Welcome to Friday’s Foundation podcast.
This week, we’ve been asking the question: What kind of life does Jesus call us to live? How does following Jesus impact our everyday life- the sorts of choices we make, the way we use our time, our money, the people we feel called to serve. We’ve covered a range of different themes over the course of these 5 passages.
Today’s reading is Mark 12:1-17. We conclude our week with a final thought on the lifestyle of disciple and see that to follow Jesus is to be a people who listen.
Our focus verse for today is verses 10-11:
Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?”
Today’s passage centres around a parable that Jesus uses to challenge the religious leaders who, as we saw in yesterday’s reading, have called his authority into question. And at the heart of it, the root of the problem is their unwillingness to listen to him. In the parable, the landlord sends servant after servant back to his vineyard to collect what is rightfully his, a share in the profits. Time and time again his servants are mistreated shamefully by those currently in charge of the vineyard. We see here a summary of the God story – of him creating for himself a people, of giving them a vision of how they are to live, but not seeing that realised until… reading again from verse 10-11:
“‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?”
The words Jesus speaks here come from Psalm 118 which, as the religious leaders would have known, points to a time when the Messiah will come. He is described as the cornerstone. The key foundational stone upon which the entire building is built around. And what the psalm illustrates, as Jesus also does in his parable, is that the stone has been rejected. Deemed by the builders, the religious leaders, as not fit for purpose. The message has not been listened to.
But as we see in verse 11, as we have seen throughout Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, God has a plan. ‘The Lord has done this and it is marvellous in our eyes’. The religious leaders may have missed the point. They did not listen. And the really challenging thing about Jesus’ parable is that because they will not, God will judge them accordingly.
But, what we see in this reading today should encourage us! God is building for himself a new community, the new temple where he dwells by his Spirit. He is bringing together a people for himself, who reveal his love, his hope, his forgiveness and bring healing and wholeness to places that are broken. He’s building for himself his church and we are a part of that!
And the encouragement today is that God has done this through Jesus and continuing to do this through his resurrection power. He is showing us the way forward. He is revealing to us the things of his kingdom. He is showing us the places and the people he is calling us to. We just need to take the time to listen.
This week at STC, we had an afternoon where people from our church family gathered to listen to God. It was a really powerful time together which fed wonderfully into a night of prayer and worship fuelled by words, pictures, scriptures from God. An awesome and inspiring night!
God constantly wants to speak to us. The thing that I was most challenged by this week is… am I creating the space to really hear him? Because to hear from God, to listen to his words, to feel his presence – this is the most precious thing ever. This is the life, the more and better life that God has won for us, and it’s what enables to us embrace more of it.
As I reflected on this reading, my mind was drawn back to the words God speaks over Jesus at his transfiguration – ‘This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him’.
As we end this week and as we, as a church family, move towards a new term for our Grow Project where the focus is on encountering God, we would be wise to take these words again to heart. Are we a people who create the space to listen to God? What might that look in our weeks, in our day? Are we willing to make a change, to do things differently, or use our time more effectively? And also how can we create space for others to hear from God? I know this is something that God is really speaking to me about at the moment.
Rather than feel burdened with a sense of ‘Must do more!’, let us end this week encouraged. ‘The Lord has done it’. He is calling us to go on an adventure with him, to be a part of his church, his plan for restoring this world. He’s our guide for the next step on this road. Let’s be a people who take note of the directions he’s giving us and see what exciting places he leads us to next.
God, thank you that you speak to us. Lord, we love and we need to hear your voice. Help us Jesus to be a people who seek after your presence. Give us ears to hear what you are saying this day God for my life, for my friends, my family and for this great church. Amen.
READING: Mark 12:1-17
Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall round it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.
‘He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, “They will respect my son.”
‘But the tenants said to one another, “This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
‘What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:
‘“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvellous in our eyes”?’
Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.
Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, ‘Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the poll-tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?’
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. ‘Why are you trying to trap me?’ he asked. ‘Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.’ They brought the coin, and he asked them, ‘Whose image is this? And whose inscription?’
‘Caesar’s,’ they replied.
Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.’
And they were amazed at him.