Rev Michael Anokye: LENT – 21ST MARCH 2024



Dear Heavenly Father, we ask for your help in staying faithful. Please guide us in keeping our promises, being honest, and caring for others. Help us to stand firm during difficult times and keep us away from anything that could harm us. Always remind us of your kindness and goodness. Let us feel your compassion and love as we strive to do the right thing. Thank you for always being there for us. Amen.

Reading – MARK 12:1-17: read it HERE

Jesus used a parable about a man who planted a vineyard, rented it to farmers, and sent a servant to collect produce. The farmers beat the servant and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them, and they beat this man on the head and mistreated him. He dispatched another, which they killed. He despatched several more; some were beaten, while others were killed. “He had one left to send, a son whom he loved. He sent him last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So, they took him killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.

“So, what will the vineyard owner do? He will come and destroy those renters, leaving the vineyard to others. Have you read this verse from Scripture: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes”? The top priests, teachers of the law, and elders then sought a means to arrest Jesus since they knew he had used the parable to accuse them. But they were terrified of the mob and left him.

Later, the Pharisees and Herodians tried to trap Jesus by asking if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus, aware of their intentions, asked whose image was on the coin. When they said, “Caesar’s,” he replied, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” The people were amazed.


Mark 12:1-12 is a parable about a man who plants a vineyard and leases it to tenants. The description of the vineyard’s establishment signifies a significant financial investment and commitment from the landowner, putting him at financial risk and the caretakers’ integrity at stake.

The Bible stories about the unfaithful vineyard in Isaiah and Jesus’ parable of the tenants both highlight the unfaithfulness and dangerous actions of those who were expected to be faithful to their masters but did not. In the story of the unfaithful vineyard in Isaiah, Israel did not reciprocate God’s love and generosity. Similarly, the parable of the tenants, the landowner’s representatives, were not only wicked but planned to kill the landowner’s beloved son.

There is an evident rise in ill-treatment, including beating, beating on the head, and murder (an enslaved person, another enslaved person, many others, and a cherished son). The landowner’s optimism is heartfelt, empathetic, and unrealistic. Only God can be generous and bear the pain of those He created. The tenants are now not just evil but also irrational.

The fundamental issue in the story is not about the “others who were mistreated” but rather the tenants’ failure to respond truthfully to their tenant obligation or agreement. Christians can disrespect Jesus, the Cornerstone, by not adhering to his teachings and beliefs.

Mark 12:13-17 tells the story of an incident involving the Pharisees and the Herodians trying to trap Jesus by asking him whether it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. They start by giving insincere compliments to Jesus before posing the tricky question. The coin was presented to Jesus, and he was asked, “Whose image and inscription are these?” Jesus replied, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” This response amazed the questioners, as Jesus had evaded their trap. This led to further contemplation by everyone in the audience about the meaning of Jesus’ answer. This was a poll tax, a flat fee assessed per person. It was a loathsome reminder that Judea was subjugated to Rome. Jesus faced a dilemma: a negative response would cast him as a rebellious enemy of Rome. In contrast, a positive response would undermine his popularity with the people, who generally detested paying the tax.

Jesus’ response acknowledges but severely limits what is owed to Caesar. He implies that the detestable coin with its idolatrous inscription is the total of “the things that are Caesar’s.” Therefore, what is to be given back to Caesar are strictly artificial objects. However, what is to be given to God is a wide-open question demanding our reflection this morning.

Reflect on the following:

Examine your life to see which area you can dedicate to God today.

What can you offer to God for all He has done for you?

Is your way of life similar to the unfaithful tenants who claimed to be faithful to their lords but were not?

Jesus wants us to give to God what is God’s, which is holy and acceptable.

Let us Pray:

Lord, please help me see Your faithfulness clearly and empower me to stand firm. Remove the effects of betrayal and sin from my life towards you and others. Remove the fear of betrayal and help me be faithful in everything. I give You my entire life and commit to being faithful in my thoughts, words, and actions. Father, I pray for the grace to be faithful in all things. I give you my entire life and existence. I choose what you like and reject what you don’t like. I will be devoted to you in my thoughts, words, and actions. Amen.

Our Lockdown Choir from four years ago

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