Written by Matthew Thompson
Mark 12:2-5 “At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. 3 They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others.”
Those hearing this parable would have been both shocked and outraged by the behavior of the vine-growers. The hatred, betrayal and pure evil of their actions was unconscionable. How could someone who had been given such an honor respond in this way? How could anyone turn their backs on a man who had taken such care to provide for their needs?
When you strip away all of the layers, what you find is that the true problem with the leaders of Israel is that they put their faith in themselves and not in God. Their salvation was based in their own knowledge and works rather than in grace and repentance. They came to see salvation as something that not only were they entitled to, but that no one else was worthy to attain.
Like the vine-growers in the story, they began to reject those who came to bring them back to God. The slaves in the parable represent the prophets God sent to bring his people back to Him. As shocking as their mistreatment was, one other aspect of the story is even more amazing. Despite the rejection of the people, despite their hatred and intent, God never gave up trying to bring them back to Him.