The Evil Farmers
06 May 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 21:33-46 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
33 “Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. 34 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent his servants to collect his share of the crop. 35 But the farmers grabbed his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 So the landowner sent a larger group of his servants to collect for him, but the results were the same. 37 “Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ 38 “But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ 39 So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and murdered him. 40 “When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?” 41 The religious leaders replied, “He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.” 42 Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’ 43 I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. 44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.” 45 When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet. (Matthew 21:33–46 NLT)
The story is graphic and clear. The application to the Jewish religious leaders is clear. In the covenant promises through Abraham, through Moses, and through the prophets, the message is clear. God entrusted his blessing to Israel in order to get that blessing to the entire world. Israel was selfish and exclusive and fearful and as a result lost their role as God’s Kingdom people. Now the message, the blessing, and the Kingdom of God are all entrusted to the church, the here and now representative of God’s Kingdom. If we are selfish, exclusive, defensive, and fear-driven, we miss our privilege and responsibility to “produce the proper fruit!” Let’s not miss it!
Father, Please don’t let us repeat the sin of the evil farmers in Jesus’ story! Shake us up, stir us up, but don’t let us break ourselves to pieces or be crushed by that glorious stone! For the lost world’s sake, amen!