If you read the post: “Read the Bible” you would have seen the invitation to spend time in God’s word every day. One chapter at a time.
We started with the book of Mark and let me tell you it has been fun! Who knew this little book was packed with so much information?
Now I have to admit, when it comes to reading the Gospels I tend to default to Matthew or Luke. Mark’s perspective is a little different. He puts a lot of emphasis on the miracles of Jesus highlighting his role as Messiah and Son of God. I just want to take a few minutes to fill you in on today’s reading, well at least on one of the things that stood out for me.
The parable of the wicked vinedressers as told in Mark 12:1-12 is one of God's love for humanity. In a nutshell: a man planted a vineyard. He put a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower.
After he puts in all the initial labor he leases it to a tenant. When it was time for the harvest he sends one of his servant with a request for some of the fruit but his servant is beaten and sent away empty handed.
He keeps sending more and more servants hoping to appeal to the heart of the tenant but their treatment of the landlord’s servants escalates and become more violent until it results in death.
Thinking to give them one last chance, the landlord sends his only son whom he loved. But they killed the son as well and cast his body out of the vineyard. What makes this story so poignant is an examination of the process involved in planting a vineyard.
1. The landowner had to choose the right location. He had to consider the temperature, frost-free period, wind factor, altitude and the quality of sunlight.
2. He had to research the quality, types and depth of the soil. He had to think about things like the quality and source of the water. How he would irrigate his field, the distance to the nearest vineyards and the cost of the land.
3. He had to decide what type of grapes to plant based on what would do well in that area. Then he had to actually plant them. Planting involves marking the rows, planting stakes, digging holes for each pot (which contained a plant that had been nurtured to get the roots established).
4. He had to mix the soil and ensure that it is watered and fertilized. He dug a wine vat so that the harvest of grapes can be fermented onsite.
5. He built a hedge so that the vineyard was protected, the borders were clearly defined. It had the added benefit of beautifying the vinery.
6. He built a tower so that the tenants would be able to watch over the grapes to protect them from unwanted elements such as predators and thieves.
Now I’m not telling you all of this so that you can go and plant a vinery (unless you really want to). Rather, I want you to think about the care that the landowner took to prepare this vineyard. A vineyard which he then leased out to persons who basically reaped the benefit without the back-breaking work.
This vineyard was the land of Canaan aka the Promised Land. The evil vinedressers were the children of Israel. The servants were the prophets and the son was Jesus. This story is a very powerful illustration of what God did for the children of Israel and for what He has done for us.
We get access to things that were granted to us by the Heavenly Father – sunlight, air, water, a place to live, health, the ability to work and so many other things. We have a contractual obligation to Him: we were created to worship.
But we don’t.
We go our own way and do our own things. But because He loves us He keeps trying. He sent His messengers. He sent His only son whom He really loved – all in an effort to get us to wake up and see the love He has for us and to serve Him as He deserves.
Today, I’m grateful that Jehovah keeps trying to reach me- even when I’m at my most disobedient, wayward self. He keeps loving me, seeking me, protecting me. He does the same thing for you and every other person on this planet. What a wonderful God we serve!