Luke 20:13-18 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’ But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ So they cast him out of the vineyard and killedhim. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.” And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!” Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘ The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone’? Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
Romans 9:30-32 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.
- Reflect On: Luke 20:9-19 & Romans 9:30-32
- Praise God: Whose plans and purposes endure forever.
- Offer Thanks: That God did not give up on us.
- Confess: Any tendency to water down the gospel or reduce it to a list of dos and don’ts.
- Ask God: To renew your faith in Jesus.
Imagine that you own a large and prosperous vineyard. You decide to enlist tenant farmers to work the land in exchange for a portion of the harvest. That way you can all prosper together. The sloping, well-drained fields produce a fine crop of grapes year after year. Trouble is, you have yet to see even one grape. The three men you sent to collect your portion of the harvest have returned one after the other, empty-handed. Worse yet, they still bear the scars of their beatings.
But you do not give up easily. So you risk one more man. This time you send the best man you have, the one closest to your heart. If he can’t talk some sense into those surly, stiff-necked tenant farmers, no one can. After all, he is your son. They should listen to him as though they were listening to you. But instead of listening, the farmers do the unthinkable. They murder the son you love in hopes of claiming the vineyard as their own.
… Isaiah 5:7,9 The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines He delights in. And He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress. … The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing: “Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants.”
Jesus was pointing a finger straight at the chief priests and teachers of the law, who had hijacked the faith and led God’s people astray through their hypocritical behavior and legalistic teachings. Instead of acting as the servant leaders they were supposed to be, they had created a form of religion that advanced not God’s agenda, but their own. In His love and mercy, God has already sent multiple prophets to call them back, but they rejected each one. In a final, grand act of mercy, God sent His Son. But they hated Him, seeing not a Savior, but only someone who threatened their power, who undermined their control. Thus Jesus became for them the threat they feared.
Fully aware of their desire to kill Him, Jesus provoked them further by quoting the words of Psalm 118:22: “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.” And then, “Everyone who falls on the stone will be broken to pieces” (Luke 20:18). He Himself was the cornerstone of what God was doing in the world. But He was also a stone of stumbling, a rock of offense for those who failed to believe in Him. For a time He would seem to be the one who would be broken, but His brokenness would result in triumph. And sooner or later everyone who opposed Him would be brought to ruin.
The same is true today. Many forces are at work in the world and within our own fallen natures to twist and distort the gospel. There are those who would try to hijack it for their own purposes, using it for a bully pulpit, making of it a caricature that is easily rejected by the rest of the world, or watering it down to make it more palatable. How sad when Christians themselves reduce the faith to a set of rules and regulations, conforming outwardly to religious conventions while their hearts are filled with unbelief. How said when believers fail to preach the whole gospel because they fear offending someone.
If we really believe that we have needed saving and that we have been saved, our lives should say so, because faith has lead a revolution in our souls. Of all people we have the most to be grateful for, the most to be excited about, the most to celebrate, for Christ, the cornerstone on which God is building up His kingdom, is leading His church. He is our Rock forever.