Caught in Their Own Trap

18 February 2018 AM – Mark 11:27-12:12 – Mr17 – Scott Childs

Introduction: We have an interesting audio story about a wolf trapper who carelessly got caught in his own trap. That mistake nearly took his life. A similar thing happened to the enemies of Jesus when they tried to trap Him with His words.

Transition: This morning I want to show you several principles that we can learn from this event in Jesus’ life.

1.        The Enemies’ Trap (11:27-28)
a.         The religious leaders gathered (11:27)
1)         The chief priests, the Scribes, and the elders.
2)         Pulpit Commentary states that the chief priests were heads of the twenty-four classes; scribes, the theologians or authorized interpreters of Scripture; and the elders or heads of the principal families.
3)         These were the top religious men of Jesus’ day. They hated Jesus. His entering Jerusalem as the Messiah and cleansing of the Temple made them angry. Their question for Jesus was not sincere. It was a trap. They wanted to discredit Jesus.
b.         They asked Jesus to identify His authority
1)         Their question has two branches to it (11:28).
a)         Jesus had ignored their authority when He would not stop people from honouring Him.
b)         He also ignored their authority over the Temple when He cleaned it.
2)         Perhaps they hoped Jesus would have no answer so they could discredit Him.
3)         If He claimed His own authority, they would accuse him of self-exaltation.
4)         Jesus knew their hearts. He knew this was a trap. They did not fool Him.
O  This is another reminder to us that the Lord knows our thoughts and our motives. We may be able to fool some people some of the time, but we can never fool God. (Psalms 139:2-3) “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.”

2.        Caught in Their Own Trap (11:29-33)
a.         Jesus agreed to answer their question if they would answer His first
1)         Why did Jesus bring up John the Baptist? He had been dead for some time. Their rejection of Christ began with their rejection of John the Baptist. John had told them that Jesus was the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. This they rejected.
2)         Jesus thus asked them to identify John’s authority. Did he get it from heaven or from men?
3)         If they would answer this question, Jesus would answer theirs.
b.         The leaders could not answer
1)         They quickly held a private counsel. They realized that they had been caught in their own trap (11:31-32).
2)         Either response would cause them great harm.
a)         If they admitted that John got his authority from heaven, they were admitting that they had rejected God’s prophet.
b)         If they claimed John had only human authority and was not a prophet, they feared the people would attack them because the people knew John was a prophet from God.
3)         They had to say that they did not know the answer.
4)         To this, Jesus said he would not answer their question.
O  “God does not teach us new truth if we have rejected the truth He has already revealed.” Wiersbe That applies to Christians as well. You will not find God’s will for your life until you are willing to do what you already know God wants you to do. God will not give you more understanding of the Bible until you apply what you already have learned.

3.        Jesus’ Parable and Application (12:1-12)
a.         A man planted a vineyard
1)         Grapes grow well in Israel and are a major crop of that land.
2)         Building a vineyard took time and work.
a)         He planted all the grape shoots
b)         He build a hedge or fence around the vineyard to keep out animals and thieves
c)         He dug a winefat. Fred Wight in his book Manners and Customs in Bible Lands describes the winefat. “Those seen today are composed of two depressions hewn out of solid rock. The one is higher than the other one, and is also larger. The grapes are put into this one, and then trodden by the feet of men, women, and also children, usually whole families working together. The juice flows into the lower depression.”
d)         He built a tower. This was where the workers stayed during harvest to watch over and guard the vineyard.
3)         The lord or owner of the vineyard then hired husbandmen or tenant farmers or renters to work the vineyard and he went into a far country.
4)         When it was harvest time, he sent to the tenant farmers requesting his portion of the harvest.
a)         That was part of the deal. They had to pay for the rent of the vineyard.
b)         Some commentators claim that the owner must receive some of the produce from the property in order to retain his ownership. Wiersbe Perhaps, that is why the tenant farmers acted as they did.
b.         The tenant farmers rejected his authority
1)         They caught and beat the first servant (12:3).
2)         Other servants they beat, wounded, or killed (12:4-5)
3)         The lord of the vineyard then sent his son who should have been respected (12:6)
4)         Instead, they killed him hoping to gain for themselves the inheritance of the vineyard (12:7-8).
5)         Jesus then asked the religious leaders who had tried to trap him what the lord of the vineyard would do to those murderers.
6)         The answer is obvious; he will destroy those wicked tenant farmers and rent his vineyard out to someone else.
c.          Jesus applied the Scriptures
1)         Up to this point, the religious enemies of Jesus may not have understood the meaning of the parable, but they soon would.
2)         Jesus then asked them if they had not read this Scripture. Then he quoted (Psalms 118:22-23) “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.”
a)         The Jews all knew that passage described the Messiah. By quoting this, Jesus was in a sense answering their question about His authority.
b)         Bob Utley states, “In rabbinic writing this term referred to the scribes. The comments Jesus added are recorded in Matt. 21:43-44. Notice here the builders are condemned for missing the most important truth: Jesus is the promised Messiah.”
3)         Suddenly, the light came on in the minds of Jesus’ enemies. His parable was about them. God was the Lord of the vineyard. The vineyard was His kingdom. They, the Jewish leaders, were the tenant farmers. They had rejected many prophets including John the Baptist and now they plotted to kill Jesus, the Son of God. All who reject Jesus will be destroyed.
4)         They longed to lay hold of Jesus but they feared the crowds and walked away (12:12).
Conclusion: The religious enemies of Jesus were caught in their own trap. In the end, they were shamed and condemned for rejecting Jesus. The Lord knew all about them.

The Lord knows all about your life, even about your thoughts and motives. Each of us will give account to Him. If you are not growing spiritually, could it be that you are not responding properly to the truth God has already given you? If you have not yet received Christ as your Saviour from hell, you have rejected Him. Now is the time to place your faith in Christ so you won’t be condemned to eternal hell.

Song: His Way with Thee – 367  Have You Any Room – 241