What does it say?
Jesus tells a rather long story of a wedding feast that a king made for his son. The invited guests shamefully reject the invitation and even kill the messengers. The king opens the wedding to all, deeming those originally invited as unworthy. The Pharisees try and fail to trap Jesus by asking him about the controversial tax to Caesar. Next, the Sadducees, professional theologians, also try to catch Jesus by asking a complex question about a technicality of the Law. Jesus shuts them down. Again the Pharisees try and fail to trip Jesus up. Then Jesus asks the Pharisees a question and leaves them speechless.
Mark 12 records the parable of the vineyard that concludes with Jesus quoting Psalm 118:22 about the builders rejecting the stone that become the cornerstone. Following this is Mark’s account of the Pharisees and Sadducees trying to catch Jesus in his words and Jesus not only eluding their traps, but instead traps them. Jesus warns the people of the scribes who use their position for their personal agendas. He then contrasts their personal greed with the story of the widow that gave all she had to the temple treasury.
What does it mean?
The parable of the wedding feast illustrates that the day has come when God will no longer repeatedly invite those who mock and shame him, but will make the invitation as inclusive as possible to all. Even at that, the guest not properly dressed (Mat 22:11-14) shows that transformation by faith is an absolute requirement for entrance into the kingdom. Salvation is not God winking at sin and calling it good; it is God becoming man and dying in our place to pay the demand of sin. That work of grace must be activated by faith.
The debate between Jesus and the religious leaders shows how one can be totally committed to scriptural truth and yet totally misunderstand what it means. Paul will later say that the letter of the law kills, but the spirit of the law gives life. The religious leaders of Israel were faithful in service and study, but they were heretics in heart and atheists in practice, bowing to the god of pride and personal gain.
How will I respond?
Am I more fascinated by the details and depth of scripture or by the Person of Jesus Christ? The Bible IS amazing in its depth, but though I stand in awe of scripture, I worship God alone. I commit to continue my reading and study of scripture, but I also commit to make sure that my understanding of the Bible is always in submission to God’s Spirit.