Summary: Sometimes things are beyond our capability to comprehend.
Matthew 21: 33 – 46 / Unreal
Intro: 30 Years ago, Stephen Watt was a Wyoming State Trooper on patrol when he stopped a car suspected of being involved in a bank robbery. Suddenly a bullet pierced the windshield and hit Stephen in the eye. The perpetrator came to the car and shot Stephen 4 more times. After 4 years of agony, Stephen retired on disability form the police force; but, he continued to find himself filled with rage at Mark Farnham for ending his career. Stephen’s wife, Marian said to him one day, “What’s happened to you since is a tragedy. God made sure those bullets didn’t kill you. But your anger is going to do what those bullets didn’t.”
I. This is a parable told in allegory form. God is the owner, the vineyard is the nation of Israel, the tenants are the religious leaders, the messengers are the prophets and the son is Jesus.
A. Can you imagine the anger this landowner must have felt? All he was asking was to receive what was rightfully his. God expects what rightfully belongs to God / nothing more and nothing less.
B. VS. 35 the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another and stoned another. VS. 36 – he sent other slaves, more than the first and they were treated the same. Vs. 37 – 39 Finally he sent his son and they killed him.
C. The modern definition of insanity is “Trying the same thing over and over again EXPECTING a different result each time.”
II. Some would apply the modern definition of insanity to the Landowner’s actions in this parable. Saying this God is insane and irrational.
A. How closely love and insanity exist together! If we change one word in that definition of insanity, it becomes for me, the definition of God’s love.
B. “Trying the same thing over and over again EXPECTING a different result each time.” If we change the word, “expecting” to “hoping” I believe we now have a definition of God’s love.
C. The resulting definition of God’s love is this: “Trying the same thing over and over again HOPING FOR a different result each time.” Through the ages, God has tried loving us into a relationship HOPING that we will respond.
III. The remainder of this parable teaches us that God has given the kingdom to those who believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; but, the problem often still remains that we are unwilling to part with the fruit or pay the rent; we want to keep it all.
A. The rebelliousness of the tenants is ours as well. We don’t want to be accountable to anyone. We don’t want anyone telling us how to live our lives.
B. We claim the Master’s land and everything in it as our own and don’t want God meddling. Nor do we want to give God what rightfully belongs to him.
C. VS. 41 – 44 tells us what happens to those who fail to realize a time of accountability is inevitable.
Conclu: Several years after his life was tragically interrupted by the actions of Mark Farnham, Stephen’s wife gave him a piece of paper and a pen and encouraged him to write to Mark. He wrote, “Dear Mark, I just want to share my joy with you. If you haven’t already, won’t you join me in Christ’s love?” Mark answered that letter with an 18 page letter of his own. The two men have become best friends with Stephen visiting Mark in prison on a regular basis. --- We say, isn’t that unreal !!!!!!!? --- I would say, NO, that’s God’s love!