What makes you feel close to God?
In Israel, they thought of themselves as a vineyard (a place where grapes grow to make into wine). More specifically they thought they were God’s vineyard because they had a special relationship with him. It was about flourishing and growing and good times. Jesus takes this picture and talks about some wicked tenants who have been living and working the vineyard and refusing to give the owner any of the fruit that was rightfully his. First they beat up a servant or two, then they even killed one, and then he sent many others and they either beat or killed them. It was not a job with good prospects.
Eventually, there was only one more option – he sent his son. But they even rejected him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard too. Extreme. There was no hope for the tenants – they were clearly evil and even when given every chance to do the right thing, they rejected it and turned away. They would face justice and there would be new tenants.
Everyone knew that this story was about Israel. The leaders were the tenants, doing evil, ignoring the messages from God the prophets had brought, and even rejecting himself – Jesus, the son of God. The tenants would face judgement for what they had done. The person who had been rejected would become the “cornerstone” – the main stone put in when building to make sure everything else is in the right place and fits together.
God can bring transformation even into the most desperate situation. He can turn evil around to bring good things out. The Jewish people rejected Jesus and so the new tenants were brought in – people who had been considered outside God’s blessing before. Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith – without Jesus we wouldn’t be Christians at all.
This is a warning to the Jewish leaders – don’t reject what God is doing, or use the place he has put you to do evil and bring others down. But they refused to pay attention and instead, found ways to arrest him and kill him.
Lord God, thank you for Jesus. Thank you that you sent him to restore people to yourself. Thank you that even though the people rejected him, you have made him the centre of our faith. Help us to see what you are doing in our world today. Amen.
Spend some time in worship for all God has done for us.