MUSINGS – November 16, 2018
Then, using this illustration, Jesus spoke to them (the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders*). He said, “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, made a vat for the winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to vineyard workers and went on a trip. “At the right time he sent a servant to the workers to collect from them a share of the grapes from the vineyard. The workers took the servant, beat him, and sent him back with nothing. So the man sent another servant to them. They hit the servant on the head and treated him shamefully. The man sent another, and they killed that servant. Then he sent many other servants. Some of these they beat, and others they killed. “He had one more person to send. That person was his son, whom he loved. Finally, he sent his son to them. He thought, ‘They will respect my son.’ “But those workers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. “What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the workers and give the vineyard to others. Have you never read the Scripture passage: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this, and it is amazing for us to see’?” They wanted to arrest him but were afraid of the crowd. They knew that he had directed this illustration at them. So they left him alone and went away.
These were learned men who were familiar with the scriptures. When Jesus began his illustration with, “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it,” the immediately knew that the planter was God and the vineyard was Israel.* They knew that the servants were the prophets of the LORD. And they knew that Jesus was claiming to be the son in this story. Which meant he was claiming to be the son of God. They also knew that Jesus was casting them in the role of the murderous renters (the priests could not own any land.***)
They were very angry with Jesus for casting them in the role of the villains. But they were enraged by his claim to be the rightful owner of the land, the Messiah, the anointed King of Israel. And it was, in their eyes, blasphemy for him to lay claim to be the son of God. And it would have been blasphemy if it were not true. And the crime of blasphemy carried the punishment of death.****
Jesus left them only two choices: believe he was who he claimed to be or kill him.
Each of us must also choose: believe it deny. Your choice.
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