Thadeus nodded, not so much because he agreed with Jesus, but from how impressed he was by the way Jesus deflected every question, accusation and inference made toward Him.
The crowd hushed when Jesus looked at the leaders and spoke.
“Here’s another parable: One day a landowner prepared a vineyard. He built a fence around it, dug a vat to press the grapes and constructed a tower in the middle of it. Then he leased the land out and moved away. At harvest time he sent a servant to bring back some of the grapes as payment from the lessees. When the men growing the grapes saw the servant they beat him and sent him away with nothing. A second servant was treated even worse. The third servant was killed. The landowner couldn’t go himself so he decided to send his only son. ‘They’ll respect my son,’ he reasoned. But, when the men saw the son approaching they gathered together and schemed to kill the son so the land would belong to them with no heir to claim it.”
A gasp rose from the crowd.
Jesus turned back to the leaders. “What do you think the land owner will do to those evil men?”
Thadeus gave his answer. “He’ll destroy those men and lease the land to those who will pay the proper rent.”
Jesus stared at the chief priests. “Have you never read the passage ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’? Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken, but whomever this stone falls will be ground into a powder.”
The priests and scribes stepped forward. The crowd filled in between them and Jesus with a cheer.
Jesus raised His hands and brought silence back. “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who married off his son. His servants went out to bring in the important people who’d been invited to the wedding. Those men ignored the servants. When a second attempt was made the men killed those servants. The angry king brought his army and destroyed those murderers. ‘Go into the streets and bring in anyone you find to the feast,’ he instructed his servants. Soon the wedding hall was filled to capacity. But, the king approached a man dressed in dirty clothes. ‘How did you get in here without wedding apparel?’ The man said nothing. ‘Cast this man out into outer darkness’. The king commanded.
“Many are called, but few are chosen.”
As the scribes and priests walked back to the temple Thadeus thought out loud. “I thought He was going to use Isaiah’s vineyard of wild grapes the way He started.”
A chief priest’s hard stare changed the subject.
Thadeus let out one more thought. “I always wondered what chief cornerstone the Psalm referred to.”
The procession stopped when all the priests and scribes stared at Thadeus.
The master story teller strikes again.
Jesus had a way of spinning a yarn into a tale that spoke to whatever situation He found Himself in. He knew the priests and scribes were out to get Him. His deft use of the scriptures in stories that both warn everyone of their plot and foretold of impending doom was marvelous.
The religious leaders were obviously the wicked vinedressers in the first parable. They’d abused the prophets in the Old Testament. Now they were preparing to kill God’s Son. Even Jesus’s warning of disaster for that action didn’t deter them.
Jesus’s reference to destroying the city of those who rejected His invitation to attend the wedding of His son went ignored. Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. The sacred temple was demolished. The old order of things was completely changed.
Why were these men so determined to end Jesus’s life no matter what the consequences were?
Many of you aren’t going to like my answer to that question, but God set them on that path of disaster.
That’s right. The entire denial of Jesus as the Messiah was orchestrated by God.
This was all planned before the world was even created. That’s why all those prophesies about Jesus were so accurately fulfilled.
Events in our lives are just as orchestrated by God today. Yes, even the ‘bad’ things that occur.
I’m not suggesting Satan has no part in these evils. He relishes every chance he can take to bring us down.
I’m sure he was at the height of his glory when Jesus died on the cross. But, his victory was short-lived.
His victories now should be just as limited.
Trust me, I know the pain and anguish of Satan’s schemes. I’ve been the recipient of a few of them in my life. They’ve stopped me in my tracks at times.
But, I didn’t let them stop me for long, and neither should you.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a breath, gather your reserve and take the next step forward.
That type of perseverance does two things: it builds your character and it makes Satan run away. He may come back, especially if he feels you’re a threat to his kingdom, but James 4:7 states that if we resist the devil he will flee.
Satan wants our setbacks to push us back. That’s why we must determine to move forward.
If you find yourself in a truly abusive situation do whatever you can to get out. The person doing the abusing isn’t being helped by being able to continue with such injustice. When they see consequences for their actions they may change. If they don’t change don’t go back. Move forward from where you are now.
God can change anybody by the power of His Holy Spirit if the person wants that change. If they prefer to continue to give control of their life over to Satan then you must flee.
All things are working together to make good in the end.
The best good I can think of is a full kingdom for Jesus.
Let’s bring as many people there as we can.
I’ll see you later. Wade