QUESTIONING AUTHORITY: 11:27-33
Many Bible theologians have argued about the reason Jesus answers their question with a question, as if to make a deal. The reason Jesus does this is he obviously knows they simply want to argue and catch him in a fault. The Chief Priests, Scribes and the Elders aren’t interested in the source of authority Jesus has, but they are proven to be more interested in what other people think, “for they feared all the people”, v32. These religious leaders are cowards, they have no brave faith in God to help them lead the people, but they would rather fear the people. The point is that no matter what Jesus said in response to their question they were not going to believe it and would in the end use it against him. So they claimed ignorance and indicted themselves when they cited only two options and chose neither of them. The point for us: It is never a good idea to doubt the source of authority in Christ, if we keep doubting instead of believing in his authority, then we will end up incriminating ourselves. Notice Jesus was not afraid to use the subject of BAPTISM for pointing people to divine authority, see Mark 1:4. Why should we?
THE PARABLE OF THE TENANTS: 12:1-9
After the Owner of the Vineyard sends over 4 or 5 servants to try and collect his share of the crop, they all get abused or killed, until He is left with only his son to send. Sounds almost desperate, why would the Owner think they will respect his Son after all this violent abuse and murder? Because some of them did respect Him, Anna, Simeon, the 12 Apostles, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea & all the women who ministered to him and his closest disciples. God knew that some Jews were more open-minded than others and they weren’t all closed-minded idolators, see Acts 17:11. But whoever pays attention to life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who pays attention to correction gains understanding. Wisdoms’ instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor (Proverbs 15:31-33).
v9, shows the reaction of the Owner towards the greedy Tenants, the verb “kill” (NIV) or “destroy” (KJV) is the verb, apollymi, “ruin, destroy,” to cause destruction, especially, “put to death.” We’ve studied Jesus’ prediction of the fall of Jerusalem which took place in 70 AD. This crushing destruction was terrible evidence of the wrath of God upon this rebellious land. To be clear, this destruction is not because of their rejection of Jesus, it is because of their hypocrisy in loving the ability to make money in the Temple, instead of loving the ability to please the Father in the Temple by serving the Nations.
CHRIST’S INTERPRETATION: 12:10-12
The Chief Priests, Scribes and the Elders are not stupid, they can easily see that they represent the greedy tenants which turn murderous. So Christ quotes the “Cornerstone” passages of prophecy from Psalms 118:22-23. The imagery in Eph. 2:20-22 & 1st Cor. 3:11 shows us that the term κεφαλὴ γωνίας (kephalē gōnias) refers to a cornerstone, not a capstone. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The use of Psa. 118:22-23 and the “stone imagery” as a reference to Christ and his suffering and exaltation is common in the NT, 1st Pet. 2:6-8. The irony in the use of Psa. 118:22-23 is that in the OT, Israel was the one rejected (or perhaps her king) by the Gentiles, but in the NT it is Jesus who is rejected by Israel.
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