"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Parable of the Tenants (or Taxes to Caesar)
Mark 12:1-12 [13-17] Commentary
by Angela Dienhart Hancock
Some biblical texts are hard to love, and this parable (Mark 12:1-12) makes my list.
The problems are many. Jesus tells the story of a landowner, clearly a man of means, who plants a vineyard, fences it in, installs all the right equipment, hires some other people to manage it, and leaves the country. When the time comes, this distant lord expects to reap a percentage of the harvest. It’s his vineyard after all. So, he sends a slave to go and get the grapes. A slave. This is new information. It makes you wonder if it was the landowner who planted the vineyard, put a fence around it, dug the pit, and built the guard tower. Did he do all those things, or did his slaves do all the work?
In any case, it is a slave who faces the belligerent tenants, a slave who is beaten and sent on his way grape-less. What does he tell his master when he finally makes his way to the far country, limping? Whatever it was, it did not prevent the landowner from doing the exact same thing again, sending another slave, alone and, apparently, unarmed. This slave gets rewarded with a head wound ...
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 401: Parable of the Tenants
March 15, 2020
Podcast on the Narrative Lectionary readings for Mar. 15, 2020, (Parable of the Tenants) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.