Sermons

Summary: The rejection of the Son.

Matthew 21:33-46

Moral Vineyard Defiled by Greed

Before we get started with the message gleaned from today’s gospel reading, let’s look first at John 15:1 so as not to get our thoughts crossed.

15 ““I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1

We do not want to confuse the vine or the vinedresser in the parable with the true vine and true vinedresser.

Further to help us, we have included Merriam Webster’s definitions of some of these terms:

Definition of VINTAGE (MERRIAM WEBSTER)

1a (1): a season's yield of grapes or wine from a vineyard

(2): wine: especially: usually superior wine all or most of which comes from a single year

b: a collection of contemporaneous and similar persons or things

2: the act or time of harvesting grapes or making wine

3 a: a period of origin or manufacture

a piano of 1845 vintage

b: length of existence

Definition of VINEDRESSER

a person who prunes, trains, and cultivates vines.

You may wish to go to Isaiah 5:1-7 where this same description is used to express God’s disappointment, when His vineyard failed to produce. “For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel.” Isaiah 5:7

Now back to the parable of the Wicked Vinedressers in today’s reading.

Jesus is still speaking to the Sanhedrin, high priests and leaders.

Let’s look at like this. God provided the Israelites with new hope in a new land of milk and honey, when they were brought out of slavery to the Egyptians. A lush vineyard as it were! But rather than cultivate it and produce fruits for the kingdom, they sought to take it for themselves out of pure greed.

The landowner sent his servants to the vineyards to gather the vintage grapes. The vinedressers took them and beat them and killed some of them. The landowner again sent servants to the vineyards who were met and dealt with in a like manner. Finally, the landowner sent his son to the vineyard. He was recognized as the heir to the fortunes of the vineyard. They took him out of the vineyard and murdered him, thinking that they could take his inheritance.

Jesus asked these church leaders what they thought should happen to these murderous vinedressers. They said why of course they should be put to death for these high crimes.

Then Jesus hits them with a strong truth – right out of the Old Testament:

22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

23 This was the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

Psalm 118:22-23 NKJ

They immediately recognized that Jesus was talking to them as being the rejecters and they also recognized the reference to the cornerstone.

“11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.” Acts 4:11

These leaders were now getting pretty edgy and really wanted to take hold of Jesus and put an end to His constant exposing them for what they were – “self-serving”.

The quotes of the cornerstone being a stumbling block, thwarting injustice and evil plans to crushing and grinding into powder those upon whom it falls.

Again, they held back from physically harming Jesus out of fear of the multitudes of His followers.

In many ways, I believe we should not close our minds to these parables or any other truths of Scripture. Rather, we should expand our faith by expanding our knowledge of Christ and His teachings.

Let us pray.

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