Thursday, March 22, 2007



He went on to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.

"Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.' "But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. 'This is the heir,' they said. 'Let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

"What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others." 
When the people heard this, they said, "God forbid!"

Jesus looked directly at them and asked, "Then what is the meaning of that which is written: "'The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but anyone on whom it falls will be crushed."

The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

This parable tracks with the history of the Jewish reaction to God’s blessings. The owner of the vineyard is God who gave His blessings for the Jewish people to manage. Yet every representative He sent to them, they turned on them, persecuted and some they even killed. These were the Judges and Prophets.

Then God, the owner, sent His own Son. They did the same thing to Him, too. Then, as the story goes, the owner went to the field to throw out the tenants and kill them. And after this, He gave the vineyard to others. In other words, this parable tells the entire history of the children of Israel in relationship to their God—Jehovah.

Do you remember some earlier words from Luke that fit this same situation? "Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. Because of this, God in his wisdom said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.' Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, (Luke 11:47-50)

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. (Luke 13:34)

When Jesus told them what the Son would do to the tenants, they protested, “God forbid.” Jesus then looked intently at them and asked them about a familiar Scripture: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but anyone on whom it falls will be crushed."

One of the commonly known symbols of the Messiah throughout the Prophets was a stone. Here Jesus is saying that stone (Him) was rejected and now has become the cornerstone.

NOTE there are two ways you can relate to the stone (the Messiah):

FIRST—If you fall on the stone, you will be broken to pieces. I think this is coming to the point of a complete trust in Jesus, throwing yourself on the stone in humility. We’ve been saying that you really don’t break the commandments, but you are broken by them.

SECOND—If you rebel against the stone and resist His direction and blessings, then that same stone will crush you.

The same is true for us today. You can humbly put your trust in Jesus and allow Him to do as He wills with you. Or, you can pridefully try to run your life on your own, rejecting the Messiah (stone) and the stone will crush you.

It just doesn’t make any sense. God, the owner of everything you are and have is the owner of your vineyard. He is the one who wrote out your DNA, miraculously setting your life in motion. And all He wants from you, the manager of His vineyard (your life), is for you to share the fruit of the vineyard you manage with Him for His use. Well, what will it be? DEAL OR NO DEAL?



Jesus has just stirred up the anger of the Temple leadership by putting the money-changers out of business for a short time, calling them a den of thieves. Those leaders are out to kill Him and now they confront Him with a question:

One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. "Tell us by what authority you are doing these things," they said. "Who gave you this authority?" He replied, "I will also ask you a question. Tell me, John's baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin?"

They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Why didn't you believe him?' But if we say, 'Of human origin,' all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet." So they answered, "We don't know where it was from." Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."

Jesus answers their question with a question of His own that put them in a very difficult spot. Again it’s clear that the leaders, not the people, are the problem. They aren’t discussing whether or not Jesus is of the truth, but politically, “How shall we answer this so that we don’t get put into a bad light with our following?”

The basic problem is that the leaders refused to even be open to the fact that Jesus has obviously been sent by God. The people DO believe that He is, at least, someone very special—a prophet status, maybe. But the leaders can’t even allow themselves to open that door of possibility.

Jesus has made the blind see, healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, made the lame to walk and preached the good news to the poor, precisely as the Messiah was to do. His miracles alone were enough to raise the question of Messiahship. BUT if Jesus is from God, then those who claim to be of God will also be put out of business, unless they humble themselves and receive Him as the Messiah.

Remember last chapter when Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem? The crowds said: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"

"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come on you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

And why will the holy city of Jerusalem be destroyed? Because the leadership did not recognize THE TIME OF GOD’S COMING. Or, as some translations call it THE TIME OF GOD’S GREAT VISITATION. God reached out to man by sending Jesus to articulate God’s message of the good news of the Kingdom. And they rejected that message and the Messenger—Jesus. Now, not only will the city be destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans who will encircle the city as He describes here, but the people will be lost and destroyed in their hearts.

This is why Jesus weeps as He approaches Jerusalem. His heart is broken because He knew what was coming upon them. NOTE this all happens because they were too prideful to recognize God’s presence in what Jesus said and did. They wanted to continue their games of life and didn’t want God to interrupt what they were doing. They wanted just enough God to acknowledge that He exists, but not to alter their ways of living.

I think we face the same kind of thing today. It’s so much easier to continue our games of life we’re playing—building our little kingdoms and stuffing our lives with stuff without allowing God’s presence in Jesus to change much of our lives at all. You see, back 2000 years ago was God’s great visitation to man here on earth. And since that time through His Spirit He continues to walk among us—to visit us daily. He is still saying, “Follow Me.” He is still doing mighty works among His people and even among those who are not yet His people. And He is still standing in our midst with a tear in His eye that most of us most of the time don’t recognize Him as the Lord of lords and the God of gods. And in that rejection we are missing out on His peace in our lives.

THINK IT OVER today as you make your way through life. Where is Jesus in your thinking, your walking, your loving and in your talking? He’s right here, but do you see Him?