Can We Get Away with It?
Lord, I praise You that Your love for me is based on Your character, not my performance. How great You are!
Read Mark 12:1-12
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener” (John 15:1). Do you feel part of the vine, experiencing Jesus’ sustaining life and the Father’s tender care?
The meaning of Jesus’ parables was often not clear to his listeners. Many are told without explanation, and with the intent that “those on the outside” will not understand them (4:11,12). Sometimes Jesus gave private explanations to his disciples (4:10-20), but when the religious leaders heard Jesus tell this provocative story about a vineyard, they quickly realized he was talking about them. Why would that be, when they seemed slow and stubborn on other occasions?
Vineyard stories are common in the Bible. God had brought a vine out of Egypt and carefully planted it in Israel, but it turned against him and became a corrupt wild vine (Psa. 80:8; Jer. 2:21). Isaiah turns this theme into a song of rejected love, where the vineyard is the house of Israel doomed for destruction because of its unfaithfulness (Isa. 5:1-7). Jesus alludes to this, and adds details of an absent landlord and rejected servants. His listeners would have readily identified these as God and his prophets. If the story had ended there, Jesus wouldn’t have been in such trouble; this was acknowledged history.
Since their return from exile, Israel’s religious leaders had attempted to lead their nation in strict obedience to God’s laws. Recently, however, John the Baptist, then Jesus, had been calling for repentance, polarizing the nation. When he finished his parable with the treacherous scheming against a beloved son and the owner’s judgment of the murderous tenants, the message was both clear and unpalatable to his listeners. He was indirectly claiming to be the Son of God, giving them an opportunity for respect but foreseeing his rejection and death. Their willful persecution would see their anticipated inheritance given to others. His willing self-giving would see him joyfully installed as the cornerstone of a new community (Psa. 118:22,23; 1 Pet. 2:4-9).
Might you sometimes treat God’s Son with contempt or indifference, rather than the respect he deserves? If so, repent and change.
Living Lord, I can read the Scriptures and think it applies to others when the Holy Spirit is speaking to me. Give me ears to hear.
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