Mark Has Some Good News, Part 50, Fear And Loathing In The Temple Of God
The Parable of the Tenants
1 And he began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' 7 But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' 8 And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.
10 Have you not read this Scripture:
"'The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11 this was the Lord's doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes'?"
12 And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.
To be fair the fear of man has led to a fair amount of wrong in the world. We have created weapons in the defense of some men just to annihilate other men. All because of the fear of what those men might do.
Jesus had no fear of man, he and his disciples in this passage are speaking within earshot of people who can and will have them crucified for what they said. And Jesus in his grace and authority (which these men know of) preaches about their fear of man problem.
Because I don't think the Pharisees have an improper understanding of the fear of God. They would go to ridiculous extremes to avoid sinning and thereby finding themselves in the judgment of God. But they were afraid of this man Jesus.
They were afraid that the people would see this Jesus and believe that he was God and that because of that fact all their extremes would be for not because messiah had come to fix the world. They needed to stop this man so that the people would fear and respect them as men.
But in God's eyes we are not frightening, we are not fearsome, we are not something to be afraid of. And like the master who will come to destroy the tenants we will pose no resistance if found in the wrong.
And the wrong is being afraid of men and our weak attempts to be righteous and powerful on our own instead of with the master and the son he sends for our sake.