Monday, March 7, 2011

3/7/11 - Parable of the Vineyard

Mark 12:1-12
Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes,
and the elders in parables.
“A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey.
At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants
to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard.
But they seized him, beat him,
and sent him away empty-handed.
Again he sent them another servant.
And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully.
He sent yet another whom they killed.
So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed.
He had one other to send, a beloved son.
He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’
So they seized him and killed him,
and threw him out of the vineyard.
What then will the owner of the vineyard do?
He will come, put the tenants to death,
and give the vineyard to others.
Have you not read this Scripture passage:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?”

They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd,
for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them.
So they left him and went away.
In the parable, God is the owner, the tenant farmers are the Jewish leaders, the servants are the prophets, and the heir is Jesus.  It's interesting because we can see immediate fulfillment of the story - the chief priests, scribes, and elders realize that they are the tenants, and they immediately desire to arrest the heir.
I look at this passage and am thankful that I wasn't one of those guys.
But ... there is a lesson in here for all of us.  As individuals, we make conscious choices to follow Christ or not throughout each and every day, in big ways and small ways.  In fact, in nearly all situations, we are faced with a basic choice:  am I going to do things my way, or Christ's way? 
I'm not saying these are all life and death choices.  However, at times we might approach them in a manner that is closer to how the Jewish leaders thought than we might want to admit.  Choosing Christ means giving up some comfort and making some sacrifices.  It means letting go of things that we can see and and that we hold dear, for other things that we can't see.  The Jewish leaders, in the end, couldn't do that.  They were too attached to their own positions of power and authority that Jesus ultimately became too much of a threat to them.  They had to act.
I can think of times where I have avoided making a choice for Christ because I was too attached to my life the way it was.  Hopefully, as they come up in the future, I'll choose to follow the heir, rather than to covet the Father's ground. 

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