The parable of the tenants

What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone…”

Mark 12:9-10

Nobody saw this Coronavirus crisis coming. In January we were looking forward to a new year and a new decade. In January I planned my preaching for 2020, I arranged for other people to come and preach during the Easter holidays. As a church we were thinking about the future hoping our reviewable tenure would be renewed. By the end of February and the beginning of March everything had changed, and nobody saw it coming.

We tend to go through life assuming things will stay the same. We never seem to be prepared for big changes. In today’s reading on the road to Calvary Jesus is warning that things are about to change, and we need to be prepared.

Jesus told the story of a farmer who planted a vineyard and then rented it out. When it came time to collect the rent the tenants rebelled wanting to keep the vineyard for themselves. They killed the farmer’s servants and eventually his son.

This story is a history of our lives. God the farmer, planted the most wonderful vineyard. This earth in which we live.

He set another part of his creation, humanity, in charge of it. (Genesis 1-2) When it came time for God to collect his rent – which was not payable in pounds, shillings and pence but in obedience to him, the tenants refused to pay.

Throughout history God sent messengers to warn the rent would have to be paid. (His prophets). We rejected each of these messengers, we abused them and killed them. Eventually God sent his son, Jesus. Still we would not listen and so we killed him as well, all the time thinking we could keep what was rightfully Gods.

The warning in this story is that one day Jesus will come again. He will reclaim his vineyard throwing out the wicked tenants. He will then give the vineyard to another set of tenants who will give the farmer what is owed.

The new tenants are the people who have trusted in Christ. We trust in Christ when we place our trust in him. This means we confess how we have deprived God of what is rightfully his, trusting that Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf atones for what we have done. As we move forward we seek to live differently. Honouring God instead of dishonouring him, all the while holding firm to the fact that it is Christ who makes our offering to God perfect.

Jesus parable and the coronavirus crisis teach us that things never stay the same forever. Change always comes and always unexpectantly. As we walk the road to Calvary with Jesus will we change now, putting our trust in him before the owner of the vineyard decides to act for himself.

Prayer Lord Jesus as we walk this road to Calvary with you, so we are reminded of the seriousness of rejecting God. We thank you that you walked this road in order that we might be sparred. Lord Jesus, we trust in you today, we confess our rebellion and trust that in you we find our place as new tenants and so will not be thrown out when the farmer returns. Amen