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The Stone that the Builders Rejected
David Gantenbein, Executive Pastor Candidate
Overview: This passage shows us Jesus repeating himself. The repetition of themes in Mark is not a lack of imagination on the author’s part. Rather, it conveys a very important lesson for us. Jesus has only a few very basic things to say, but they are very difficult to learn. Discerning Christians sometimes realize their entire lives have been one long process of learning one or two gospel lessons.
Instead of Jesus instructing his disciples in the meaning of his death, we see him again confronting religious leaders and the crowds through the next couple of chapters. We are brought back to the theme of the first half of Mark— “Who is this?” He has authority over nature, over the physical body, over evil forces, and now demonstrates He is in authority over the religious authorities. Jesus’ triumphal entry to public acclaim has virtually forced the hand of the “chief priests, teachers of law, and the elders” (Mark 11:27). They can ignore him no longer — they must discredit him or destroy him. His entry was virtually an invitation from Jesus to “crown me or kill me.” There is never any doubt which option they will choose.
1. Read verses 11:27-33. The Sanhedrin representatives did not go to learn from Jesus, but to trap Him. How can a people so well-versed in the Old Testament have animosity towards the One whom the Old Testament gives testimony to (Lk. 24:27)?
2. How do we help one another guard against spiritual pride?
3. What authority given to Jesus by the Father, has been given to the Church and its Members? What authority has not been given to us?
4. Read 12:1-12. a) What remarkable claims is Jesus making for himself in the parable of the vineyard? b) Read I Peter 2:4-8. In verse 10, Jesus changes the metaphor from a vineyard to a building. What is he teaching us with it?
5. What practical implications does this parable have for us?
Select questions and summary material adapted from Timothy J. Keller The Gospel of Mark, 2005