The Vineyard

Read: Luke 20:9-19

I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him. (v. 13)

Setting the table for dinner, I called upstairs for my son to come down. After calling three times, I sent my daughter to get him. He didn’t listen when I called, but I hoped he would listen when my daughter came up the stairs to get him.

Jesus told a parable of a man who planted a vineyard. Throughout the Old Testament, God used this image for Israel. They were the vine and vineyard of God. Israel’s leaders were those entrusted with tending God’s vineyard. In Jesus’s parable, harvest time comes and the owner wants his fair share. He sends first one slave, then another, then another, but all of them are rejected, beaten, and cast out. Those trusted to work the vineyard don’t respect those the owner sent. Despite repeated attempts, the vineyard owner reasons that perhaps they’ll listen if he sends his beloved son. But the workers see this instead as an opportunity to kill the owner’s heir and seize the inheritance for themselves. Jesus concludes the parable with the promise that the owner will return in judgment upon the workers. Jesus’s hearers were shocked at the parable. They understood immediately that the servants sent repeatedly by the owner were the prophets, who had consistently been rejected by Israel’s leadership.

When God sent his Son, those in leadership did not receive him but viewed him as a threat. They saw his coming as an opportunity to seize the vineyard for themselves. God has sent his Son, Jesus, for us. How have we received him?

As you pray, ask Jesus to help you receive him.

About the Author

Stephen Shaffer is the pastor at Bethel Reformed Church in Brantford, Ontario.

This entry is part 9 of 31 in the series Looking to Jesus