Scripture: Mark 11:27-12:12
Key verse: (12) When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.
Reflection: If we had a list of the top five favorite parables, the wicked tenant would not make the cut. The parable is harsh and speaks a strong word to the original hearers and to us. Jesus told this story as a parable against the religious leaders of Jerusalem. The Lord had given the people of Israel over to their leaders to be cared for and nourished. Instead, the temple system took advantage of the people and harmed them.
If you have ever walked through a vineyard, you know the care that is needed for each vine. The fruit is protected, the vine cared for and there is beauty all around. In this parable, the vineyard owner gives all of this over, trusting his tenants. This is HUGE!
When the time was right for produce, the owner sent servants to the tenants to get some of the fruit of the vineyard. However, the tenant farmers met those servants with violence. Some they beat and some they killed.
It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to begin to apply this parable to ourselves and creation. God created the universe with love and possibility. God gave the earth to humanity, to you and me, to nourish and manage. Humans have taken advantage of the land, overused the earth’s resources and been selfish with God’s gift. The original hearer’s of Jesus’ day refused to listen to the message of the parable. Can we hear a message about our role in caring for all of God’s creation and God’s people?
Prayer: God of Creation, help us to tend your creation and to use its resources wisely. May we be good stewards with every gift you have given to us. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[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].