Our scripture this morning is Mark 12:1-12.
Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’ ?” Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.
Jesus tells those listening (and us) that like the vineyard in the parable we have been given responsibility for that which is not ours. The prophets were sent to Israel to bring them God’s message but they didn’t listen. Sadly, Jesus the Son was rejected by many as well.
The story sounds almost ridiculous – how many times would the landowner actually put up with that? Then we must ask ourselves “how are we different from those tenants? How many times will God forgive us and continue to reach out?”
Thankfully, God loves us still and He still waits for us to give Him the fruits of the gifts we have received. While He is patient, the time grows ever shorter until Christ will return. Come to Him with repentance, ready to give back what is expected of us and we can be saved.
Loving Lord, we are sorry for the times we have rejected Your messengers and not heard Your word. Forgive us and may we go in Your strength to share these blessings with all the world. Amen.