July 16

Text: Matthew 21:33-41

"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.  And when the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. And 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 afterward 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.'  And 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?"   They *said to Him, "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons." (NASB)

It was common knowledge that it was expensive to build a good vineyard.  Then, if a person could afford to do so, it was a good investment.  The rent plus a portion of the produce provided continuous income.

At harvest time the builder sent for his rightful portion.  The renters treated his slaves horribly—even killed one and stoned another!  The builder sent a larger delegation of slaves, and they received the same treatment.  Finally, he sent his son, thinking the son would receive respect.  However, the renters killed the son in an attempt to steal the vineyard.

The hearers of the parable knew (1) the renters’ plan would fail and (2) through horrible consequences the renters would suffer what they deserved.  Their attempt to steal the vineyard would not succeed.

God sent many spokesmen—such as the prophets—before sending Jesus.  He patiently sought that which was rightfully His.  His efforts to call people back to Him were rejected in terrible ways.

In the parable we see (1) the incredible patience of God and (2) the certainty of consequence for those who abuse God’s patience.

Suggestion for reflection: Do you view God’s patience as a rich blessing or as ridiculous foolishness?  (Read Romans 2:1-8.)

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