Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Scandal of the Parable

Scripture: Matthew 21:35-39
But the farmers took his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.  Again, he sent other slaves, more than the first group, and they did the same to them.  Finally, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. “But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!’  So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.

Insights:  I mentioned Monday how in a parable the characters represent someone or something.  We have already learned the landowner is God.  In today’s verses we get a fuller picture of who the farmers, or renters of the land, are.  We also learn who the slaves are and are introduced to the son of the landowner.  The farmers are representative of both the priests and Pharisees of the past as well as those present at Jesus’ teaching of this parable.  The slaves are the prophets of the Old Testament and would also include John the Baptist.  Finally, the son of the landowner is the Son, Jesus Christ.  These verses display the tragedy of the lost community.  In other words, God, Who has been at work in the world the entire time, has lavishly displayed His grace to His creation.  The majority of humanity has spurned this love gift and has exhibited hostility toward God.  In fact, the religious leaders of the past have literally put to death the servants of God who proclaimed the message of hope to the people.  God the Father, however, never gives up.  From the foundations of the earth, God knew His ultimate plan for redemption was to send His Son to be the penal-substitutionary atonement needed to reconcile a condemned world to Himself.  The scandalous revulsion of God’s Son’s death was the people rejected this merciful gift of grace.  Jesus bore our punishment.  He took our shame.  The Christ felt the rejection.  He endured the wrath.  We today have the same options these first century hearers of the parable had.  We can reject and spurn this amazing grace or we can humble ourselves and receive what Has been offered.  In other words, we can receive Jesus as our Savior or we can reject Him.  Obviously, these farmers in today’s verses rejected the gift.  What will you do?

  1. How have you responded to God’s grace?
  2. Have you rejected God’s grace?
Prayer: Compassionate Father, forgive me for taking Your gift of grace for granted.  Help me to fully understand the cost You paid to bring about my salvation.  Let my life honor You and bring You the glory You so richly deserve.  Amen.  

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