What does Mark 12:2 mean?
ESV: When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.
NIV: At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.
NASB: And at the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive his share of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers.
CSB: At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them.
NLT: At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop.
KJV: And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
Verse Commentary:
The setting of this parable is easy for the original audience to relate to. Large estates, owned by absentee landlords tended to by tenant farmers, were common in that era. Galilee, full of vineyards, was configured in this way. The landowner would send a servant to collect a portion of the produce as payment for leasing the land.

"Servant" is from the Greek root word doulos, meaning "a slave, bondman, or servant." "Fruit" is from the Greek root word karpos. It can mean the edible products of a plant, but it also means the result or effect of something, as in the "fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22–23). Since intact grapes don't travel well, the story is probably referring to wine made from the grapes.

In the allegory, "servant" stands for prophet, as it does in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 7:25; Daniel 9:6, 10). The "fruit" is the devotion of the people, represented by their sacrifices, worship, and obedience to God. To gather that fruit and direct it toward God is exactly what God sent the prophets to do.

"When the season came" is an interesting phrase given the events in Mark 11. Jesus approaches a fig tree on His way to Jerusalem one morning, hoping for some breakfast. The fig tree is filled with leaves but no fruit because it is not the right season. So Jesus curses it, and by the next morning, it is withered to the roots (Mark 11:12–14, 20–25).

After the curse, but before the tree fully dies, Jesus entered the temple courtyard. Merchants and money-changers had set up booths in the Court of the Gentiles, space originally set aside for Gentiles to worship and pray to God. With the crucifixion looming, the season of God being exclusively for the Jews is coming to an end. The time of the Gentiles is coming. And so, like the fig tree that does not provide fruit when it is needed, the temple and the old covenant Judaic system must be destroyed. As a preview, Jesus tears down the vendors' tables. In another forty years or so, the Roman army will destroy Jerusalem.
Verse Context:
Mark 12:1–12 takes place days before the crucifixion, while Jesus is in the temple courtyard, teaching. Chief priests, elders, and scribes—representatives of the Sanhedrin—have demanded to know the source of Jesus' authority to cleanse the Temple (Mark 11:27–28, 15–19). After exposing their hypocrisy, Jesus tells at least three additional stories that show how God will replace falsely-pious religious leaders with sinners who truly follow Him (Matthew 21:28—22:14). The second of these three stories is recorded here, in Matthew 21:33–46, and in Luke 20:9–19.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter contains lessons taught by Jesus in various circumstances. He explains the eventual destruction of traditional Judaism, the relationship between secular and sacred obligations, the nature of the resurrection, and the most important of God's commandments. Jesus also expounds on Messianic statements in the Old Testament. Jesus also condemns the glory-seeking shallowness of the scribes, and extolls the virtues of sincere, faith-based giving.
Chapter Context:
Days before, Jesus has entered Jerusalem, hailed as a hero by the people (Mark 11:1–11). While teaching in the temple courtyard, Jesus shows superior understanding of Scripture over the chief priests, scribes, and elders (Mark 12:27–33), the Pharisees and Herodians (Mark 12:13), the Sadducees (Mark 12:18), and the scribes again (Mark 12:35, 38). Sadly, even in the instance where a scribe does understand Scripture, that is no guarantee he will follow it to its logical conclusion: Jesus (Mark 12:28–34). In contrast, a humble widow exemplifies the faithfulness and piety the leaders lack (Mark 12:41–44). Jesus leaves the temple for the last time to teach the disciples on the Mount of Olives (Mark 13). In Mark 14, He prepares for the crucifixion.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 3/1/2024 2:48:53 AM
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