I really do love my new church. There is no underlying agenda, but to preach the Gospel and to love God, people and community. The people are so genuine. Scripture, wisdom, and truth pack the Sermons. Yesterday’s sermon was from Matthew 21:33-46 and had something for everybody, no matter where one is on their spiritual journey.
***33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.***
This portion of scripture is a stinging critique of religious leaders. The vineyard owner is powerful yet shows tremendous mercy. He should bring these people, his tenants, to justice by ousting them and/or killing them. Yet he lavishes them with ‘foolish’ mercy instead. The vineyard owner represents God and who He is. He goes to great, unbelievable lengths to show mercy. We, all of humankind are the wicked tenants, as we begin to grasp real mercy, we grasp the goodness of God which helps us release our inner Pharisee, which results in humility. Each of us is equally undeserving of God’s mercy, yet… If we are to be holy we must also show great mercy. In verse 37 the vineyard owner finally sends his son believing the tenants will react appropriately toward him due to their shame. The tenants ultimately do not honor the owner or the son. This is prophecy of the crucifixion. The vineyard owner knows death is deserved, but if recognition is given to him through the son, that will be their justification. Recognition leads to a deep humility, which leads to gratitude as we begin to understand how merciful our God.
Let me introduce, The Tenants (a better explanation:)