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Friday, March 30, 2018

2018.03.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 11:27-12:12

Questions for Littles: To where did they come again in v27? Where was Jesus walking? Who came to Him? What did they ask Him (v28)? What did Jesus tell them they would have to do if they wanted Him to answer them (v29)? What does He ask them (v30)? Why didn’t they want to say “from heaven” (v31)? Why didn’t they want to say “from men” (v32)? So, what do they answer (v33)? And what does Jesus say? In what did Jesus then begin to speak to them (12:1)? What is this parable about? Where does the owner of the vineyard go? What does he do at vintage-time, when there should be grapes ready (v2)? What do they do to the servant (v3)? What do they do with the second servant (v4)? And the third (v5)? How many sons did the owner have (v6)? What did the vinedressers say among themselves in v7? What do they do to the son (v8)? What does Jesus say that the owner will do in v9? What Scripture quote does He say in v10-11? About whom did the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders know that Jesus had spoken this parable?
In the Gospel reading this week, we are starting to feel the buildup of pressure that leads to the cross. The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders have all joined forces now. The scribes and the elders were very hostile to Rome, while the chief priests were very friendly to Rome, who had permitted them to continue operating the temple. The others saw the priests as sellouts.

But, these groups can finally agree on something. They hate Jesus and want to destroy Him. When they come and ask the question about authority, it is a catch-22 for Jesus. If He claims a divine authority to act against the temple order, as currently overseen by Rome, it would be a crime of rebellion against Rome, and punishable by death.

If He somehow claimed Roman authority to do it, then the scribe/elder party would consider his sellout on the level of blasphemy for desecrating the temple, and they would execute Jesus for that. In the end, this was, indeed, the charge that they were trying to line up (false!) testimony to prove--that Jesus had spoken against the temple and Moses. But Jesus confessed Himself to be the Son of God, and so they based the blasphemy charges upon that instead.

In the parable, Jesus exposes just how bad this really is. They know that He is from God. The very thing that they are trying to get Him to admit is that God has invested Him with His own authority to give God the fruit that He has always sought from Israel.

They know, and they want to destroy Him anyway. But notice who is afraid, and who is in control here. They come to trap Jesus with a question, and He traps them with one instead. They are out to destroy Jesus, but Jesus is not the One who is afraid. Rather, twice it says that they are afraid of the people/multitude.

Jesus is in control, and that’s super-important.

It means that the cross was not some tragic miscalculation or accident. It was not the Jews or the Romans or even the Devil overpowering Jesus. It was Jesus, intentionally, in-control, laying down His life for His people. It is so important, dear reader, that you see how powerful and in-control Jesus is, as He goes to the cross. Behold Him who laid down His life for sinners!
When have you felt out of control? Who is really in control of that? What else has He done for you, of which He was in complete control? What does this mean He is doing now?
Suggested songs: ARP118D “Now Open Wide the Gates” or HB437 “The Church’s One Foundation”

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