Summary: How do you respond to the claims of Christ? Do you question His right to your life? Do you assert your own rights over him? Or do you humbly surrender to Him and submit to His will? We must all see the importance of being responsive to Christ and the danger of being unresponsive.
The Claims of Christ
Mark 11:27-33; 12:1-12
Jesus’ Authority Questioned
27. They came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to Him,
28. and began saying to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?”
29. And Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question, and you answer Me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
30. “Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer Me.”
31. They began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’
32. “But shall we say, ‘From men’?”—they were afraid of the people, for everyone considered John to have been a real prophet.
33. Answering Jesus, they said “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Parable of the Vine-growers
1. And He began to speak to them in parables: “A man PLANTED A VINEYARD AND PUT A WALL AROUND IT, AND DUG A VAT UNDER THE WINE PRESS AND BUILT A TOWER, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.
2. “At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers.
3. “They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
4. “Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully.
5. “And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others.
6. “He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
7. “But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’
8. “They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.
9. “What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others.
10. “Have you not even read this Scripture:
‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,
THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone;
11. THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD,
AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’?”
12. And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away.
In this country, we pride ourselves on a certain sense of rugged individualism. Our forbearers were individualists. We are independent people. We pride ourselves on personal autonomy. It's the way of our culture. It is a unique western world view. We are our own boss. We have rights. Our Declaration of Independence says so.
Our Declaration of Independence says that all of us are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Inherent in that concept are the rights of God. He is the supreme authority. He holds all rights and from Him all rights derive. Without Him there are no rights. Without a divine Creator, we are nothing more animals, the product of chance evolution. It follows that the Lord's claims should have priority on our lives. After all, we are His creation.
This is not a twentieth century phenomenon. Jesus was rejected in His day as well. Our text today is a case in point. Here, Christ pictures how those who are unresponsive and rejected Him and suffer the judgment of God. Many people then had hard hearts, many people today still do.
What about you? How do you respond to the claims of Christ? Do you question His right to your life? Do you assert your own rights over him? Or do you humbly surrender to Him and submit to His will? We must all see the importance of being responsive to Christ and the danger of being unresponsive.
There are many people who are in a constant power struggle with God. Many Christians struggle, trying to do their own thing and still be in the center of God's will. Christ calls us to be open and responsive to Him, laying down our rights and affirming His total right to us.
Our text holds a graphic portrayal of the privileges as well as the peril of our response to Christ. Let's look at the pictures we have here of the right of Christ, the revelation of kindness, the rejection of Messiah, and the retribution of God. And as we do that, let's consider several questions.
The Right Of Christ Challenged