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Mark For Everyone

MARK 12.1–12
The Parable of the Tenants...

...Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice is normally listed as a comedy. The main characters all end up with their problems resolved. But the last two or three times I have seen the play I have come away feeling that it is after all a tragedy.

Shylock, the rich Jew, is portrayed to begin with as a villain, the others sneering at him in the typical way of an older European anti-Semitism. Gradually, however, we discover his real feelings, the depth of his personal sorrows. Though Shakespeare keeps us in two minds, we find ourselves increasingly sympathizing with him, rather than with the shallow and trivial ‘heroes’. By the end, Shylock has been defeated, forcibly converted to Christianity – though the main characters show little evidence of authentic Christian character – and the happy party continues as though he didn’t matter. I think it is, after all, a tragedy in disguise.

The first main parable Jesus told in Mark’s gospel, back in chapter 4, was a longish story about different seeds falling into different soils. It had an equally long explanation: this seed refers to this sort of people, that to that sort, and so on. It was a story which went through various stages of failure and finally arrived at success. One lot of seed failed, and another, and another, but at last there was a harvest. It was, essentially, a comedy...

Taken from Mark for Everyone by Tom Wright

Publisher: SPCK - view more
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