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The Parable of the Tenants

By Pastor Jack Marbida


Mark 12:1-12

“There once was a man who planted a vineyard and put a secure fence around it. He dug a pit for its winepress and erected a watch tower. Then he leased it to tenant-farmers and traveled abroad.  When the time of harvest came, he sent one of his servants to the tenants to collect the landowners’ share of the harvest.  But the tenants seized him and beat him and sent him back empty-handed.  So the owner sent another servant to them. And that one they shamefully humiliated and beat over the head. So he sent another servant, and they brutally killed him. Many more servants were sent, and they were all severely beaten or killed.  The owner had only one person left to send—his only son, whom he dearly loved. So he sent him to them, saying, ‘Surely they will restrain themselves and respect my son.’ But the tenants saw their chance and said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come! Let’s kill him, and then we’ll inherit it all!’ So they violently seized him, killed him, and threw his body over the fence!  

So what do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? He will come and put to death those tenants and give his vineyard to others. Haven’t you read what the psalmist said?

The stone the builders examined and rejected has become the cornerstone, the most important stone of all?  This was the Lord’s plan— and he is wonderful for our eyes to behold!”

Now, the chief priests, religious scholars, and leaders realized that Jesus’ parable was aimed at them. They had hoped to arrest him then and there, but they feared the reaction of the crowd, so they left him alone and went away.”


-There was a man who planted a vineyard.

-The vineyard was secured (walled).

-He put up a winepress and a watchtower.

-He leased it out to tenants.

-When harvest season came, the owner sent several servants to collect but they were beat up and killed. The owner sends his own son to collect and he was beat up and killed too.


The man who planted the vineyard = God

Servants = prophets

Son = Jesus

Farmers = Israelites, priests

Produce of vineyard = obedience  

Travel abroad = freedom of will

The murder of the son; fence = the cross

The killing of the tenants = destruction / judgment of Israel / Jerusalem / Temple

Given to others = inclusion of the Gentiles

God shows us 3 principles in this parable.

Principle no. 1. God owns the vineyard. (V. 1)(GEN. 1:14-16)

Before the land owner leased his land to the tenants, he already put up a wine press and a watch tower. He secured it. This is parallel to Genesis 1 where God prepared everything else first before He created man. In real estate, before renters occupy the property, the basic things they need are already in place. God loves you because He allows you to tend the vineyard. You ar caretakers. Everything you have is for tending the flock. If you are parents, He gave you children to raise for His glory. If you have skills and talents, use them to honor Him. Everything is borrowed. Use them properly.

Dubb Alexander, in a talk about the Kingdom Economy, said, “The territory was in place. He put power inside the territory. He tells man to subdue the earth. Subdue means to capture, to harness the power of something, to develop the culture upon the earth. He put the financial ecosystem of wealth in place, he created the fish of the sea, and what he did was to bless them and told them to multiply. He created the world in place before he even created man and woman. You know why? Because He loves us, His children.”

Principle no. 2 God is patient and give second chances. (V. 4–6)(2 Peter 3:15,Psalms 86:15)

The servants are prophets sent to you by God. They may be ordinary people that you meet everyday or specific ones when you are encountering trials in your life. Do not hesitate to listen to them because they might be heaven sent. God is patient with you because He loves you. He will send everybody He can to get your attention. But in the end, God sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ.

The landowner sent his servants several times, all of them at one point or another, to get the attention of the tenant. In the end, he sent his son too. God is patient. He will do everything and send everybody your way to get your attention. Just like in the case of Saul of Tarsus and Jonah, who did not want to listen and disobeyed God for a long time, God pursued them. And He will pursue you because He has a great plan for you. He might be asking you to stop what you are doing and follow His command Right now.

Chuck Swindoll once said, “Genuine love willingly waits! It is not pushy or demanding. While it has its limits, its boundaries are far reaching. It neither clutches nor clings. Real love is not short-sighted, selfish, or insensitive. It detects needs and does what is best for the other person without being told.” God has given you a lot of chances, more than what you deserve.

Principle no. 3 God’s purposes will be accomplished. (V.2)

The share of the harvest represents your obedience to Him. God might be asking you to do something for His purpose to be fulfilled in your life. He wants you to be with Him in heaven. That is the ultimate goal! If you have been neglecting the calling of God in your life, listen now. John 3:16 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.“ God gave His Only Son for you. Follow Him. Obey Him. Listen to HIm. He only wants the best for you.

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