Our scripture this week is Matthew 21:33-46.
“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So 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 tenants?” “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
Jesus has a troubling prophecy for the religious leaders gathered to question Him: “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit” (v. 43). Will God really take back His blessing? The truth Jesus is teaching says unless we repent and become productive members of the kingdom, we will lose it.
This is hard to hear, but God is constant and consistent. There will be consequences for those who do not accept His grace and turn from sin. We have been told what is expected of us and we still have trouble obeying His will.
However, God offers us His mercy time and again. We are given chance after chance to feel the love He sends and change our lives. Jesus warns us of the danger but reaches out to save us. Take His hand, believe, and follow Him.
Loving Lord, we know the truth and the call You place on our lives. Help us to be obedient and joyful servants of the kingdom, sharing Your blessing with all the world. Amen.