Reflections on Mark 11:27-12:12
Coming back to the temple adds to the tension of Jesus clearing it the previous day. It wasn’t a one-off event and there’s something larger that Jesus is trying to accomplish in the temple. As the chief priests question his authority, Jesus’ cautious use of a parable makes a point without directly accusing them of anything. It offers them a chance to change their minds about him.
The chief priests respond in a political way. Their fear of men reveals the opinion of others is more important to them than the opinion of God. If these men, who were responsible for leading the temple and God’s people, are on the side of men rather than the side of God, what hope is there for the temple under their leadership. The temple system needs to be cut off to prevent it from leading people astray. The priests are dangerously close to fulfilling the parable of the vineyard, risking destruction by the master and losing access to the vineyard’s fruit. This parable is a moment to choose differently than the tenants. What will they chose?