Respect: Mark 12:5-8

Part of Daniel Amari's series, "Walk by Faith: insights from the Gospel of Mark"

Author: Daniel Amari/Monday, October 9, 2017/Categories: Christianity, The Bible, New Testament, Mark, Walk by Faith series Daniel Amari, Article

Respect

Mark 12:5-8

Daniel Amari

 

5 And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed.

 

·         What was the reason that the owner kept sending servants to the tenants? He wanted to have dialog with them, possibly negotiate with them. However those tenants refused to dialog, to negotiate, or to discuss.

·         some people think that conversation, negotiation, dialogs are optional. They think that their personalities is not compatible with negotiations. So they respond with anger and violence at every attempt of dialog.

·         They are not willing to listen to the opposing point of view. They treat the world as 0 or 100, as yes or no, as my way or your way. There is no middle ground.

·         It is even worse for those tenants. Some are selective when it comes to negotiations and dialog. They were willing to do it when they do not have the upper hand. But when they get the upper hand, they shut down all attempts of dialog and negotiations.

·         This is a great test for dialog and negotiation: are we willing to negotiate and discuss when we have the upper hand? One practical example is dealing with Children: are we patient enough to have discussions with our children and to listen to their point of views? Are we willing to do that even when we know that their opinions are wrong and that we are in a position of power? What are we doing to teach them to negotiate and compromise?

·         Now of course, there are elements of life about which we are not supposed to compromise. But not everything in life is without compromise. Dialog, negotiations, and discussions are healthy.

 

 

6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

 

·         The owner diagnosed the problem of these tenants: respect.

·         The logic of the owner is the following: the root cause of the behavior of these tenants is lack of respect for the owner. This is due to the journey of the owner to another country. So if he sent his son, the physical presence of his son will command respect from those tenants; and all problems will be solved.

·         Several observations about this:

o   In the mind of the owner, those who respect his son, respects him; and those who do not respect his son, do not respect him. Christ intentionally inserts this point within this story.

o   It is very interesting that Christ makes a big deal about respect. In this parable, the unhealthy relationship that the tenants had with the owner is due to their lack of respect. It is absolutely impossibly to have a healthy relationship without respect.

o   The Bible strongly teaches about the importance of respect when it comes to our relationship with God and our relationship with each other.

o   Another point is that in this parable, the owner is seeking respect. In our modern culture, the world faults those who demand respect. It is their way to avoid giving respect. The world tells us that somebody has to earn respect first. One can argue that in some relationships, those with strangers, respect must be earned. But are we using this as an excuse to avoid giving respect in relationship in which we ought to do so? The Bible places us under the obligation to respect God and his word. God is not obligated to earn our respect.

o   This goes to our relationships: respect within marriage, within family, and within country. Of course, this teaching is contrary to the essence of our modern society. Our modern society is driven by rebellion. And many who are conformed with the worldview of this world find the teachings of the Bible in this regard to be problematic. The Bible simply teaches a different worldview than the worldview of the world.

 

 7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’

·         It is very easy for us to skip to the end of the story and conclude in hindsight that the actions of those tenants are utter foolishness. But the real question is what was going on from the perspective of those tenants at this point. What were the logical motivations that drove their actions?

o   They felt that the owner was weak. Here is why:

§  They considered that the owner’s lack of quick judgement to be weakness. He did not send an army. He did not respond with violence. To them, prompt violence is strength. If one is strong, why not show it right away?

§  They considered negotiation to be a form of weakness. Those who are weak will negotiate, so they thought. They supposed that those who are strong do not resort to dialog or negotiations.

o   They did not respect the owner.

§  They did not consider the rights of the owner.

§  They associated respect with violence.

§  If the owner showed some violence or anger: a show of strength; then they would have respected the owner.

§  They did not consider patience, dialog, restraint as strength; instead they considered them to be weaknesses.

o   They saw the owner in the terms of selfish gain

§  Without respect to the owner, they saw theft and murder to be justifiable.

§  In fact, theft and murder are opportunities to be taken.

§  In their worldview, the owner is to be blamed for his weakness

·         Respect is vital for healthy relationships. It is important to respect and be respected. And it starts with respecting God. The Bible states that the chief of all wisdom is the fear of God.

 

 8 And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.

 

·         When we read this text, we are horrified. But from the perspective of the tenants, that was the ultimate victory. To them, it was the ultimate justification of the moral superiority of their worldview.

·         The phrase, “threw him out of the vineyard” is very telling. The son of the owner came to live in the vineyard. The act of throwing his dead body out of the vineyard represent the freedom from everything that the owner represented.

·         There was no remorse but celebration because of the freedom. This is not the freedom from Tyranny; for the vineyard did not belong to them. It belonged to the owner.

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 by Daniel Amari. All rights reserved.

 

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

 

 

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Daniel Amari
Daniel Amari

Daniel Amari

Researcher in Islam, Christian Apologist, TV Host, and Speaker.

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Full biography

Full biography

Researcher in Islam, Christian Apologist, TV Host, and Speaker with over 17 years of experience. Host and Co-host of Arabic scholarly apologetics TV program. President of the Religion Research Institute, an evangelical scholarly ministry dedicated to comparative religion, Islamic research, and Christian apologetics. Master of arts in New testament with focus on Biblical languages and Textual Criticism.

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