Jesus said to [the chief priests and the Pharisees], “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”
God is Patient and Gracious
These words of Jesus come at the end of a parable (a story that relates a truth about God and his kingdom). A landowner had rented his vineyard to some tenant farmers. They were to give him a share of the harvest when his servants came to collect. Instead, the tenants beat and even killed those servants. In response, the landowner sent more servants. Same treatment. Finally, the man sent his son. Certainly, he thought, they would respect and receive his son. But instead, the wicked tenants killed the son and claimed the vineyard as their own! The point was not lost on Jesus’ hearers. They knew what that landowner would do next. He would avenge the death of his servants and son and rent his vineyard to new, faithful farmers.
How patiently and graciously the Lord had dealt with the people of Israel! God had chosen them to be his special people. They would bear his name, have his Word and be the nation from whom the world’s Savior would be born. They were not special because they were better than other people. They were not sinless or righteous in themselves. They needed the Savior from sin as much as anybody else. God had chosen them by his grace. He called on them to believe his promise that the Savior would come. He called on them to produce the thoughts and actions that come from faith. In large part, though, the people of Israel rejected the Lord’s promise. They became proud of the position that was theirs only because of God’s undeserved love. God sent them prophets to turn them around. They mistreated and rejected those prophets. Finally, he sent them his Son! They crucified him, the one who had come as proof of God’s patience and mercy. They had rejected God’s chosen one.
Rejecting Jesus is rejecting the Father who sent him. Refusal to listen to the Lord and to believe his promises is to treat him the same way the tenant farmers treated the landowner. There is a message there for all of us. God has been and still is patient and gracious. He still sends a message of pardon and peace to those who realize just how much they need it because of sin. Jesus Christ still holds out his nail-pierced hands to lead us to his Father. He still gives his Word that our hearts might be filled with faith and might burst forth with fruit.
Look to him as God’s chosen one. See him as the sure hope of a right relationship with God. Look to serve him with lives that reflect genuine thanks and love.
Lord, thank you for your patience with me. Help me to see just how much I need Jesus, and then fill my heart with joy to know how he has lived and died to save me. Help me to live a life that shows my gratitude and love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.