By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
Focal Passage: Luke 20:9-19
Jesus used parables to both frustrate and to inform. This story does both. The frustration of the religious leaders has now reached a fever pitch and they are almost incessantly confronting Him, trying to find any reason to condemn Him.
In the midst of this, Jesus tells the story of a vineyard owner who leased out His vineyard to others. This man started the vineyard. It was his blood, sweat, and tears that went in to planting the vineyard.
He went away and leased the vineyard to others who would continue his work. Eventually he sends servants to collect the fruit he is owed from the labor. The wicked men refuse to pay.
They not only ignore the master’s message, but they harshly beat every servant he sends. The master then sends his own son to speak with them. They might disrespect a fellow servant, but they would doubtless respect the heir.
Under the law, the vineyard could be theirs without an heir, ownerless property could be claimed by anyone. They then kill the master’s son.
Jesus ends the parable here to ask and answer them what the master will do for this. The master will quickly come to destroy those wicked servants and give the vineyard to another.
The religious leaders are aghast. “Surely not!” they emphatically exclaim. They realize they are the wicked servants. The Father owns a vineyard that He Himself created. Israel was often referred to as a vineyard of the Lord. The people of God are His own.
Over time, He sent His prophets who were consistently rejected and disrespected by His people. In due time, He sent His own Son.
Jesus here is not only rebuking them for what they had done and were doing but also for what they would soon do. They would soon murder the Master’s Son.
None of this brought a response from them.
It wasn’t until Jesus promised the judgment that would come upon those wicked servants that the religious leaders were moved to respond. They were blind to the shame and the sin of what they had been doing, plotting and preparing to do to Jesus.
He was a threat to the influence and affluence they had come to enjoy. The wickedness of the servants did not concern them, the vengeance of the master did.
Jesus ends by looking directly at them speaking right to what they were doing. He quotes from the same Messianic Psalm the crowds cried out before Him in worship as He entered Jerusalem.
Jesus is telling them in a clear way that He was the cornerstone that, though they had already committed to rejecting Him, would become the foundation for something God Himself was building. He is not only the cornerstone but also a crushing stone. The more they rage against Him, the more they only crush themselves.
The religious leaders hear this parable clearly and seem to understand what Jesus is saying.
Still they continue in their plan to destroy Him, destroying only themselves. B&R