“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a tower. Then he rented it to tenant farmers and took a trip. When it was time for harvest, he sent his servants to the tenant farmers to collect his fruit. But the tenant farmers grabbed his servants. They beat some of them, and some of them they killed. Some of them they stoned to death. “Again he sent other servants, more than the first group. They treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. “But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come on, let’s kill him and we’ll have his inheritance.’ They grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. “When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenant farmers?” They said, “He will totally destroy those wicked farmers and rent the vineyard to other tenant farmers who will give him the fruit when it’s ready.” Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the scriptures, The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this, and it’s amazing in our eyes? Therefore, I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken away from you and will be given to a people who produce its fruit. Whoever falls on this stone will be crushed. And the stone will crush the person it falls on.” Now when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard the parable, they knew Jesus was talking about them. They were trying to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, who thought he was a prophet (Matthew 21:33-46, Common English Bible).
This is an interesting story. The owner of the vineyard is God. The vineyard itself represents our lives here on earth where God has already provided everything we need. Those God sent to collect were the prophets. When they were killed, God sent his Son who was also killed. There was chance after chance after chance. With each chance was a new opportunity to satisfy the debt owed God. With each opportunity, the people of the world reject what God has to offer. Finally, God sent His Son with yet another chance. It too has been rejected by the world.
Chance after chance after chance to follow what God wants us to do. There is a word for that, a word for all these chances. The word is grace and there is more grace in God than there is sin in us.
Think about it, if we were in the place of the land owner, we would probably have wiped out the tenants after they killed the first group of servants. Without question, the son would only be sent to get things straight with the authorities, not going out there and attempting to extract payment.
I can’t help but believe that for God to give so many chances it has to be because God sees something good in us, something that is worth redeeming. To think otherwise is to believe God thinks that, evil though we are, we are worth the life of Jesus. That doesn’t make sense to me.
But, the lesson also should leave us thinking something else. There is a limit to how much God will tolerate from the likes of us. They killed the servants and he sent more servants. They killed those servants and he sent his son. When they killed him too, his patience was gone and, according to the text, he destroyed them. That says to me, be careful with those chances. We never know when a chance might be our last.
What are you doing with the chances God gives to you?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved