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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Today’s Reading | Mark 12:1–11

Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others 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.’ So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then 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 amazing in our eyes’?” (NRSV)

Reflection
It has been a few days since Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem with shouts of hosanna. His actions and teachings in these days have astonished the crowds and caused an increasing fear in the chief priests and scribes who now seek to destroy him. In an effort to lead Jesus into blasphemy, they have asked on whose authority he speaks. Jesus responds with this difficult-to-hear parable, the Parable of the Wicked Tenants.

In using words familiar to the chief priests and scribes, words from Isaiah and Psalms, Jesus is telling them of the events that will occur in the few days to come. They do not understand. From our perspective of thousands of years later we do understand. And we are brought face-to-face with the reality that we ourselves on a regular basis in our lives make decisions that reject Jesus, the Cornerstone. We reject the love and teachings God sent us through Jesus. As we walk with Jesus through this Holy Week, let us use the courage of his example to face our failures and shortcomings so that we may truly become God’s Easter people.

Prayer
Dear God, thank you for the gift of your Son and his teachings. Give me the strength and courage to honestly face the many times I reject this gift in my actions. Help me to live each day in the sure and certain knowledge that nothing, absolutely nothing can separate me from your love and guidance. Amen.

Written by Sylvia Robertson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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