Everlasting Lord, Your love is beyond my comprehension and Your care beyond my understanding. I come before You.
Consider: Reflect on what it means to you to be a branch in the true vine, Jesus (John 15:1-4).
Jesus' hearers would immediately have connected his parable with Isaiah 5:1-7. They may have warmed to the story as they recalled the love of God for Israel and his care for them--but then Jesus developed the story in a different way. He introduced tenants to the vineyard who are hostile to the owner. The vineyard remains as a picture of Israel, but now the focus is on how the tenants treat the servants and son of the owner. It becomes both an indictment of the leaders of Israel and an immediate prophecy of how they will treat Jesus. Whereas Isaiah complained of a lack of social justice, the rejection of the Son is the sin of the parable. Today we often condemn those who mistreat other people, but we fail to see the great sin of rejecting Jesus.
For Isaiah the vineyard was going to be destroyed, but Jesus has a more hopeful picture for the vineyard, if not for the tenants. God's people are going to continue, but under new management. Bringing Psalm 118:22-23 into the picture, Jesus speaks of restoration and rejoicing for the people of God. The murdered son has become the rejected stone, but one that is resurrected to become the capstone. It is not the new tenants but the stone that is the final focus. The tenants' fruit will be through their relationship with that stone. The new people of God include those who are not part of ethnic Israel, but not all Jewish people are excluded; exclusion from the final picture is for those who reject the Savior.
The Jewish leaders saw the meaning of the parable for them. For us it is a challenge to be fruitful tenants who listen to the word of the servants and the Son of the Lord and deny him nothing that belongs to him.
Apply: This parable is full of depth, sorrow and power. See if you can see these qualities for yourself.
Lord, sharpen my mind, quicken my hearing, clear my vision. I want to hear Your word to me and eagerly obey it.
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