Friday, February 10, 2012

Have You Not Read?

Mark 12:1-11 (ESV)
And he began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. [2] When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. [3] And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. [4] Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. [5] And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. [6] He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' [7] But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' [8] And 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 tenants and give the vineyard to others. [10] Have you not read this Scripture:

" 'The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
[11] this was the Lord's doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes'?"

Have you not read this scripture? Jesus just assumes they have. His question is purely rhetorical. I do wonder what that would be like. For people to know there scriptures so well that you could cite one like this and they would know what you are talking about. Round here, people mean something different by scriptures, but most of them don’t know those that well either, might be a good thing that they don’t. they say they believe the Bible, but that seems to be the one set of scriptures they know least well, and study the least.
But among Christians today, it seems, and I believe I’m a bit guilty of this too, that we can find time to read anything but scripture. And is not that hard, and if you just read it, it will do you some good. Yes there are places where it might get a little hard to understand, that is where a good devotional like “To live with Christ” comes in handy. But even just reading it, and rereading it will get you thinking and you will find the more you read it, the easier it becomes to understand, what at first seems a little puzzling will receive clarification later on. Such as this verse that Jesus quotes at the end of the parable.
Here Jesus gives it clarification. He knows that these builders, the Pharisees, the guardians of the city, the twon elders, are going to reject him. They are going to put to death the son, the heir, thinking that then the vineyard will be theres. It won’t work that way. The church will move locations so to speak. It will not be theirs anymore, but belong to others. Other people will be given the chance to abuse the Lord’s servants. Yeah, we’re not much better than they were, when it comes to these things. But God gives us the vineyard anyway, forgiving our sin, creating the church in our midst. He is the stone the builders rejected, he is now the cornerstone, without which there is no vineyard, no church.

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