Daily Devotional

March 13, 2019

Daybreak: Mark 11:27 through 12:12

“But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.” (Mark 12:7)

The Romanov Dynasty began on February 13, 1613, when Mikhail Feodorovich was elected as Sovereign of all Russia in Moscow’s Red Square by the Assembly of the Land. During the next 304 years, eighteen successive Czars supremely ruled Russia.

Nicholas II, the last of the Russian Czars, was crowned on May 14, 1896. During his reign, Russia suffered heavy casualties through its involvement in two major conflicts: the war with Japan in 1904-1905, and World War I in 1914. After both of these wars, Nicholas struggled to hold on to power and the entitlement of the sovereign rule. In February of 1917, the people of Russia revolted, forcing Nicholas to abdicate his throne on March 2, 1917.

After his abdication, Nicholas and his family were put under house arrest and were eventually moved to Ekateringburg in the Ural Mountains. To many in Russia, Nicholas was still the rightful ruler, and as long as he was alive, there would be those who would rally to his cause. Thus, if he happened to escape, he would pose a threat to Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution. On July 17, 1918, Nicholas II and his entire family were executed to end the Romanov Dynasty and eliminate any future threat to the current regime.

In our text, Jesus told the parable about the owner of a vineyard who leased the vineyard to husbandmen while he went on a long journey. When the owner’s servants went to collect his fruit, they were either beaten or killed. Eventually, the owner of the vineyard sent his only son, believing that they would reverence him. The evil husbandmen killed the son and thought that the vineyard would then belong to them. Instead, Jesus said the owner of the vineyard would come back and destroy the evil husbandmen and give the vineyard to others.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day knew He directed this parable at them. Their ancestors had been guilty of persecuting the prophets of God, but they were responsible for trying to do away with Jesus, God’s only Son. While many people were eager to listen to Jesus and believe on Him, the religious leaders looked at Him as a threat to their religious dynasty. They wanted to eliminate Him and His influence with the people. Through this parable, Jesus told them that because of their rejection of Him, Israel (the vineyard) would eventually be given to others, which came to pass when Jerusalem was totally destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.

In our Christian walk, it is essential that we acknowledge God’s supreme authority in our lives. If we do, we will submit to His Son, Jesus, and His will for us. We will be a trustworthy caretaker of the spiritual fruit He has cultivated in our hearts, and we will want others to see His image reflected in every aspect of our daily lives.

Background

The morning after Jesus had removed the money-changers from the Temple, He returned to Jerusalem and once again made His way to the Temple. While there, an established sect of the Sanhedrin, made up of chief priests, scribes, and elders, questioned who gave Jesus the authority to do these things, undoubtedly referring to His driving out the moneychangers and His teaching in the Temple.

While Jesus taught and healed on the outskirts of Jerusalem, He had been outside of the jurisdiction of the Jewish religious leaders. Once he entered the city, they began attempting to set a trap by asking who gave Him authority. If Jesus had answered that His authority came from God, they would have charged Him with blasphemy. If he had stated that His authority was because of His identity as the Son of David, He would have been charged with treason against Rome. If He had refused to claim any authority at all, they could have accused Him of being a fraud.

In the typical style of rabbinical debates, Jesus responded with a question of His own. When He asked them whether John’s baptism was from God or man, they were put into the same position as Jesus was. If they had responded that it was from man, the people would have risen up against them because they believed that John was a true prophet of God. Jewish leaders could not say it was from God either because then Jesus would have asked them why they did not believe. When they refused to answer Jesus’ question, they no longer had the authority to demand an answer from Him.

As Jesus continued with His teaching in the Temple, He used another parable to speak to them. In this parable, Jesus used the example of a vineyard. (This may have been an adaption of Isaiah 5:1-7.) Vineyards were common in Israel, and many of them contained the elements Jesus described, such as a hedge or fence, a pit for a winepress, and a tower that was used for a lookout. It was also a common practice for an owner of a vineyard to rent out shares of the vineyard to husbandmen for various reasons.

The point of this parable must have been obvious to the religious leaders. The vineyard represented Israel, and God was the owner. The evil husbandmen were the religious leaders and rulers of Israel, and the servants who were beaten or killed were the prophets whom God had sent to Israel to warn the nation. The only son of the owner of the vineyard represented Jesus. The prediction by Jesus that Israel would eventually be given to Gentiles would have been unimaginable to the Jewish people. Jesus was trying to warn the Jewish leaders of the dire consequences of rejecting Him as God’s Son.

Jesus then questioned the religious leaders whether they had read the Scripture in Psalm 118:22-23, which declares that the “stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” Jesus obviously applied this Scripture to Himself.

Angered by the teachings of Jesus, and knowing that this parable was spoken against them, the Jewish religious leaders sought for a way to arrest Jesus. However, they feared an uprising of the people and decided against it at this time.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
VI.   The presentation and rejection of the Son of God
      E.   The conflict with the nation by the Son of God 
            1.   The conflict with the religious leaders (11:27 — 12:12)
                  a.   The attack on His authority (11:27-28)
                  b.   Christ’s reply (11:29 — 12:12)
                        (1)   His question (11:29-30)
                        (2)   Their dilemma (11:31-33)
                        (3)   His parabolic instruction (12:1-11)
                        (4)   Their hatred (12:12)

A Closer Look

  1. What did the owner of the vineyard do after the husbandmen refused to listen to his servants?
     
  2. How does the postponement of judgment by the vineyard’s owner show God’s mercy to those who are not saved?
     
  3. What are some ways you can draw closer to God and honor Him as Lord of your life?

Conclusion

As we acknowledge God’s authority in our lives, and we honor His Son, Jesus, through obedience, we will cultivate a good crop of spiritual fruit that will be pleasing in God’s eyes.

Reference Materials