Jesus' most important and formative teaching often involved vegetables. Figs.

Vines.

Mustard seeds.

You can't rush growing, you can't rush seasons and soils and the ways of the world in the great outdoors. For us it's a hobby. For those closest to the culture in which Jesus lived, it was economy. The eating or not eating quotient rose and fell based on the wind and rain.

And in this, drops a parable about a man who builds a vineyard and turns it over to tenants and goes to another country (Mark 12:1-12). He sends messengers, apparently many, to pick up the profit check and the tenants treat each one to beatings or murder.

Then He sends the heir. His "beloved son" (12:6). "They will respect my son."

The sending of the Heir came because those who should have welcomed Him, regardless of how He disappointed their expectations or how they wanted to take over the inheritance of the heir, and yet they didn't.

They killed Him and "threw him out of the vineyard."

At that point, Jesus' hearers knew something was up. Who is he really talking about?

The story rolls downhill from wrath and destruction to pulling back the curtain on who the characters are.

Vineyard Owner - Yahweh, God the Covenanter Tenants - the children of Israel, caring for His creation and inheritance "Slaves" - prophets who warned Israel of how they had wandered away The Heir - Jesus

On Ash Wednesday, reflecting on this passage, I find myself frustrated because the "tenants" didn't understand anything. I also find myself frustrated that I understand nothing more than I do at my age and with my experience of God. The season of Jesus' betrayal, death, and resurrection is a time of understanding our lack of understanding or ability to develop it far beyond the limitations of our own mushy brain matter.

Let us pray today that we know the Heir well enough to know the inheritance truly comes from Him, and that we will gladly give back to Him the vineyard we've been tending until He returns.

His Kingdom.

Our heart, mind, soul and strength.

All of us.

This is the path of spiritual formation - to honestly, selflessly, and intentionally tend the vineyard.

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