We read today of the triumphant arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem and the adulation that the ordinary people gave him. “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9). “The whole city was stirred up …” (verse 10). Compare this with his return to earth. What is, we wondered, the answer to the question Jesus posed at the end of another parable, “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). The focus of our thinking is to understand the attitude of mind he will be looking for. From verses 33-45 we read his parable of the tenants in the vineyard and the lesson he was teaching is clear.
The Jewish nation up to that time had had the responsibility of looking after God’s vineyard – but they had failed in their responsibilities. After listening to this parable “they perceived he was speaking about them” (verse 45) and so, in their generation the parable of their failure as tenants of God’s vineyard was fulfilled. “He will put those wretches to a miserable death” (verse 41). Forty years later Jerusalem, its Temple and the nation were no more.
But Jesus added: “and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits …” And so, after Jesus left the earth his disciples set about fulfilling this, their role, and they succeeded in their generation, greatly helped when Christ called Paul to be an apostle. Those who followed mostly fell into the same trap of ‘self-importance’ like the Priests. History shows there was renewed zeal and Christ-mindedness among those striving to be worthy “tenants” when God’s word was printed for all to read.
But nowadays? Are today’s tenants in God’s vineyard any better than those against whom Jesus told this parable? The kingdom is only for those “people producing its fruits” (verse 43) the rest “will be broken to pieces” (verse 44) when he comes! It will be too late then to realise they have not kept “the narrow way”. We prove we are on the right path, serving the Lord in his vineyard, when we produce the right kind of fruit and profess the same message of hope Jesus taught and show we have taken his character into our hearts and made it ours. See James 3:12-18.
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