Mark's Gospel

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The Wicked Husbandmen

(Mark 12:1-12)

The Wicked Husbandmen is also found in Matthew and Luke's Gospels (Matthew 21:33-46; Luke 20:9-19)

This is the only parable which says that when the authorities heard it, they understood that it was 'aimed at them'. The book of Isaiah described Israel as God's vineyard (Is 5:1). The authorities would have immediately understood the reference to the owner's servants as being mistreated as a reference to the way in which the Israelites had mistreated God's prophets in the past. The climax of the story comes when the owner decides to sent his son in order to speak sense to the tenants. However, the son is seized, killed and thrown out of the vineyard. Jesus is speaking of himself, so this parable is really a prediction of his death.

The parable concludes with the Jesus quoting from one of the psalms (Ps 118:22-23). The keystone can be understood in one of two ways. It was either a reference to the top stone of an arch, which was vitally important to an archway's ability to bear its load, or it is a reference to the cornerstone which a builder uses to align all the other stones. This concluding parable points to a new beginning among God's people.

The Pharisees and Herodians, who hated each other, made an unholy alliance. They had also combined against Jesus earlier (Mark 3:6).

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