Friday, December 16, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 21:33

"Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.' So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?" They said to Him, "He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons." -Matthew 21:33-41

To whom is this command spoken?

Spoken to the chief priests and elders of the people (v.23). Verse 45 also indicates the Pharisees were around.

What does this command require?

Hear another parable.

What truths do we learn here?

The parable shows what happened in the Old Testament. God repeatedly sent prophets to Israel and Judah. Over and over again they faithfully proclaimed God's words and God's plan. But the people, more specifically, the 'shepherds' (vinedressers in the parable) of Israel repeatedly beat up and killed the prophets. The parable also shows a truth about the New Testament. God finally sent His Son to Israel. Once again, the 'vinedressers' cast him out and killed him. 

Jesus poses a question to the audience. "What will the owner of the vineyard do to the vinedressers when he comes?" The people answer correctly. They said the owner would destroy those wicked men and give teh vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their season.

By way of application, I think this command and parable is a call to heed the words of Jesus. Will you act as a wicked vinedresser and trample underfoot the Son of God? Or will you faithfully heed His words and 'render Him the fruits in their seasons?

What are the consequences of obedience?

"Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. But when they sough to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes because they took Him for a prophet." -Matthew 21:45-46

These guys didn't get it. They should have turned from their ways and heeded Jesus' words. Verse 43 says, "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it." These are the consequences.

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