to do so much for ourselves.’
3. It tells us of the PATIENCE OF GOD. Not once or twice but many times the master gave the cultivators the chance to pay the debt they owed. He treated them with a patience they little deserved. How many times has God given us another chance?
4. It tells us of the ULTIMATE TRIUMPH OF THE JUSTICE OF GOD. We might take advantage of the patience of God, but in the end come judgment and justice. God may bear disobedience and rebellion for a long time, but in the end he acts.
THIS PARABLE IS FULL OF TRUTHS ABOUT JESUS:
1. It tells us that JESUS WAS NOT ONLY A SERVANT….BUT HE WAS THE SON. He deliberately removes himself from the succession of the prophets. They were simply servants. He was son. In him God’s last and final word was being spoken. This parable was a deliberate challenge to the Jewish authorities because it contains the unmistakable claim of Jesus to be the Messiah.
2. It tells us that JESUS KNEW THAT HE WAS TO DIE. The cross did not come to him as a surprise. He knew that the way he had chosen could have no other ending. It is the greatness of his courage that he knew that and still went on.
3. It tells us that JESUS WAS SURE OF HIS ULTIMATE TRIUMPH. He also knew that he would be mistreated and killed, but he also knew that would not be the end, that after the rejection would come the glory.
THIS PARABLE IS FULL OF TRUTHS ABOUT HUMAN NATURE:
1. GOD OFTEN SEEMS TO FAR AWAY TO ACT. There could be only one reason why the cultivators thought they could kill the son and then enter into possession of the vineyard. They must have thought that the owner was too far away to act, or that he was dead and out of the reckoning. Some people still think they can act against God and get away with it. But God is very much alive. Human beings seek to trade on their own freedom and his patience, but the day of reckoning comes.
2. IF WE REFUSE TO ENTER INTO RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, INDEED, WITH JESUS……..WE WILL BE GIVEN WHAT WE WANT….NO RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM….THIS BLESSING WILL BE GIVEN TO SOMEONE ELSE. If people refuse their privileges and their responsibilities, they pass on to someone else. The parable has in it the whole germ of what was to come–the rejection of the Jews and the passing of their privileges and responsibilities to the Gentiles.
(Thank you William Barclay for discovering the truths found above.)
Lastly, I want to say that there is another truth here, a truth about peer pressure. In this case, the religious leaders were influenced by both the people in their own group as well as the crowd that they feared.
We are deeply influenced by those we hang around and have relationships with. This can be bad if we hang with the wrong crowd but also good if we hang with a good crowd. We feel peer pressure strongly. So, choosing who we hang around is important. In fact, our “crowd” influences how we live.
My question is this……when faced with this type of pressure, how many of us rise above the pressure to do what is right in regard to others as well as in regard to ourselves.
It is always tough to stand for our faith, to stand for doing what is right when the world wants us to bow to the pressure of doing what is wrong. When we DO stand for our faith, when we DO stand up to the rejection, the indifference and hostility that we often receive for resisting temptations in our life….we DO find not only a friend in Jesus…..but a strength and a power that we didn’t know we had that comes through Jesus to us…..indeed we start to find not only ourselves, but we also start to find true peace, joy and fulfillment in our lives.
Some people have it easier than others. A 104 year old woman was once asked, “What’s the best thing about being 104?”. She replied, “No peer pressure.”