S (Scripture): Luke 19:9 Then [Jesus] began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and went on a journey for a long time. 10 When harvest time came, he sent a slave to the tenants so that they would give him his portion of the crop. However, the tenants beat his slave and sent him away empty-handed. 11 So he sent another slave. They beat this one too, treated him outrageously, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 So he sent still a third. They even wounded this one, and threw him out. 13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my one dear son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir; let’s kill him so the inheritance will be ours!’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When the people heard this, they said, “May this never happen!” 17 But Jesus looked straight at them and said, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? 18 Everyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.” 19 Then the experts in the law and the chief priests wanted to arrest him that very hour, because they realized he had told this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.
O (Observation): Jesus is giving a judgment against Israel in this Parable of the Tenants, while also leaving grace for those normally seen outside of salvation.
Jesus makes the tenants out to be Israel, and their actions show that they have been unfaithful to the Lord. How so? They bear no fruit! They send the servant of the landowner away empty-handed!
Jesus being sent to Israel is like the son of the landowner being sent to collect the fruit from the harvest from the tenants tending the land. But we see what happens here: the son is killed!
Now comes judgment, but also hope! Judgment comes to Israel for their failure to recognize and honor God’s son. Hope comes, also, to the Gentiles.
Luke 19: 15b What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.
The listeners all stood convicted and hoped the judgment would not befall them. But the religious leaders present were less convicted and more angered…
Luke 19:19 the chief priests wanted to arrest him that very hour, because they realized he had told this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.
A (Application): I often wonder if I am missing the point of what God is up to in my life. I wonder if I’ve made the right call, moved the right direction, etc. How can I even tell?
Today’s parable has a way helping me to gauge if I am being faithful. The question is: Am I bearing fruit? Am I helping someone else? Am I engaging in the vocation God has called me into? Am I taking care of what God has given to me?
Now, I will not ALWAYS bear fruit in the sense of accomplishing a task or helping to bring about a tangible result of working on something. We all need time to ABIDE / rest. But, in terms of sharing in the faith, we can ask ourselves, “Am I bearing fruit at all?”
My wife and I take the faith we’ve been given, and we pass it on to our children. We do this with the help of others, which is why being a part of a faith community is so important. We go on retreat and we also send our children on retreat.
Humility, though, will remind us of the times when we don’t do this; when we model poor or unfaithful behavior. Humility will also remind us that we often leave whole groups of people out of our understanding of those who are saved. In these moments, I’m reminded that God has and does invite others along on the faith journey, too.
P (Prayer): Lord, thank you for all you’ve given to us and for all the times you stretch my understanding of salvation. Amen.