Holy Week - Day 3

Luke 20:9-19

9 Now Jesus turned to the people again and told them this story: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and moved to another country to live for several years. 10 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers attacked the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. 11 So the owner sent another servant, but they also insulted him, beat him up, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 A third man was sent, and they wounded him and chased him away.

13 “‘What will I do?’ the owner asked himself. ‘I know! I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.’
14 “But when the tenant farmers saw his son, they said to each other, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ 15 So they dragged him out of the vineyard and murdered him.
“What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do to them?” Jesus asked. 16 “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.”
“How terrible that such a thing should ever happen,” his listeners protested.
17 Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this Scripture mean?

‘The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.’

18 Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”
19 The teachers of religious law and the leading priests wanted to arrest Jesus immediately because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the people’s reaction.

The Rejected King

Benji Leverentz | Pastoral Resident - RADIUS White Knoll

The sting of rejection can mark a man. It can break the confidence of even the most secure. Often one event can carry a wound that will never be forgotten. But what hurts the most, what carries the heaviest of blows, is rejection from our own. To be cast out by those who should love us most, can dizzy us like a swift left hook.

John’s gospel says this about Jesus:

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.

You can begin to understand how exhausting it must have been for Jesus to walk this earth. There wasn’t a single thing that he laid eyes on that He did not create with the word of His power. And yet here He is, coming unto His own and they will not receive Him. In fact they REJECT Him.

As Jesus begins to tell the story the Pharisees would have caught the meaning right away. They would have understood it was about them. Often time’s parables that Jesus shared would confuse its hearers, but this was different. This parable was locked, loaded and aimed right at the Pharisee’s hardened hearts.

Jesus speaks of the beloved son that was sent from the Father who owned it all. He foreshadows the tragic injustice that was about to take place on the cross. Three short days later the son would be rejected and killed. Jesus speaking with ultimate authority paints a devastating picture for this brood of vipers.

‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has now become the cornerstone.’

Maybe that doesn’t seem like the best retort to you and me, but to the Pharisees it was devastating. He was calling them the builders and Himself the Stone. He is claiming to be the Messiah, the Son of God sent with God’s authority. And he condemns the Pharisees for their willful rejection of the Christ.

It is easy for us to look in disdain at the Pharisees. They rejected the King. When Jesus didn’t match their expectations they cast Him aside. The reality is that we’re not that different from those early Jewish leaders. We want a savior, but only on our own terms. What about you?  Have you accepted the cornerstone? Or like the Pharisees have you counted the cost and determined to reject and deny?

Post Series: Holy Week 2016

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