Our lesson this week is another parable. You may remember a parable is a story that Jesus told to the people to teach them His lessons. The whole story is in Matthew 21: 33-45, but verses 35-39 say this, “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.” At first, this seems to be a rather sad and mean story, but when we understand what Jesus was saying, we realize the point He wanted to teach the people that day.
Jesus said to the crowd, a man owned some land. He planted some grapes on the land and then rented it to some other men to take care of it for him while he was away. When it came time to harvest the crop, the landowner sent some of his servants to collect his share of the harvest. The men who had leased the land beat the man’s servants and even killed one of them. They refused to give the landowner what was due him.
A second time the landowner sent his servants to collect what was due to him. Once again the servants were treated the same way. Finally, the landowner sent his own son to the tenants. He thought surely they would listen to his own son. But when they saw the son, they said, “This is the landowner’s son, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.”
Then Jesus asked the people, “What do you think the landowner will do to those men?” “He will destroy those wicked men, and rent his land to someone else, who will give him his share of the fruit at harvest time” answered his listeners.
Jesus explained the landowner represented God. God first sent men such as Noah, Moses, David, the prophet Isaiah, and others to tell the people of His love for them and to call them to turn from their wicked ways, but many would not listen. Finally, He sent His own Son, Jesus. You know what they did to Him, don’t you? That’s right; they crucified Him. God gave them a chance. He gave them a second chance, and even a third chance, but when they rejected His Son that was their last chance. Jesus is our last chance too. Jesus is our only chance to receive salvation, so remember that and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. Then try to live your life in accordance with His teachings, loving and serving Him and others.
Let us pray together our prayer for this week. Dear Father, we thank You for sending us Jesus, Your Son. Help us to remember that He is our only chance to receive eternal life. Help us to follow Him every day. Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.