12 Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. 6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” 12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.
Jesus is saying to the Pharisees that they are continuing in the tradition of others in Israel who have persecuted God’s prophets. Now Jesus, the greatest of prophets and the actual Son of God, has come and they are ready to kill him. The warning is stern, fight against the prophets of God and God will turn his anger against you.
It is easy to dismiss this little exchange as being specific to the context, however if I consider Jesus’ words carefully I see a warning for me too. The problem for the Pharisees was that they had no room in their hearts for Jesus, he did not meet their expectations. I love Jesus, but that doesn’t mean I know him 100%. I am still getting to know him and I must make sure there is room in my heart for ALL of Jesus. For example, there are times where following Jesus means doing something that may be initially unpleasant, like showing love to someone who is hard to love or sacrificing a comfort in order to proclaim his Kingdom. In this way I get to know more of who Jesus really is and I won’t be like those who were offended by him, so rejected, even killed him.
Jesus, you are my saviour, but you are also my Lord, and I don’t know everything about you. Please make my heart soft to learn more about you through following and serving you. Create room in my heart for more of you, even if something else needs to go. Amen
Written by Andrew Mellor