He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.
“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’
“But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
“What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”
When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!”
Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
It’s hard to hear the truth. I know that when I’m confronted with my own weaknesses and failures I don’t really get all that excited about it. Typically, I will either get angry, frustrated, or I will withdraw. If I’m really honest about myself, I’m all about the fight. When it comes to my failures I have a “reason,” not an excuse, you know like other people.
Jesus loved people and he loved them perfectly. Because he loved them he told them the truth. This parable is a microcosm of the whole story of the people of God up to the point of Jesus coming. The servants that were sent were the prophets. They were warning the people to be faithful. They were calling them back to the covenant and reminding them who they were and who God was. The people ignored the prophets and didn’t heed their message. Jesus is saying that now God’s beloved son is here and the people are going to kill him. The people of Jesus’ time “got it.” Their response? God forbid!
They didn’t want to hear that they would be just like their forefathers. There is no way that they could commit such violence. Yet, here they were. Jesus was calling them to the carpet and they had to face the music.
You have to wonder what would have happened if they had said, “Lord! Forgive us!” What would have happened if they didn’t move towards denial but moved toward a response of repentance and faith?
Over the years I’ve been trying to get better at receiving truth. I’ve been working really hard at hearing what others say and then responding not in anger or excuse making. I think of all the ways that I’ve tried to “grow up” over my life, this has been the hardest. It’s most difficult with those closest to me. I think that’s because there is a sense of shame on top of the guilt for hurting them.
In those moments when I’m able to say, “I submit to you. Please forgive me.” My relationship is restored quickly and lovingly.
Hearing the truth is one of the hardest things that we have to do.
My prayer for each of you is that you would willingly hear the truth and not reject the cornerstone. My prayer is that you would embrace the reality that you are flawed. My prayer is that in so doing you would know grace, mercy, and love.
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