Summary: This message focuses on two parables dealing with our commitment and willingness to serve. The parables are of the landowner who rents part of his land to vine-growers and the parable of the wedding feast.
A Slave For Christ Part 8
In my message last week I shared with you the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Jesus, as you recalled, served God the Father as a slave; was betrayed for the value of a slave’s; and was crucified, dying a slave’s form of death. On the third day however, Jesus rose from the dead forever giving us a hope that what we experience in this life is not the end, but the beginning. This morning as I conclude the parables that Jesus told relating to slaves, I want to focus on two stories that He told that as I grew to understand them, caused me to take thought of my own life. Next week we will begin examining what Paul had to say about being a slave for Christ.
In one of our previous bible study lessons, we discussed Matthew 24:42-51 from a slave’s point of view. In that scripture, Jesus told the disciples to always be ready for His return because they did not know what day, time or hour that He would arrive. This became a steadfast promise to the disciples when they saw Him after the resurrection. To illustrate to His disciples His meaning of always being ready, He told them the parable about a slave who was left in charge while the master was away. He called the slave who was doing what he was supposed to be doing when his master returned “blessed”. Likewise Jesus referred to the slave who was not found doing what he was supposed to be doing when his master returned “wicked.” The point Jesus was making to the disciples was that they were to be about His business until He returned for them. When Jesus rose from the dead He forever removed the doubt from the disciple’s minds of what He was capable of doing and what He was planning to do. They began to live a life of readiness which required them to make some sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. This message is also for you and me. We do not know when Christ will return so we must always be ready and doing what He has called us to do faithfully and with diligence. In that lesson I focused on the mentality of the slave – one of carrying out their duties with a mindset of not having a choice. I asked the group if they knew Christ was coming back on a certain day, would it change some of the things they were currently doing. This is the mindset that we need to have – living as if Christ can return at any moment and will find us hard at work fulfilling what He has called us to do.
This morning we will examine two parables that Jesus told using the master and slave relationship. The first story speak to the slave’s willingness to do something even when they knew it might cost them something great while the second story focuses on our willingness to wear (use) what has been given to us. Let’s begin with the story from Matthew 21:33-40.
I. A Slave Until Death
In Matthew chapter twenty-one, Jesus tells the story of a landowner who had planted a vineyard and had workers tending the vineyard. What I want to focus on this morning is not the purpose of this parable, but the attitude and disposition of the slaves in the parable. Let’s begin with verse thirty-three.
“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first, and they did the same thing to them. But afterwards he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?” (Matthew 21:31-40)
As you read this story it is easy to see that Jesus was talking about what would happen to Him. God was the landowner who gave us authority over this world in the beginning. Then sin entered into the mix and the world (the renters of the land) decided that it would not pay the landowner. God sent His servants (the prophets and other leaders of the Old Testament) in an attempt to re-establish His rightful claim to what was His. Of course as you read through the Old Testament, God’s servants were often abused while doing their jobs. Finally Jesus was sent to reclaim the world for His Father. What Jesus was relaying to His disciples was His death and God’s judgment on those who refused to accept Him. Now that being said, let’s go back and examine the attitudes of the slaves and put ourselves in their position.