Read: Thursday Luke 20v9–19
He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.
“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’
“But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
“What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”
When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!”
Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.
Meditate: In Jesus’ time there were several stories and songs that were ingrained in the culture. One of those stories comes in the form of an old poem about God’s vineyard (Isaiah 5). It’s a lament: God has planted a vineyard, but it has gone bad. The thorns and thistles have taken over. All because the people of Israel had exchanged justice for violence, and uprightness for wickedness.
But Jesus tells it with a new twist. The owner of the vineyard has lent it out to some tenant farmers and instead of the vineyard going bad, it’s the tenants. So the vineyard is transferred to new ones.
Then Jesus quotes another well-known song, this time the dream-filled vision in Daniel 2, which speaks of the stone that will crush all opposition and then become a mountain that will fill the whole earth.
Why is he talking in these riddles, rooted in Scripture but with a new twist? Because something new is happening. Something so massive, dangerous, and unbelievable that the only way you can describe it is through these old songs and stories.
Pray: If this parable were to be told today, who would be the tenants, and what would Jesus be saying to them?
Engage: Eat only one meal today of rice and beans. During the other two meal times, pray for the hungry of the world.