Final Thoughts on Mark 12:1-3
Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. NKJV
A parable is a story in which familiar things are used to illustrate spiritual and moral truths. The symbols that Jesus used in this story were familiar to His Jewish audience. The vineyard represented the visible kingdom of God, which had been entrusted to the Jews. The hedge represented the word of God that separated Israel from the Gentiles. The wine vat and tower pictured the riches and blessings of the Kingdom of God. The far country represented Heaven. The vinedressers were the Jews in general and in particular the religious leaders of the nation of Israel.
These Jewish religious leaders were given a beautiful and good vineyard in which to work, but they began to think that the vineyard was their own possession. They forgot it belonged to God, who was the vineyard owner, and so they abused the vineyard owner’s servants. These servants were God’s Old Testament messengers, the prophets. In Israel’s past when God had sent his prophets with His message, these prophets were abused, mistreated, and even killed.
Even though this message had a clear historical connection to the Old Testament prophets and the nation of Israel, we can carry away a powerful reminder for ourselves today from the implications of our text. Just as the Jewish religious leaders did, we can begin to view God’s Kingdom, His people, and His gifts, as our own. It is easy to forget that everything we have is “on loan” from God and is to be used for Him, for His glory, and for His purposes. These blessings are not ours by merit or right, but by God’s grace, and we must never lose sight of this truth.