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by David O. Dykes
Most of us are familiar with product warning labels. Here are some actual warning labels that are rather humorous:
1. Window air conditioning units are now required to display the warning:
CAUTION - AVOID DROPPING AIR CONDITIONER OUT OF WINDOW.
2. The tag on irons says:
WARNING - NEVER IRON CLOTHES WHILE WEARING THEM.
3. A warning label on a Halloween Superman costume reads:
WARNING - CAPE DOES NOT ENABLE USER TO FLY.
4. Nabisco Easy Spread Cheese announces on its label:
FOR BEST RESULTS REMOVE CAP
5. The label on Little Ones Baby lotion reads:
KEEP PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN.
A warning label is designed to protect us from harm. If there was a warning label attached to this passage of scripture, it would read: WARNING: IF YOU REJECT GOD’S SON YOU WILL RECEIVE GOD’S JUDGEMENT. On the Sunday before the crucifixion, Jesus was welcomed by the cheers of the people. As He entered Jerusalem He paused and sobbed bitter tears over how the people of Israel had rejected Him. Over the next few days, He taught openly in the temple courts. The religious leaders tried unsuccessfully to entrap Him with trick questions. In the midst of these questions, He shared a parable that contained a scathing indictment against the failure of the Jewish people to accept Him.
He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘what shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When the people heard this, they said, “May this never be!” Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the capstone?’ Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.
The title of this message is “The Shocking Truth About God.” I got the idea while standing in the checkout line in the grocery store. I glanced at one of the absurd tabloids and the headline declared in bold print, “THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT THE SHUTTLE CRASH - ATTACKED BY ALIENS.”
When Jesus finished telling this parable, the people were so shocked, they cried out, “May it never be so!” They were astonished because Jesus disrupted their nice, neat understanding of the God of Israel. Their view of God had become so skewed they thought God existed for the sake of Israel, not Israel for God.
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