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Sermon Notes

What are Parables?

Parables are made-up stories that contain a spiritual truth that is often easily missed.

Important Insight:

Your ability to understand parables is tied to your closeness to Jesus (Mark 4:10-12)

Today’s Parable

Today we will examine the Parable of the Tenants which is a story that Jesus tells so he can clarify his true authority and relationship with God the Father. Here are the main elements:

  • A Vineyard (which represents God’s People)
  • Farmers of the Vineyard (which represent the leaders of God’s People)
  • The Servants of the Owners (which are the prophets or spokesperson for God)
  • The Vineyard owner (which is God the Father)
  • The Vineyard owner’s son (which is Jesus, the Son of God)

Spiritual Truths (Hidden/Not So Hidden) in Mark 12:1-12

  1. Prophets who speak truth are often treated harshly
    1. Isaiah was placed in a sack, inside a log and then sawed in half
    1. Jeremiah was placed inside a well (and then later stoned to death)
    1. John the Baptist was beheaded.
    1. Micaiah was put in prison for sharing the truth (1 Kings 22)
  2. God’s patience with humanity is astoundingly long, but not infinite.
    • Psalm 103:8, 145:8, Numbers 14:8, Nahum 1:3, Romans 2:5
  3. Leaders of God’s people will be held accountable.
  4. Jesus is of utmost importance- he is the cornerstone.


Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When was the last time I changed my mind because of a difficult truth?
  2. Are you playing games with God’s patience?
  3. How important to you is the life and teachings of Jesus?

Additional Material: (9 Keys to Better Understanding Parables) Available in the Atrium or for download.

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Discussion Questions


  1. Pastor Rusty makes the point that in this parable God is represented as the vineyard owner and God’s people are pictured as the vineyard. What is the significance of the following facts: 1) God planted the vineyard, 2) He put a wall around the vineyard, 3) God dug a pit for the winepress, and 4) God built a watchtower in the vineyard?
  2. When the vineyard owner (God) sent servants (Christian leaders) and even His own son to the vineyard to collect what was due Him, those renting the vineyard (the Jewish leaders) mistreated them and even killed His Son, (Jesus). Does it surprise you that godly leaders are often mistreated? Why or why not?
  3. In this parable God sent many servants, and finally even His own Son to collect what was His due. Those attending the vineyard mistreated some and killed others. Why is God so patient in responding to evil?
  4. What does the fact that God ultimately sent His own Son tell us about how much He cares for us?
  5. Pastor Rusty makes the point that “God’s patience is astoundingly long, but not infinite.” How have you personally experienced God’s patience yourself?
  6. The vineyard keepers, which represent the leaders of God’s people weren’t judged immediately, but were ultimately judged. Why must ungodly leaders eventually be held accountable by a just God?
  7. In verse Mark 12:10 Jesus made the point that the stone the builders rejected was to become the cornerstone. Why is it so vital to understand that Jesus is the cornerstone on which God’s work is done?


  • When was the last time you changed your mind because of a difficult truth? What practical changes did you incorporate into your life after changing your mind?
  • Are you currently playing games with God’s patience? Make a list of any area or areas where you are doing this and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Make a list of areas in your life where you are taking Jesus’ teachings seriously.
  • Make a list of areas in your life where you are not taking Jesus’ teachings seriously and ask God to help you take them more seriously.
  • Finally, thank God for His patience with you, and ask Him to help you become a more faithful follower.