Tuesday August 18 2015


Scripture: Mark 12:1-12

Key verse: (7) “‘This is the heir;  come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’”

Reflection: You likely remember Marshall Philippe Pétain, who was the president of the Vichy Regime in France during World War II.  Technically, the government Marshall Pétain headed was independent. In reality, it was in place at the will of Nazi Germany and collaborated with Germany so that through it the Nazis controlled France.

In Jesus day, a similar arrangement was in place in Judea and Jerusalem. The Jewish Temple rulers, the chief priests, scribes and elders, technically ruled the religious establishment and the society.  In fact they collaborated with the Rome and did Rome’s bidding in Judea. They did this for by this arrangement they were able to “keep” what they thought was theirs – the Temple and authority over all religious matters.  So rightly, they saw Jesus as a threat to what they considered was their realm.

Thus, Jesus told them this parable of the vineyard.  Notice in the parable: Who owns the whole vineyard? Why are all the emissaries of the vineyard owner beaten, sent away, even killed? Finally, when the owner sends his beloved son, what do the tenants assume will happen if they kill that son?

The tenants assumed the vineyard was theirs. To keep it, they were prepared to do anything it took to do so.  But was the vineyard ever theirs?  Did they ever ask themselves, For whom am I in charge?

In “our” church, in “our” country, with “our” time, with “our” money, are we like the tenants – always assuming it is all ours, all solely under our control. Do we spurn and send away anyone who disputes that assumption? Or do we instead know, “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof!” (Ps. 24:1) And know that the question before us in every aspect of our lives is always, “For whom am I in charge?”

Prayer:  Holy One, “We give thee but thine own, whatever the gift may be; all that we have is thine alone, a trust, O Lord, from thee.” [1] Amen.

Author: Pete Peery

[1] “We Give Thee But thin Own,”  William Walsham How, circa 1858, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].

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