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March 7, 2021 12:01 am
While the Pharisees built monuments to the prophets, they rejected what the prophets taught. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his exposition of the book of Mark to consider Jesus' confrontation of these unfaithful leaders.
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Mark chapter 12 Jesus told a parable to the people and it soon became obvious we was talking about here, near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. You see the statues outside the wall commemorating the great prophets of the Old Testament who were stoned and now you hear this, Jesus telling this story.
How easy is that the sea that the vineyard represents is for 1/2 realization that the crowd became angry Jesus that we shouldn't be surprised by the reaction we are confronted with our sin. Temptation is to put up her defenses and respond with indignation were going to see a prime example of that today on Renewing Your Mind as we returned to Dr. RC Sproles verse five are serious through the gospel of Mark.
Remember that last Sunday we looked at the end of chapter 11 in which the authority of Jesus was being challenged by the rulers of Israel, the scribes and the Pharisees and the members of the ruling body of the Sanhedrin.
Now you may be aware that when Jesus taught in parables that almost all of those parables are found either in the Gospel of Matthew or in the Gospel of Luke. We haven't seen a parable in Mark's gospel since the fourth chapter of Mark. There rare indeed. In Mark's narrative.
We also have to take note that this particular parable is not one designed to hide some truth of the kingdom of God from those who are outside the kingdom of God who have no eyes to see or ears to hear, but the meaning of this particular parable is playing an easy to understand and those to whom it was targeted, namely the religious leaders of Israel understood it clearly our Lord uses a parable that only thinly veiled his wrath and the father's wrath against the rulers over Israel.
Let's look now at the content of this parable, he began to speak, saying a man planted a vineyard set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wind that and built a tower with that brief introduction, Jesus indicated his vast knowledge of this major industry in Israel. The wine growing industry where the farmers would set about planting their grapevines and in addition to the vines that they would plant they would put a hedge around the entire vineyard and after they did that they would build a winepress and vats to contain the squeezed juices that they may ferment over a period of time and produce various vintages of why characteristically the winegrowers in Palestine would grow several different levels of wine. The cheapest wine was given it to slaves but the rest were taken to market and offered at various prices.
Also, a tower was built in every vineyard, and the purpose of the tower was to have a watchman stand on its top, that he may watch for the invasion of animals that might destroy the crops and or thieves who might come in and steal the wine and also visiting tenant farmers often stayed inside these towers as their place of temporary residence, I just might add, in passing that this process of the growing of vineyards had its roots in vast antiquity among the Jews and the purpose of the growing of the vine was to make wine not grape juice.
One would have to completely distort the text of sacred Scripture and be in the clutches of some contemporary cultural bias to engage in the hopeless task of trying to say that the Jews didn't make real wine but the Jews didn't use real wine and the Passover that Jesus didn't make real wine at the wedding feast of Canaan. All you have to do is look at one of the most ancient of the vintners of Israel, whose name was Noah and he planted a vineyard, and he overindulged in the fruit of the bind and as a result became drunk.
The Jewish moral code was very strict against drunkenness, considering it a profound sin a gross and heinous sin and that drunkenness that was always there as an option was basically as a direct result of the overindulgence not of Welches grape juice, but of real wine, which is the Bible said makes the heart glad but what I want us to notice about this introduction to the scope of the vineyard is the extraordinary care that is given to the vines the protection and attending the weeding and the care but if you've ever been to winegrowing countries in Europe or, for example, in California in the United States you look at those long rows upon rows of the grapes and you see how precise and neatly they are trimmed and cared for how careful they are in the way in which the juice is stored in the vats or either metal vats or in the wooden containers and it's so expensive to do it right that even with modern technology.
The care is extraordinary to keep from losing the crop we have been told again and again by winegrowers in the United States that if a person is involved in this trade of being a winegrowers that they are able to make a small fortune from their labors. If they start with a large fortune and it was also true in the ancient world because the winegrowing industry was one of the most important agricultural endeavors for the incarnation right up there with the all of oil industry so I labor the point that the care of the vineyard is one of great concern to the owner and the story here is that the owner has to go away to the far contrary, and in his absence. He leaves his vines and his enterprise in the hands of vine dressers. The vine dressers work tenant farmers. They would correspond for example, in the community of shepherds who tended phlox. There were those who owned their shape and then there were those who were hired to watch over the sheep and they were hirelings and they were notorious for not having the same care and love for the sheep that the owner did one of the things that was different about the tenant farmers of the wine industry from other agriculture was in other forms of agriculture. The tenant farmers could alternate the crops from year to year at their own choice, not so in the wind industry takes years of meticulous preparation to get a vintage crop, so the same things were done. Year in and year out, and always of course the owner would be on pins and needles to see how the latest vintage of wine was produced and so at that time when the vintage was produced this distant owner sent messengers back to his vineyard to get samples of the wine and listen to what happens advantage time he sent a servant to the vine dressers that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vine dressers, but they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And so the story proceeds.
Jesus says so again he sent them another serve and in him they threw stones wounded him in the head and sent him away, shamefully treated and again he sent another and him they killed and many others to see how the cruelty against the servants of the owner escalates first from a beating second to a stoning sending the man away in shame and disgrace and mill. The next servant that comes he is killed and many subsequently there after. Therefore, still having one son, his beloved, he sent him to them last thing surely they will respect my son not think for a moment, you're in the crop. Your Pharisee here near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. You see the statues outside the walls that were there at that time, commemorating the great prophets of the Old Testament who were stoned and ridiculed and rejected by the household of Israel and now you hear this, Jesus telling this story. How easy is it to see that the vineyard represents is free. How the vineyard is owned by God. Let me go back for just a moment to the Old Testament to the prophetic book of Isaiah which these religious leaders were obviously knowledgeable about in chapter 5. Just listen carefully for a moment the title is God's disappointing vineyard and it reads now let me sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved regarding his vineyard. Now God is speaking of his beloved, who owns a vineyard, my well beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up cleared out of stones planted with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst and also made a winepress in it, so he expected it to bring forth good grapes but it brought forth wild grapes. The Hebrew says stinking grapes and now all inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Men of Judah judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done to my vineyard that I've not done for why, then, when I expected to bring forth good grapes that it bring forth wild grapes. Please let me tell you now what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away its hedge and it shall be burned, I will break down its wall and it shall be trampled down. I will lay it wasted shall not be pruned or died with theirs. Or, briars and thorns.
I will command the clouds there be no rain upon it for the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel and the men of Judah or his pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but the whole depression for righteousness. But behold, a cry for help mom notice that in this prophecy, God's anger is directed against the vineyard because the vineyard that is owned by the Lord's beloved is barren. The vineyard brings forth rotten grapes after the choicest vines had been planted all the care of tending the vines had taken place and in the end the fruit is worthless and so God says about the vineyard burned down the hedge I'll burn down the vines and they will not produce any fruit. I won't let any rain fall upon. So this is a prophecy, beloved of God's judgment on Israel. But notice when Jesus borrows from the very language of Isaiah chapter 5 in the parable that I have just read to you the judgment is not directed at the vineyard. It's not the vineyard that is going to be destroyed. It's the wicked vine dressers, the clergy, God is not to destroy his church, but rather his corrupt clergy who have been placed in charge of it to nurture it to feed it and to attend and of course the servants that were sent to the vine dressers were the Old Testament prophets who came speaking the word of the Lord to the leadership of Israel as Jeremiah did in his temple speech saying you say this is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord you trust him lying words.
Words that do not profit. I say that this Temple will be destroyed go to Shiloh and look at it and you will see the ruins there of that sanctuary and that's what Jerusalem is going to look like because the leaders were false prophets and would not respect the word of God. So now in the parable, the owner decides to send his son, who is the only one who has legal claim to the vineyard. The son is the heir. The sun is not just a servant who can come and tell the message of the owners to the vine dressers, but when the sun come the hired hands have to submit to his authority because he is the son of the owner and he is called here just as he is in Isaiah's prophecy. God's beloved is clear that the owners God, it's clear to every Pharisee standing there that what Jesus was talking about was the care of the people of God, and it's clear to those standing by the vine dressers. The tenant farmers are the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin who have rejected the word of God that came from the prophets, and now the owner has sent his son, his beloved. Remember, at the very beginning of Jesus public ministry. He was identified by the father himself with the voice from heaven as he came up out of the Jordan River from his baptism.
This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. And, again later.
The voice from heaven came.
This is my beloved son, listen to him in the beloved son is now speaking to the clergy and they are in the array which he said is therefore still having one son, his beloved, he sent him at last to them saying they will respect my son, but the vine dressers said among themselves, this is the air. Let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours. So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard, let us take him and kill him. One of you ever heard those words before spoken about a beloved son of somebody the brothers of Joseph conspired among themselves because of their jealousy that their father favored Joseph and so together they said let us come together and kill him.
We will divide his inheritance among ourselves, but this is not a plot to kill a brother. This is a plot to kill the beloved son of God. You understand, dear friends, that when the son of God walked the earth.
There was not a moment from the time of his birth until the time of his execution that his life was safe among human beings. Nobody wants to hear it, but are basic fallen nature is such that we are not simply indifferent to God. Beloved, we hate God.
God is our mortal enemy and fallen human beings. But nothing to rid themselves of the sovereignty of their creator. If God himself as the father came to Orlando and power were given to the people of Orlando to destroy him. His life would not last for 60 seconds. Don't believe this attitude of tolerance and indifference that the world says they have towards God. There is such a hostility in the human heart that if God's life were made vulnerable to human beings, he would be destroyed, and I'm not just speaking theoretically because it happened. It happened just as Jesus said it would happen they would take the son kill him, and cast them out of the vineyard just as days later they took the son of God, and they killed him outside of the city outside of the camp outside of the vineyard of God, so he asked the question what will the owner of the vineyard.
Do unlike the prophecy in Isaiah.
He does not say he will come and destroy the vineyard. He will come and destroy the vine dressers and give the vineyard to others.
He'll destroy the temple.
He'll destroy the whole Jewish sacrificial system, he'll destroy the Jewish priesthood, the Pharisees, the Sanhedrin and give the vineyard to the Gentiles, which is one of the great mysteries of redemptive history, have you not read the Scripture, the stone which the builders rejected the builders rejected God was building a building another metaphor here and the stones were his people and the builders were the construction workers.
The contractors are responsible to build that building on a foundation, a firm foundation of the prophets and the apostles, but instead they built their house on sand and they took the chief cornerstone and tripped all over it and rejected it. But that's stone, which they rejected became the chief cornerstone. In God's church. This was the Lord's doing. The prophet said, and is marvelous in our eyes and they sought to lay hands on him but feared the multitude, for they understood that he had spoken the parable against him. So they left him in one way only to continue their deliberations only to continue their plans and secrecy only to continue their conspiracy to destroy him, which as you know they did murder noughts by thieves or robbers, not by Roman soldiers by the clergy who had been given the task of caring for the vineyard of the beloved. They killed God's only the leaders of Israel were spiritually blind and deaf in their story is tragic. So many important lessons for each of us to learn from Jesus parable for those God has called he's given us eyes to see and ears to hear, and we thank him for his grace and mercy.
I'm glad you joined us for Renewing Your Mind on the Sunday timely web and that each week we returned to Dr. RC Sproul series from the Gospel of Mark resource offer today as it is a great help to you as you study along with us at home when you give a donation of any about the leader ministries will be happy to provide you with the digital download of Dr. Sproles 400 page commentary on the Gospel of Mark. You can go online to requested at Renewing Your Mind.work next week. We will continue this series from Mark's gospel Linda in these days of political and social strife that the question always comes up. Who should we serve God. Caesar, I hope you'll join us again next for Renewing Your Mind