The Parting of the Ways
Lord, my desire is to expect Your gracious hand working in all things. Replace my pictures of peril with projections of Your grace.
Read Luke 20:9–19
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
On a daily basis, we need to renew our devotion to Jesus. By our thoughts and actions, we must not reject the One whom God has sent into our lives.
Jesus’ provocative ministry reaches its crescendo in this parable, which effectively seals his fate. That Israel, land and people, is like a vineyard is well-established in the prophetic writings (e.g., Isa. 5:1–10; Jer. 12:10). The meaning of this parable is pointed. Jesus is clearly conscious both that he is God’s beloved Son (13) and that he is on the verge of being cast out and killed (15). The chief priests are equally clear that the parable is told “against” them (19). The parting of the ways has come.
A church leader recently expressed the wish that Christians should be as much at home in their culture as Jesus was in his. If he was, it is hard to work out why Jesus was crucified. The fact is that Jesus did not fit. Like the stone intended to complete the arch and hold it all together (17), Jesus turned out to be the wrong shape and so was rejected. By God’s vindication, however, that same stone has been made the cornerstone—or capstone, the crucial piece of architecture on which everything else now depends. The reference is to the resurrection, which overturned any human judgment of Jesus by God’s own. Jesus anticipated this before any of it happened. He had already predicted it all (Luke 18:31–33). It was not something he tried to avoid, but rather to embrace. He knew that it was necessary and, although tragic and painful in the short term, it would be the source of an “inexpressible and glorious joy” in the long run (1 Pet. 1:8).
Thanksgiving to God for the astonishing way in which through Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, God has come to save us, is an appropriate note on which to end today.
In what ways is Jesus a “capstone” in your life? A capstone holds everything together.
“Thanks be to You, our Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which You have given [me], for all the pains and insults which You have borne for [me]” (Richard of Chichester, 1197–1253).
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