Mark 12:7

But those tenants said to one another ‘Here is the heir! Come, let us kill him, and his inheritance will be ours.’

finally it comes
a last resort
a show down

stakes are high
on both sides
negotiation fails

how can they not accede
how can we stop now
hearts hardened

in a pattern well attested
power repeats
repetitive failure

By this time in the parable, everyone in the crowd as well as the chief priest (land owners through their position with the Romans), legal experts, and elders knew this parable was about these religious leaders. They were no longer representatives of the “landowner” but were reduced to tenants of a larger land owner/occupier than Rome—G*D.

Did you hear the increased suppressed laughter that has been building as the discomfort of the religious leaders increases.

We are now at the third step of a pseudo-fairy tale where the impasse is about to break open and the guilty have acted for a third time and are about to meet their comeuppance. The crowd is jostling from foot to foot in anticipation that those who have held them down for so long will find the table turned. There may even be those who joined in the Hosanna of several days ago who are feeling that rise in them again.

Over against this sense of jubilation, of a beginning of a long-awaited rebellion, there is an echo of suffering and death in the word kill. For most, though, this is an anticipation of a clear-cut confrontation and overthrow of the principalities and powers that had ruled so strongly for so long.

In moving through this extended insult to the powers that be, careful Readers are caught between simply following this story and finding awkward comparisons with their current lived reality. Would they have the courage to beard their lion in its own den? Would they risk more than some deniable encouragement of those more willing to participate in direct action?

That mere thought of “kill” can be oh so casual. It can be as mindless as habitual swearing. It can mean no more than a rote repetition of “I love you”. It can be gruesome and intend eternal misery beginning with torture in the present…with simply the thought we are back with Cain and our concern to be ranked number one.

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