Chapter Twenty Friday, December 17, 2010
Be sure to join us for worship on Sunday. Choose 8:45 or 11:00...but be sure you are there to celebrate with your sisters and brothers. Remember, our new worship schedule (8:00 ~ 9:30 ~ 11:00) starts on January 9, 2011.
Don't forget, this is the week to invite someone to join you for Christmas Eve worship. 5:00 ~ 7:00 ~ 9:00 ~ 11:00... offer to pick them up! Be sure to host them while they are at the church and then follow up with a post-Christmas conversation to see how they are doing. Don't miss this unique opportunity!
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. Luke 20:13-15
This particular chapter is filled with teaching that arrives in a culture of conflict and struggle. Jesus has now made his way into Jerusalem where he overturns the table sin the temple court. Then he begins to encounter questions, opposition, and outright threats upon his life. From this side of the cross we know the outcome is going to be difficult. But for now, let’s glean all we can from the teaching.
The Parable of the Tenants is one of those troubling, brutal, and challenging teachings that causes us to squirm just a bit. One by one the servants are beaten and thrown off the property. Finally the owner decides to solve the problem by sending one who has a different kind of authority. He sends his own son to settle the conflict. But the desired resolution does not take hold. There is no respect for the son. He is received with harshness and even death.
Jesus is directing this teaching at some of the religious leaders of the day. We clearly see a fairly direct reference to the way the life of Christ has been received and the response that is waiting for him in Jerusalem. There are difficult days on the horizon, but that does not stop the Lord.
If we take a ‘back door’ look at this parable, we can see a number of views. We can even see ourselves. Where would you be in this awkward picture? Would you be one of the spiritual leaders? Would you be one of the servants? Could you be the owner who sends his son? Perhaps you are waiting for Jesus in Jerusalem? Or would you be one of the disciples who overheard this conversation and wondered what was going to happen next?
This is the nature of Advent! Four weeks set aside to ask the kind of questions that we typically would simply avoid. The effectiveness of our time of preparation will depend on the depth of the questions we are willing to ask.