Youth Bible Study – The Parable of the Tenants (Mark 12:1-12)

Youth Bible Study – The Parable of the Tenants (Mark 12:1-12)

Opening Activity: Spoons

You will need: a standard deck of cards (no jokers), spoons (one fewer than there are players), suitable for 3 to 13 players. Arrange the spoons in a small circle in the centre of the table and deal four cards to each player. Each player tries to make four of a kind. The dealer takes a card off the top of the deck to have five cards in his hand, removes one and passes it facedown to the left. Each player discards to the person on his left. The last player places his discard into a trash pile. Cards are picked up and passed quickly around the table until someone gets four of a kind and takes a spoon from the centre. Once the player with four of a kind takes a spoon, anyone can take a spoon. The player left without a spoon is out of the game. If at any time the draw cards run out, pause to reshuffle the trash pile and keep going. The winner is the last player remaining.

The player who reaches four of a kind first has a variety of ways he can take the first spoon. A sneaky pull exposes those paying too close attention to their cards. A demonstrative grab leads to a wild free-for-all.

Bible Study

In the previous chapter of Mark we accompany Jesus as he rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. We see him curse a fig tree, which was a symbol of Jewish spiritual leadership, and watch on as an angry Jesus clears the temple of money lenders. Clearly irked, the religious leaders challenge Jesus about where he gets his authority from to say and do these things. Read Mark 12:1-12 together.

As a group list the characters in the parable and their role in the unfolding drama.

What do you think motivated the tenants to behave in the way they did?
What will the vineyard owner do when he returns?
If you were the owner how would you have dealt with the situation?
If the owner symbolises God what does it reveal about him?
What do you think was Jesus’ motive in telling this parable?
With this parable Jesus provokes the religious leaders further. He challenges them to remember that they get their power from God and they have abused their responsibility to nurture God’s people.

Taking It Forward

Who are the people who have power over you?
Who do you think are the most powerful people in the country and in the world?
How do they use their power? Who uses their power well and not so well?
What power do you have and what influence do you have?
Encourage the young people to research a topic, issue or campaign during the week that they feel strongly about. This could be about local youth facilities, animal rights, or the country’s response to migrants. Maybe they could sign a petition or write a letter to their local MP about changes they would like to see. You can find information about your local member of parliament at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/.

Alternatively encourage the group to agree ways in which they can change the world together with small random acts of kindness. Shift has a range of books that give ideas and suggestions: ‘Change the World for a Fiver’, ‘Change the World 9 to 5’, and ‘Teach Your Granny to Text and Other Ways to Change the World’ are all available to order online

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