Mark 12:1-12 | The Infinite Authority of Jesus—Unleashed

June 28, 2021
Book: Mark
Series: Mark

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Today is part two of this conversation with the Sanhedrin on the subject of authority. We saw Jesus silence and embarrass the Pharisees and the Scribes with his question—it was a question on John the Baptizer’s baptism.
But Jesus is not done making His point. 
He finds Himself in a teachable moment. 
And He presses into the subject of authority with a parable. 
Jesus’ parabolic teachings do one of two things. 
The parables either instructs (Mark 4:1–20) or hardens (4:10–12; 12:1–12) the listeners. 
Which one is it?
 Let’s find out!

Listen to the Live Sunday Sermon:

Full Sermon Transcript

Pastor Dustin Daniels | River Bible Church
Mark 12:1-12 | The Infinite Authority of Jesus—Unleashed
June 27, 2021

WELCOME:
Please turn your Bibles to Mark 12:1-12
Bibles in back—our gift to you.
REVIEW:
Last Sunday, we looked at the Infinite Authority of Jesus.
The religious leaders, a group called the Sanhedrin, walked up to Jesus as he was teaching in the temple demanded to know where Jesus got his authority.
Jesus came back with a question of His own.
We learned that a seemingly random question from Jesus to the religious leaders was not accidental but rather dealt with the heart of the matter.
The heart of the matter is that Jesus, who was born in this no-name place called Nazareth—was indeed God wrapped up in human flesh.
And because Jesus is God—specifically God the Son—the second person of the Trinity—
He has life in Himself and receives His authority— Exousia—from God the Father.

KEYPOINTS:
Without people exercising authority AND submitting to authority at the same time, there will always be chaos.
Life is simpler when you stay in your own lane.

Life is much less drama-free when you stop telling people what to do all the time.
INTRODUCTION:
Today is part two of this conversation with the Sanhedrin on the subject of authority.
We saw Jesus silence and embarrass the Pharisees and the Scribes with his question—it was a question on John the Baptizer’s baptism.
But Jesus is not done making His point.
He finds Himself in a teachable moment.
And He presses into the subject of authority with a parable.
Jesus’ parabolic teachings do one of two things.
The parables either instructs (Mark 4:1–20) or hardens (4:10–12; 12:1–12) the listeners.
Which one is it?
*Please stand for the reading and honoring of God’s Word.*

SCRIPTURE: Mark 12:1-12 CSB

Mark 12:1— He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away.
Mark 12:2— At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them.
Mark 12:3— But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.
Mark 12:4— Again he sent another servant to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully.
Mark 12:5— Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; some they beat, and others they killed.
Mark 12:6— He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
Mark 12:7— But those tenant farmers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’
Mark 12:8— So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
Mark 12:9— What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill the farmers and give the vineyard to others.
Mark 12:10— Haven’t you read this Scripture:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
Mark 12:11— This came about from the Lord
and is wonderful in our eyes?”
Mark 12:12— They were looking for a way to arrest him but feared the crowd because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. So they left him and went away.
**These are the very words from God for us this morning.**
PRAY:

EXEGESIS:
Mark 12:1— He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away.
As Jesus began telling this story, everyone listening understood this parable.
The vineyard is a national symbol for Israel.
In fact, the Temple, where Jesus is teaching, had a beautiful grapevine sculpted into the rock—around the porch door that leads to the Holy place.
Its branches and leaves were made of pure gold.
The fruit hanging from the branches consisted of expensive jewels.
All that to say that a vine and a vineyard had a sacred meaning to the Jewish people.
Let’s take a look at the parable itself.
A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower.
This unnamed man is God the Father.
Notice the great pains that God took to plant this vineyard.
To plant a vineyard in Israel means you have to remove all the rocks from the land physically.
Now we live in Arizona, and we think we have rocks—Israel even more so.
What a vineyard owner would do is —take those rocks and use them to build a fence to keep animals and thieves out.

He would also build a watchtower with those rocks.
The watchtower was fifteen to twenty feet high.
This was a place for shelter and storage.
But most of all, it was for protection—a lookout center—so that he could protect his property with a sling.
The vineyard owner would then “dig a pit for the winepress.”
This pit/vat was made out of solid rock.
So as you can imagine, building a vineyard takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, and hard work.
The same kind of care and compassion, and work is seen spiritually from God the Father.
The second reason the Jews could identify with this parable is that this story reflects OT imagery from the prophet Isaiah.
cf. Isaiah 5:1—I will sing about the one I love,
a song about my loved one’s vineyard:
The one I love had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.

cf. Isaiah 5:2— He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones,
and planted it with the finest vines.
He built a tower in the middle of it
and even dug out a winepress there.
He expected it to yield good grapes,
but it yielded worthless grapes.

So, not only do we know that the man in Jesus parable is God the Father, we learn here that this vineyard represents the nation of Israel.
Mark 12:2— At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them.
This was a prevalent practice in Israel, where the landowner would lease the land to other farmers to take care of it.
The owner would usually get one-third to one-half of the produce.
Obviously, the landowner went to great expense to build the vineyard— which justifies his expectation to share in the profit.
Harvest time for a new vineyard takes five years.
cf. Leviticus 19:23— “When you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, you are to consider the fruit forbidden. It will be forbidden to you for three years; it is not to be eaten.
cf. Leviticus 19:24— In the fourth year all its fruit is to be consecrated as a praise offering to the Lord.
cf. Leviticus 19:25— But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way its yield will increase for you;

So if it takes five years for a new vineyard to produce fruit, it would be easy for the hired farmers to consider this property their own.
Now keep in mind, this is a parable so, Jesus is talking about spiritual fruit that comes from Israel’s spiritual leadership.
Back to…
Mark 12:2— At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them.
In other words, God the Father sent a prophet to the religious leaders of Israel to see how they are leading and providing spiritually with taking care of His prized people.
Mark 12:3— But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.
Instead of the prophet receiving fruit from the religious leaders, he received a beating.
This is a severe beating—the picture here is that they “removed his skin.”
This would have shocked the crowd. You would have heard audible gasps.
Talk about wicked and outrageous behavior on the part of the farmers (aka religious leaders).
This is open defiance with the contract that has been made.
Mark 12:4— Again he sent another servant to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully.
These farmers bashed this servant head in.

Spiritually, these religious leaders did the same to the OT prophets.
Mark 12:5— Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; some they beat, and others they killed.

Pause…at this point, what are you thinking? “What kind of land owner is this?”
The crowd is asking the same question.

Nobody in their right mind would keep doing the same thing over and over with these wicked men expecting a different result.
That’s the very definition of insanity.
At this point, the crowd would have expected the landowner to bring an army to execute justice on these wicked farmers. (Gen. 9:6)
But, is that what the landowner does?
Mark 12:6— He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
Can you hear more audible gasps from the crowd?
People start to discuss this among themselves—grumble and murmur.
This is just downright foolish—this landowner (God the Father) will send His Son.
Why would He do that?
Because in Israeli culture, the son represents the father.
The sending of the son shows the seriousness of the situation.

The son has the authority and all the rights that the father has.
Pause…it’s pretty remarkable how Jesus now inserts Himself into the parable.
How do the farmers respond to the landowner’s son?
Spiritually, we would ask, “How do the religious leaders respond to God’s own Son?”

Mark 12:7— But those tenant farmers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’
At first glance, this whole story seems absolutely ridiculous.
Do these farmers actually think that they can get away with murder?
According to traditional law, land that remained unclaimed for three years would become the property of those working it.
So, in their wicked, pea-sized brain—they reasoned this whole thing out believing that this land—
The land that they did not purchase—the vineyard that they didn’t plant—the fence and the watchtower and the winepress that they did not build—it could all be there’s—
If they killed the beloved son.
I wonder if anyone in the crowd while listening to Jesus remembered how God the Father spoke from heaven at Jesus’ baptism, saying, “You are My beloved Son” (Mark 1:11).
Surely, it had to cross these wicked farmers’ minds that they would not get away with this.
But isn’t that Jesus’ point?
The Jewish leaders and the Jewish people…and all of us—because we’re all sinners—we think we can get away with living our lives in direct rebellion of a holy God and never receive any type of punishment.
We tend to think, as these farmers did in the parable—that God is weak.
“If I haven’t been punished yet I’ll never be punished.”
It is not logical, but sin is never logical.
KEYPOINT 1:
Sin makes you stupid.
Don’t replace God’s patience with weakness.

God is far from weak, but He is patient.
Jesus is revealing the deep mercies of God the Father in this parable.
What looks like foolishness to us reflects the love and wisdom of God.
God’s ways are so much higher and better than our human ways. (Isa. 55:8)
Mark 12:8— So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
This is remarkable—Jesus now moves the parable from history— to prophecy.
In the parable, throwing the son’s body out of the vineyard was the final act of rebellion.
They didn’t even bury the body.
Refusing to bury a corpse was a ghastly offense in the first century.
And guess what…
This is Wednesday of Passion Week, and on Friday morning, the religious leaders would seize Jesus, abuse Jesus and kill Jesus outside the city walls of Jerusalem.

Mark 12:9— What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill the farmers and give the vineyard to others.
Verse nine is the climax of the parable.
And Jesus has the crowd hooked.
They are hanging on every word.
So picture people starting to answer Jesus’ question.
What then will the owner of the vineyard do?
Matthew’s Gospel says the crowd shouted the answer,

cf. Matthew 21:41—“He will completely destroy those terrible men,”
In other words, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end.”
And it’s at this moment, DING!…the lightbulb goes on for the crowd!
Oh, no.

Luke’s Gospel states,

cf. Luke 20:16— “But when they heard this they said, “That must never happen!”
They just realized that they condemned themselves!
They sentenced themselves as guilty.
They are the ones to blame.
They are the ones who mistreated, abused, and killed all the Old Testament prophets.

They are guilty of sawing Isaiah in half with a wooden saw. (Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, a Jew, chap. 120; cf. Heb. 11:37)
They are guilty of constantly mistreating Jeremiah and accusing him of treason. (Jer. 37:13–16), thrown into a pit (Jer. 38:9), and, according to tradition, stoned him to death.
Ezekiel faced hatred and hostility (cf. Ezek. 2:6).
Amos was forced to flee for his life (Amos 7:10–13).
Zechariah was rejected (Zech. 11:12), and Micaiah (Ma-kigh-who) was struck in the face (1 Kings 22:24).
John the Baptizer got his head cut off (Mark 6:14)
So the crowd starts to backpedal, but its too late.
Jesus has already judged them.
In fact, they judged themselves.
This parable becomes prophetic with the destruction of Jerusalem 40 years later.
Jesus was revealing to them in great detail that He would destroy the temple—
Which is the very heart of the Jewish sacrificial system. Why?
Because Jesus is the Lamb of God who once and for all took away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
Jesus will destroy the priesthood, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Sanhedrin—all of it!

Jesus is destroying the very heart of Judaism—
And then he’s going to give the vineyard to the Gentiles.
Jesus is transferring leadership from the Temple to the Apostles.
Mark 12:9— What then will the owner of the vineyard do?
If you were a bettin’ man, would your bet be on this seemingly weak landowner?
The farmers are betting that he won’t do anything, because he’s done nothing up to this point.
But keep in mind, this is a parable.
This story is an allegory on the Infinite Authority of Jesus—now being unleashed.
KEYPOINT 2:
Even though God has shown outrageous patience, His patience is not unlimited.
God will not be patient forever.
Verse 9 of this parable shows a change in the tone of the story.
The landowner, who at first seems to be powerless—now releases his wrath.
He not only kills the farmers but gives the vineyard to other people.
One of the biggest mistakes that we make today is thinking that this is my vineyard.

In other words, your vineyard (your home, your marriage, your kids, your business, your education, your money, your church) is not a human possession.
All these things are God’s possessions.
Mark 12:10— Haven’t you read this Scripture:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
Mark 12:11— This came about from the Lord
and is wonderful in our eyes?”
Jesus ends the parable with Psalm 118:22-23.

This is the same psalm that the crowd celebrated on Palm Sunday.
It’s interesting here because Jesus turned Psalm 118:23 into a question.
This psalm explains that the one who is rejected and murdered will be vindicated.
The block of stone that the builders reject becomes the cornerstone of a new structure.
The image that Jesus provides is that of a new temple—Himself.
And what was the result?
Mark 12:12— They were looking for a way to arrest him but feared the crowd because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. So they left him and went away.
So the religious leaders hear the truth, but walk away from it…again.

PREACH:
We learned that Jesus quotes from the prophet Isaiah in the telling of this parable.
We looked at the first couple verses let’s look at verse 4
cf. Isaiah 5:4—What more could I have done for my vineyard
than I did?
Is there anything else that God the Father could have done to save mankind?
No, times up.
History has shown us time and time again what happens when a nation doesn’t repent.

Let’s look at what happened six hundred years prior to the nation of Israel.
cf. Jeremiah 52:4— In the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon advanced against Jerusalem with his entire army. They laid siege to the city and built a siege wall against it all around.
cf. Jeremiah 52:5— The city was under siege until King Zedekiah’s eleventh year.
cf. Jeremiah 52:6— By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that the common people had no food.
cf. Jeremiah 52:7— Then the city was broken into, and all the warriors fled.
The Babylonian army circles Jerusalem, wait it out, and eventually took it by force.

It’s known as the first fall of Jerusalem.
I want to draw your attention back to verse 6—

cf. Jeremiah 52:6— By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that the common people had no food.
Pause…when you convert this date—the ninth day of the four month—which in the Hebrew calendar is ninth day of Nissan—

When you convert that date from the Hebrew lunar calendar to our solar based calendar today— it’s June 26.
It just so happens that in 2015, June 26 became a wickedly historic date for the United States of America as well.
June 26, 2015—the Supreme Court passed same-sex “marriage” as federal law.

Now, in our Scripture passage today, Jesus predicts the Fall of Jerusalem for the second time.

It happens 40 years later.
Why did Jerusalem fall for the second time? Because the leadership of the nation rejected God.
Let’s bring this home.

How long have the leaders of the United States of America been rejecting God?
Over the past 100 years has:

We experienced the first sexual revolution back in the 1920s.
Our second sexual revolution was in the 1960s.
Our third sexual revolution is happening right now.
We started legally murdering people through the facade of abortion in the 1970s.
It’s illegal to pray in school.
We’ve taken prayer out of the workplace.
When we do try to pray, we are mocked, shut down, and fined.
We’ve modernized the abuse of women through Internet pornography, that nearly every channel, every ad, every newscast depreciates the value of women who are made in the image of God.
We’ve legalized sodomy and lesbianism under the guise of modern marriage.
We’ve twisted and deformed the image of God through transgenderism.
We’ve redefined truth to mean whatever it is that we want at the moment.
We watch murder, rape, and pornography as entertainment on a daily basis.
And now the latest worldly fad is to believe that people can change their gender by simply “thinking it.”
And then we criminalize and demonize anyone who speaks Truth.
Just a few months ago a congressman told another congressman on live television, “God’s will is no concern of this Congress.” (Jerry Nadler)

Dear friends, can a nation continue make a mockery out of God’s will—without repentance—and not suffer any consequences?
Is it possible that the United States of America is living on borrowed time?

The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years.
Jesus was tested for forty days.
The second Fall of Jerusalem happened 40 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Is it a coincidence that the Supreme Court of the United States legalized sodomy and lesbianism into federal law on the anniversary of the Fall of Jerusalem?
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as we get closer to the year 2055.
I’m not going to say one way or another because I don’t know.
All I know is what the Word of God says:

…the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. (1 These 5:2)

Therefore be alert, because you don’t know either the day or the hour. (Matt. 25:13)

Now, I need to make a pretty abrupt transition here, so stay with me.
Today is a very special day in the life of River Bible Church.
We are going to commission Brian Klimke as our assistant pastor.
This is the first full-time assistant pastor River has ever had.
And in a moment, you’ll hear God’s testimony of how He put this whole thing together.
I’ve been thinking about God’s timing with bringing Brian, Joy, Brian Jr, and Bowen here to RBC.
Here’s my thought—Since we may very well be living on borrowed time, we’re going to see an increase in people coming to church to learn the truth—especially as the nation becomes more and more depraved.
There is a remanent of people in the Verde Valley that desperately want to hear God’s truth.
And God in His infinite mercy and grace is preparing us as River Bible Church for all the new people.
Jesus said He would build His church. And today, we get to hear a testimony of how he’s doing that in real-time.

PRAYER ROOM:

PRAYER:

THANK YOU: MIKE NEELY

GOD’S TESTIMONY! Brian and Joy Klimke

FOOT WASHING:
“Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are speaking rightly, since that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you. (John 13:12)

COMMISSIONING:
Do you reaffirm your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? (I do.)
Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, totally trustworthy, fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice? (I do.)
Do you promise, that if at any time, you find yourself out of accord with any of the statements found in our Statement of Faith and the River Bible Covenant, you will, on your own initiative, make known to the pastor and elders, the change which has taken place in your views since the commissioning of this role? (I will.)
Do you subscribe to the government and discipline of the River Bible Church? ((I do.)
Do you promise to submit to your elders in the Lord Jesus Christ? (I do.)
Are you willing and able, to accept the office of the Assistant Pastor, from a sincere desire to promote God’s glory through the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ? (I do.)
Do you promise to be faithful in promoting the truths of the Gospel, regardless of whatever persecution or opposition may arise? (I do.)

Will you be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all your duties as the assistant pastor? (I will.)
Are you now willing to take personal responsibility in the life of this congregation as the assistant pastor to oversee the ministry and resources of River Bible Church and to devote yourself to continued prayer, the ministry of the Word, and the shepherding of God’s flock, relying upon the grace of God, in such a way that Jesus Christ, River Bible Church and the Kingdom of God in the Verde Valley will be blessed? (I do.)
Congregation: Please Stand
As the Church family, do you acknowledge and publicly receive Brian Klimke as a gift from God as your assistant pastor?
(We do.)
Will you pray for Brian, Joy, Brian Jr, and Bowen and work together with them humbly and joyfully, that by God’s grace, you may accomplish the mission of River Bible Church, giving them all due honor and support in their leadership to which the Lord Jesus has called them?
(We will.)
Brian, in the name of the Father, The Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, it is my honor to commission you as our assistant pastor of River Bible Church. Amen and Amen!
Will you please praise God for the gift of Pastor Brian, Joy, Brian Jr, and Bowen.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Blight, Richard C. An Exegetical Summary of Mark 9–16. Exegetical Summaries. Dallas, TX: SIL International, 2014.
Blum, Edwin A., and Trevin Wax, eds. CSB Study Bible: Notes. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017.
Cross, F. L., and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Crossway Bibles. The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008.
Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002.
Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Yeshua: The Life of Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective. Vol. 2. San Antonio, TX: Ariel, 2017.
Gaebelein, Frank E., D. A. Carson, Walter W. Wessel, and Walter L. Liefeld. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke. Vol. 8. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
Garland, David E. Mark. The N.I.V. Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.
Hiebert, D. Edmond. The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1994.
Hughes, R. Kent. Mark: Jesus, Servant and Savior. Preaching the Word. Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1989.
Kernaghan, Ronald J. Mark. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007.
MacArthur, John. Mark 9–16. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015.
McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible. Vol. IV. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1982.
Myers, Allen C. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987.
Osborne, Grant R. Mark. Edited by Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton. Teach the Text Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014.
Sproul, R. C. Mark. First Edition. St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2011.

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