Jesus’ parable of the wicked tenants tells the story of the prophets that God sent to teach and challenge his children. They rejected their words, they abused them and even killed many. When God finally sent his own son, he knew what would happen…
9 And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. 10 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out.
13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” 17 But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
Even Jesus, the son of God, was mistreated and rejected by the leaders of his own people. They did not esteem him. They did not receive him. They were threatened by him religiously and politically to the point that they conspired to kill him.
We are all tenants in this land. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 24:1). What are we doing as tenants of the owner’s property? Do we receive God’s messengers or do we reject them? We often reject them, don’t we?
In fact, we often don’t appreciate the messengers of God even if we are followers of God.
And sometimes we are those messengers, aren’t we? What is different for us as the people of God is that when Jesus was leaving this earth, he commissioned us into his service to take his message forward (Matthew 28:18-20). We are the messengers of God to the tenants of this earth. Which means we can be the ones who are abused and rejected and even killed by those who reject our master/owner God.
Ultimately, God bears the responsibility to deal with the tenants. It isn’t our role to act as judge or jury in their lives. We often will have to suck it up and weather the storms of rejection and abuse. Just make sure that you aren’t earning it. Christians can easily cross the line to the place where they tell and judge and criticize and even threaten. That militant Christianity is not of Jesus. Our Lord is the one who taught us to turn the other cheek.
Let’s follow Jesus in his ways…