Today's verses are Mark 12:7,8: "But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir.  Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'  And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard." Jesus was telling a story about a vineyard, equating it with Israel, a very familiar image in the Old Testament (Isa. 5:1-5).  The owner leased it to tenants, then went away.  He built towers and fences to protect it.  The vineyard was primed for fruitfulness.

When the time came to collect his due from the fruit the vineyard produced, the owner sent a servant to the tenants.  He was beaten and sent home empty-handed.  Then the owner sent others who were similarly beaten and a few even killed.  These people represent the prophets of God, sent by him to Israel to recall them to fruitfulness.  But they beat and killed some of them too.

Finally, the owner sends his own, only son.  But the tenants thought that if they killed him the inheritance of the vineyard would be theirs.  Perhaps they thought the son's coming signaled the owner had died!  Obviously, the son in the story is Jesus, God's only Son, sent to Israel to call them to repentance, faithfulness and fruitfulness.  But they killed him too and cast him out of the vineyard.

Which begs the question: who killed Jesus?  Was it the religious officials?  Was it the Romans who finally had to agree to his death?  Was it the angry shouts of, "Crucify him!" from the people and the mobs.

We must always remember that Jesus killed Jesus.  When he chose to leave heaven and be incarnated in a babe in Bethlehem, Jesus knew the cross was his destiny.  When the Father said to the Son, Jesus, "Go to my vineyard Israel, and call them to faithfulness," Jesus knew they would reject him and he would die on the cross.  He knew the destiny awaiting him.  Jesus chose the cross.

Why?  Because of his extraordinary love for you and me.  He came from the splendor of heaven to the squalor of earth because he loves us.  He came to die so we could have eternal life.

Who killed Jesus?  Jesus killed Jesus.  He died by his sovereign choice.  He died because of sovereign grace.  He died for you and me, so that we could enter heaven and have an eternal relationship with him.

His love for us is that profound, amazing and wonderful! All praise, honor and glory to him, our living King!