Rejecting the Cornerstone!
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. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.
Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away. Mark 12:1-12
If you remember, a parable or allegory is a story that has a meaning beyond itself, and the word parable literally means side by side. Jesus’ story here is pretty straightforward. Here’s the cast of characters:
- Vineyard Owner: God.
- Tenants: priests, scribes, elders, Herod, Israel.
- Servants: Old Testament prophets, and John the Baptist.
- Beloved Son: Jesus of Nazareth
In itself, it’s a story with an accusation toward the tenants. But add the quote from Psalm 118:22 at the end, and it puts Jesus’ opponents over the top. Notice that the Teacher provides only one line, and Remez does the rest. Here is that quote in context:
Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:19-23
Now you know why the elders, scribes, and chief priests left. Jesus just declared himself the Messiah, who comes through the gates of righteousness so all who follow him will have access to salvation, and those who try to stop him are rejecting God’s salvation!
Scripture is such a gift to us. It helps us understand you and speaks to us about our call. May we follow you through the gate!
I pray in the name of “42.” Amen!