Mark 12:11

this corner-stone has come from the Lord, and is marvelous in our eyes.’”


left to our own devices
there would be no new
basic building blocks

reuse of old brinks
chipped and dinged
will lead askew

smaller and smaller
buildings will result
until poof we’re gone

fortunately there are
new-to-us reorientations
just under our old fears


“This” is a culmination of a whole series of references Mark has made in re-mythologizing the Hebrew background of Jesus. Sabin190 explains:

It makes a difference to one’s reading if one sees Mark’s scriptural references as a connected exegesis. Linking them, one sees that Mark has constructed a midrashic lexicon of passages that give image to this Jewish hope. He describes Jesus entering Jerusalem like Zechariah’s peacemaking king and cleansing the Temple like Simon Maccabeus. He dramatizes Jesus reenacting the Genesis curse on the fig tree and then telling his disciples that faith and prayer will reverse it. In a later chapter he quotes Jesus promising that indeed, the fig tree will bloom again. He complements the parable of the Vineyard in which the landlord is away with the parable of the Householder who comes home from his trip. From Scripture to Scripture, and from image to image, Mark takes his readers on an exegetical journey that reinterprets the recent disaster in Jerusalem in the light of the biblical experience of God’s will to restore all things.

As we look at church history we know that seeing a will to “restore all things” is not universal among those who claim to follow Jesus. There are many who would prefer to link another series of scripture references together in the next chapter to see a will to destroy all that is to set up a new and purer system with a limited number of people incorporated into that—only those who hew to this vision.

That history includes the current day where debates still continue about restitution or institution, partnership or hierarchy.

In Mark’s community this parable as well as Chapter 13 and the loss of the Temple all appear to have been predicted by a foreknowing Jesus. Everything after Jericho can be seen as an accurate anticipation of suffering and death that was all around them—the destruction of the Temple, the scattering of religious leaders away from Jerusalem, the overwhelming destructive response of Rome, and the world, in general, falling apart around them.

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