October 2, 2005 - Pentecost +20

Matthew 21:33-46

33 Listen to another example: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a hole for the winepress, built a watchtower, leased the vineyard to tenants and then went to a distant country. 34 When harvest time came, the land­owner sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the harvest. 35 But the tenants seized his servants, beat one, killed another and stoned another.

36 Again the owner sent more servants, but they were treated in the same way.

37 Finally, he sent his son, thinking: 'They will respect my son.' 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they thought: 'This is the one who is to inherit the vineyard. Let us kill him and his inheritance will be ours.' 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

40 Now, what will the owner of the vineyard do with the tenants when he comes? 41 They said to him, "He will bring those evil to an evil end, and lease the vineyard to others who will pay him in due time."

42 And Jesus replied, "Have you never read what the Scriptures say? The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing; and we marvel at it. 43 Therefore I say to you: the kingdom of heaven will be taken from you and given to a people who will yield a harvest.

44 (Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and it will ground to dust on whom it falls.)"

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these parables, they realized that Jesus was referring to them. 46 They would have arrested him, but they were afraid of the crowd who regarded him as a prophet.

= = =
Notes from [The Community Christian Bible

Luke • 20.9 How many confrontations between Jesus and the leaders of Jerusalem. In 20:19, Luke says: They feared the people. Is it a fact that the Jews of that time, their teachers of the Law and their priests were any worse than we are today? Or are we mistaken when we dream of a Church without persecutions and controversies?

Not all of us must experience the oppositions Jesus met. He chose for himself this crucifying way because it is the highway to God.

= = = = = = =
Comments by Wesley

1. GOD says, "They will respect my son." It is interesting and instructive to read this sort of comment as, "They will respect my creation." As we look around we find that the stewards of earth have not done a good job. In fact we have raped and killed off one part of creation after another in order that we might inherit the proceeds of creation right here, right now.

When we are careless about creation we are careless about the poor, we are careless about GOD, we are careless about war, we are careless about our children and their children, we are careless, simply careless.

2. It is this carelessness that leads us to the callousness to kill whatever gets in our way of immediate profit, immediate pleasure, immediate prestige. We will avoid sharing our accumulated resources by controlling our estate to avoid taxes and will spin the slightest controversy to take whatever estate of someone else we can.

3. The one hope is that we will realize what is going on, that this story touches each person in a way that reveals how natural is a theology of prosperity for self and persecution for others. Church folk need to pay particular attention to a realization of how we have been intentionally ignorant of the economic and political pillaging of creation, how we have played our part in consuming the vineyard. We may yet join the unchurched in choosing to hear the prophet and changing our ways.

Sermon Index | wesleyspace Home