Renters of a Vineyard
33Jesus told the chief priests and leaders to listen to this story:
A land owner once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he rented out his vineyard and left the country.
34When it was harvest time, the owner sent some servants to get his share of the grapes. 35But the renters grabbed those servants. They beat up one, killed one, and stoned one of them to death. 36He then sent more servants than he did the first time. But the renters treated them in the same way.
37Finally, the owner sent his own son to the renters, because he thought they would respect him. 38But when they saw the man’s son, they said, “Someday he will own the vineyard. Let’s kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves.” 39So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40Jesus asked, “When the owner of that vineyard comes, what do you suppose he will do to those renters?”
41The chief priests and leaders answered, “He will kill them in some horrible way. Then he will rent out his vineyard to people who will give him his share of grapes at harvest time.”
42Jesus replied, “You surely know that the Scriptures say,
`The stone that the builders
is now the most important
stone of all.
This is something
the Lord has done,
and it is amazing to us.’
43I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands. 44Anyone who stumbles over this stone will be crushed, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces.” 45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these stories, they knew that Jesus was talking about them. 46So they looked for a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid to, because the people thought he was a prophet.
So this is the inside story on what had happened to the vineyard. How the grapes that should be so sweet have become so sour.
The owner thought he could trust the tenants. He gave them clear instructions on what to do, how to keep the ground fertile, he left all the equipment that was needed, and left them to care and tend. Yet when he sent his people to go to see the progress and collect the harvest, they were beaten and killed – each and every one of them – even the son.
God has left us in charge of the world. We are charged with caring for the whole of creation. How good a job have we done? How have we responded when he has come to look?
Jesus was the most important thing that had happened in the history of the world. He was the key to getting it on the right track again. Yet he was rejected by those he came to save, tossed aside. They missed what he was bringing to them. They were too busy trying to make things happen the way they wanted it to, and missed the way of Jesus, the way he offered to them too.
The ordinary people had realised what Jesus was about, but the “powers that be” were having none of it. They didn’t realise that without what Jesus brought, they could build nothing.
Do we sometimes miss the obvious? Do we easily dismiss the one thing or person who may be the most important? Are we missing what God wants to do, because we are driving our own agenda?
God has sent his son to the vineyard. Will reject him and his ways, or welcome him and follow his ways?
sometimes I fail
in the task you have set me.
I do not tend for the world,
my friends – and those I would not call friends,
as you ask me to.
May I not be so quick to judge,
to decide who and what is important.
May I not fail to see you –
and what you are doing.