Mark 12:6

He had still one son, who was very dear to him; and him he sent to them last of all. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.


when no hired gun is left for hire
to collect a pound of grapes for wine
it is time to have an unpaid relative
enter the fray without changing plans

at this point we are well past
respect as a category and into feud
sides have been drawn honesty lost
no one is left above the fight

authority comes from no external source
strong arms and privileged position
long ago lost their effectiveness
there will be some other way tried


The beloved one, ἀγαπητός (agapētos), has been present before at both baptism (1:11) and transfiguration (9:7). In Mark’s circling around and enclosing one story within another, we are to understand that this is some sending of Jesus for a resetting of relationships.

This is a different resetting if we are to think about a hierarchy of landowner to tenant, of G*D to human, rather than a reestablished relationship of partnered images.

It is intriguing to consider that this last option was sent for one purpose and decided to shift orientation. This becomes an option when considering an expectation of success by the landowner and an understanding of the beloved to be entering into sacrifice and death. Does the honor or respect then come back to the landowner through the intermediary “son” (resetting the hierarchy) or to the “child” on their own (resetting a new “beloved” community physically and socially healed)?

This same sort of choice comes with the stated intention of honor or respect. ἐντρέπω (entrepō, in the active means “to make ashamed” and in the passive “to be put to shame”, but here is to be seen as “have regard for”). Is a reset community to live out of shame or honor? These ancient categories continue to be present in current mythologies (of course we won’t call them such for several generations).

Sometimes we would prefer to have a strict analogy to take such choices away from us. As it stands, this and every parable brings waves of uncertainty and variation to the fore. Are we seeing what is there or a preconception of what is there? Are we viewing this from our past experience or future hope? Are we stuck in the present?

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