Mark 12:1-12

Jesus tells a story about a garden

1 Then Jesus began to speak again to the important Jews. He told them stories. He said, ‘There was a man who made a garden. He planted vines to grow grapes there. He built a wall round the garden. He dug a hole in the ground where he could make the grapes into wine. He also built a tall building to watch over the garden. He found some farmers who would work in the garden for him. Then he went away to another country.

12:1From a tall building, someone could watch for any animals or bad people who were coming to the garden.
12:1In this story, the man was like God. The garden was like Israel, and the farmers were like the leaders in Israel.

2 The time to cut off the grapes arrived. The man sent a servant to speak to the farmers. He wanted them to give him some fruit from the garden. 3 But the farmers took hold of the servant and they hit him with sticks. They sent him away with nothing. 4 So the man sent another servant to the farmers. They also hit this servant on the head, and they did other bad things to him. 5 The man then sent another servant, but the farmers killed this servant. He sent many other servants to them. The farmers hit some of these servants with sticks, and they killed other servants.

12:2The servants that the master sent to the field were like the prophets.

6 The man had only one person that he could still send. This was his own son, and the man loved him very much. So, last of all, he sent his son to the farmers. He thought, “The farmers will surely respect my son.”

12:6The master's son was like Jesus.

7 But those farmers said to each other, “This is the son of our master. The garden will belong to him when his father dies. We should kill the son and then the garden will be ours.” 8 So, the farmers took the son and they killed him. Then they threw his dead body out of the garden.’

12:8The farmers were cruel to the man's servants because the farmers did not want to obey the man. They killed his son for the same reason. They are like people who do not want to obey God. God may give them many chances to change their minds. But if they do not obey God, he will certainly punish them in the end.

9 Jesus went on to ask, ‘What will the master of the garden do then? I tell you, he will come and he will kill those farmers. Then he will give the garden to other people to work in. 10 I am sure that you have read these words in the Bible:

12:10See Psalm 118:22-23.

“The builders refused to use a certain stone. 

12:10The stone is like Jesus. The leaders did not think that he was important. But God decided that Jesus was important. In the end, he will rule over everybody and over everything.

They thought that it had no value.

But now that stone has become the most important stone at the corner of the building.

11 The Lord God did this.

And we can see that he did something great.” ’

12 The Jewish leaders knew that Jesus had told this story about them. They were the bad farmers in the story. So they wanted to take hold of Jesus. But they were afraid of the crowd. So, they left him and they went away.