"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 45

What Shall The Lord Do?

Read: Mark 12:1-12

Text: (Mark 12:9 KJV) What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.

Theme: God expects fruit from His husbandmen, and will judge those husbandmen who are not producing.


QUESTION - In verse 1 we see that Jesus once again used a "parable." What is a parable? What rules are there for interpreting parables?

ANSWER - Generally, parables have a singular meaning, which we should strive to understand. It is not good to try and interpret every detail of a parable, as it is not always the case that every detail of the parable will be meaningful. We should look for the singular meaning (interpretation), and then (and only then) strive to apply it to ourselves.

QUESTION - What then is the main purpose of this parable? Who was Jesus talking about?

ANSWER - The Jewish leaders in particular (cf. Vs. 12, 11:27)

ANSWER - The nation of Israel by extension (READ Isa. 5:1-7, Psalm 80:8-16; Jer 2:21)

QUOTE (John MacArthur) - (The purpose of this parable was to) "confront the chief priests and elders and reveal their hypocritical character."

QUESTION - Who are the players in the drama? Who is the "certain man" in vs. 1? (ANSWER - God the Father)

QUESTION - Who are the "husbandmen" in verse 1? (ANSWER - Jewish leaders, by extension Israel)

QUESTION - Who is "a servant" in verse 2? (ANSWER - Old Testament prophets, up to and including John the Baptist)

QUESTION - Who is "another servant in verse 4? (ANSWER - more and continuing prophets)

QUESTION - Who is "his well-beloved" in verse 6? (ANSWER - Jesus Christ)

QUESTION - What was Jesus describing in vss. 3-6?

ANSWER - Jewish treatment of Old Testament prophets. (READ 1 Kings 22;24; 2 Chron 24:20-21; 36:15; Neh 9:26; Jer 2:30)

(Heb 11:36-38 KJV) And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

QUESTION - How did verse 7 apply to these leaders? (ANSWER - cf. 11:18)

QUESTION - How did verse 7 apply to Israel as a whole? (ANSWER cf. 15:9-14)

QUESTION - What was Jesus describing in verse 9?

QUESTION - What is the significance of verses 10-11?

ANSWER - He was quoting from Psalm 118:22-23 - a well-known and understood Messianic prophecy. Christ was here equating the "rejected son" in His parable with the "rejected stone" in this Messianic prophecy. Once again we see Jesus clearly equating Himself with the promised Messiah. This was extremely clear to the Jewish leaders.

QUESTION - Knowing that Jesus was speaking this parable about them aroused a response (vs. 12). What was that response?

QUESTION - By way of application to the church, who would the characters in this parable correspond to?

QUESTION - Is there any similarity between the way Israel treated the Old Testament prophets and the way the world has treated Christ's witnesses in the church age? Explain?

QUESTION - What is the main thought of vs. 9 as it applies to Israel? What is the main thought of vs. 9 as it applies to the world today?

ANSWER - There is a sure result to rejecting Christ - judgement

I. The fruit of the vineyard belongs to God. (vs. 2)

A. Because the vineyard belongs to Him.

1. Israel belonged to Him.

2. The local church belongs to Him.

ILLUS. Believers who like to take ownership of the local church. A good friend once said of his church, "This is MY church…" (But it is really God's, isn't it?)

(Mat 16:18 KJV) And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

B. Therefore the fruit of the vineyard belongs to Him.

QUESTION - Can we take credit for the fruit we see?

ANSWER - Of course not. (1 Cor 3:6 KJV) I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

II. God does His part to ensure the vineyard is fruitful. (vs. 1)

QUESTION - What provisions has God made here to ensure fruit from His vineyard? How does this apply to us today?

A. He provides the protection.

"… and set an hedge about it…"

ILLUS. Russian girl praying on film, "Merciful God, thank you for protecting our lives."


QUESTION - Examples?

B. He provides the necessary tools to ensure fruitfulness.

"… and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower…"

QUESTION - What tools has He provided us today?

C. He assigns the work.

"… and let it out to husbandmen…"
QUESTION - What implications does this have for us, today?

1. You are not a free agent.

2. You belong to God.

(1 Cor 6:20 KJV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

3. You are God's husbandmen (i.e. His employee!)

(Eph 2:10 KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

D. He gives time.

"… and went into a far country…" (cf. Luke 20:9, which adds "for a long time")

(2 Pet 3:9 KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

III. God has ways of reminding His husbandmen of their responsibility (vss. 2a, 4-6)

QUESTION - What ways did He use in the parable?

QUESTION - What are some ways He uses today?

A. The Word of God.

B. The preaching of that Word.

C. The Holy Spirit of God.

IV. God holds the husbandmen accountable for the lack of fruit. (vs. 9)

A. He held Israel accountable (and the Jewish leaders - main point of parable)

B. Jesus held the early churches accountable for their lack of fruit:

C. God will hold this church accountable.

READ Matthew 25:15 - Parable of the talents, esp. (Mat 25:19 KJV) After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

READ Luke 19:12-23 - Parable of the pounds, esp. (Luke 19:22 KJV) And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:

QUESTION - How does this thought apply to the various people in this church?

D. God will hold YOU accountable for your portion of this church.

1. Teachers are accountable for their teaching. (cf. James 3:1)

2. Trustees are accountable for their trustee-ship.

3. Musicians are accountable for their music.

4. Etc.

5. ALL are accountable for their witness!


(Mark 12:9 KJV) What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do?



(Mark 12:9a KJV) What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do?

(Mark 12:9b KJV) he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1998 William E. Johnson.