Mark 12:1–12 (ESV)
Parable of the Tenants
12 And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and
dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And
they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and him
they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But
those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What
will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this Scripture:
“ ‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11 this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
12 And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went
Jesus tells how God deals patiently with people. But eventually, God’s
patience runs out, and every person must face judgment. God planned the death of His Son for the sins of all people. Unlike the story here, His beloved Son rose from the dead on the third day, taking up again the life He had laid down for us, to give us the
Kingdom as a gift.
I pray: “I trust in Him with all my heart;
Now all my sorrow ceases. His words abiding peace impart; His blood from guilt releases.” Amen. (LSB 568:3)
Mark 11:27–33 (ESV)
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, 28 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or
who gave you this authority to do them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?
Answer me.” 31 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they
were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Opponents of Jesus confront Him and question His authority. Jesus refuses to engage them since He confidently knows the true character of His authority (Mt 28:18). The anger
of these leaders brings Jesus ever nearer to the cross, where He acts in weakness to overthrow the authority of the evil one for the sake of our salvation.
Lord God, heavenly Father, You sent Your Son to cleanse the temple of Jerusalem, so now cleanse the hearts of Your people, that they may be temples for Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Mark 11:20–25 (ESV)
The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree
20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart,
but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And
whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
teaches that saving faith rescues us from God’s judgment and that, through faith, we have the power to do the work God gives us. Without faith in Jesus, it is impossible to please God or pray to Him. We know God hears our prayers even if we do not receive
an answer immediately. Confident prayer, based on faith in Christ crucified and risen, trusts God to answer in His own time and way (cf Rm 8:32).
I pray: “Forgive
our sins, Lord, we implore, That they may trouble us no more; We, too, will gladly those forgive Who hurt us by the way they live. Help us in our community To serve each other willingly.” Amen. (LSB 766:6)
Mark 11:15–19 (ESV)
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.
16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer
for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at
his teaching. 19 And when evening came they went out of the city.
As prophesied in Mal 3:1–5, Jesus purifies the temple
of those who use religion to line their pockets. He does so in the temple court, where genuine worship has been disrupted. Today, Jesus challenges us to eliminate all such barriers to God’s Word in our lives and in our congregations. He is the proper
focus of our prayers, the reason for our service; He hallows us as the temple of His Holy Spirit.
I pray: “Your name be hallowed. Help us, Lord,
In purity to keep Your Word, That to the glory of Your name We walk before You free from blame. Let no false teaching us pervert; All poor deluded souls convert.” Amen. (LSB 766:2)
Mark 11:12–14 (ESV)
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to
it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
The curse and destruction of the fig tree warns Jesus’ disciples of impending judgment against the temple and the unfruitful people. Works without faith are truly fruitless. True faith, and the life that flows from it,
cannot be separated. They are the good and gracious gifts of our heavenly Father.
I pray: “In your hearts enthrone Him; There let Him subdue All
that is not holy, All that is not true: Crown Him as your captain In temptation’s hour; Let His will enfold you In its light and pow’r.” Amen. (LSB 512:5)