Summary: Lent 5(C) - Jesus is still the Cornerstone even though some spurn God’s word and reject God’s love. In the end God’s judgment will come.
JESUS IS THE CORNERSTONE
April 2, 2006 - Lent 5 - Luke 20:9-29
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Dear Friends in the name of our Savior:
Each of us turns to many different people for all kinds of advice during our lifetime. When we don’t feel well, we go to the doctor and seek his or her advice. It is the same with any other ailment we might have. If we can’t see, we go to the eye doctor or the dentist for our teeth and so forth. Sometimes, beyond that, we ask other people for advice and direction in our life. Sometimes, we might trust in our own advice or wisdom or strength. Yet, we realize that if we do that too often, we see that we may forget God’s wisdom and strength and knowledge. The Lord reminds us that Jesus himself is the cornerstone of the Christian church, the cornerstone of our Christian faith, and he also becomes the cornerstone of our life. The wisdom Jesus has surpasses all the wisdom of this world, surpasses all of the advice that others might give us.
In Acts we are told the words of the Apostles when they preached those first sermons after Pentecost. They reminded the people of the importance of Christ and Christ alone: "Christ is ’the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:11,12). That is divine wisdom, the knowledge of God who is our cornerstone.
We consider the words of this parable, the words of Jesus. As we consider the fact that:
JESUS IS THE CORNERSTONE. As we look at it and hear him teaching, we realize that:
I. Some spurn God’s Word,
II. Some reject God’s love,
III. Finally God’s judgment will come.
I. SOME SPURN GOD’S WORD
Once again, Jesus is getting closer to the day of crucifixion on Good Friday. In fact this is Tuesday of Holy Week. So we have Tuesday, Wednesday, and Maundy Thursday in the Upper Room and on Good Friday Jesus is put to death. He comes back to life on Easter Sunday. As he gets closer to that day of crucifixion, the enemies of Jesus are anxious to see him out of the picture. Jesus still has much to teach them, and he wants the crowd to realize the advice they had been getting was not good. "So Jesus 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.’" It was a common practice. The owner of the land provided work for those who needed work as he rented out his property. The owner went away for a long time. He had lots of patience, and he waited for the vineyard to produce its fruit.
Then we are told what happens: "At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard." The time for the harvest had arrived and then the time for the payment. They would get a certain share of the crop and the owner would get another portion. The servant went to gather that portion. He went to speak the words of the owner. It was fair and what they agreed on. "But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed." The tenants spurned the servant, sent him away with no payment. The owner is patient. So "he sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed." The second servant received the same reception and rejection by the tenants. They mistreated this servant very badly. In the original, the word "beat" gives the idea that they plucked the skin from him, pulled it off.
"He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out." The owner sent three servants and all received the same reaction. The tenants spurned the word of the owner. They had no time and no use for him and what he had to say. They had no use for the agreement that they had made.
This sounds similar to today. People seek advice from all sorts of experts and authorities; but when it comes to the authority of Scripture, the world has little for what God’s word says. There are many today who feel that God’s word is too confining. There are many today who feel that God’s word has no relevance to today since it was written thousands of years ago. What use can it be for us in our modern day and age? Worst of all, there are some churches that throw out the true meaning of God’s word. They spurn what it says. Instead, they put in their own teachings and their own doctrines and their own philosophies and ideas. The Lord says in Proverbs written by Solomon who was the wisest man and trusted in the Lord: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline" (Proverbs 1:7). The unbelievers are those who are fools and despise and spurn God’s Word. Like these tenants, they have no use or time for it.