Jesus had spoken many parables. Parables were short, earthly stories with heavenly meanings. Usually they were truths about the mystery and grandeur of God's kingdom.
This parable was a bit different.
1 Jesus said, "A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed."
6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
9 “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (Mark 12)
Did you catch it? Did you grasp the meaning of this parable?
The vineyard owner is God the Father. He gave his vineyard -- the earth. His tenants -- the people of Israel. God tried to connect with the Israelites through his servants. These were prophets in the Old Testament. Prophets were ridiculed, beaten, and arrested. Finally, God sent his Son to the tenants. Instead of listening to his Son, they killed him. Their warped way of thinking concluded that if they killed the Son, they'd become the heirs.
That Son? He was none other than the one telling the parable. Jesus himself.
This parable is a warning for all who reject the kingdom of God. Strictly speaking it was a warning for the Pharisees. Look at verse 9 again: "What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others."
The Pharisees would do well to repent. To ask the owner for forgiveness in rejecting his ways. To ask the owner to be merciful.
That's not how the Pharisees responded.
12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.
In other words, they began to fulfill Jesus' prophecy. They looked all that much harder for a way to arrest him and kill him. They heard Jesus' reprimand for their plot to kill him and they didn't even flinch.
I hope you flinch.
I certainly did.
There are plenty of times when I have acted just like those tenants. I think I am in charge. I think I own everything that's mine. I don't listen to what the real owner of my life has to say.
Ever thought similarly?
We need to heed the warning. We need to be unlike the Pharisees.
Sure the temptation is there to just ignore this devotion. To pretend that God's Word isn't talking to you. To continue to reject Jesus as Savior.
But then, we'd be fulfilling Jesus' prophecy!
Instead, turn to God for forgiveness. He is a loving God. That's why he allowed the Pharisees to eventually accomplish their plot. He allowed them to kill Jesus, because in being killed, Jesus suffered for your sins. Now the Owner of Everything promises you a new vineyard. One in which the vines last forever and the fruit is eternal joy and happiness.
Come and taste this fruit.
Come and trust in your Savior.
Come and serve in the vineyard.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, please forgive me for any attitude of mine that has rejected your authority. Forgive me for not looking to you as in control. Forgive me for the sake of your Son, my Lord, whom you sent to earth to suffer and die. By his suffering, I am forgiven. I trust in that. Help me Lord to remain firm in that trust until I taste the eternal fruit of your love. Amen.