#0056 Therefore I (JESUS) tell you that the KINGDOM OF GOD will be taken away from you (CONSERVATISTS) and given to a people (LIBERALS) who will produce its fruit.

Links relevant to today’s post…

Scripture relevant to today’s post…

The Parable of the Tenants

33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone the builders rejected

    has become the cornerstone;

the Lord has done this,

    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

Matt. 21:33-43 (NIV)

Today’s scripture follows immediately on the heels of the one we used in the last posting. In that one, Jesus was using the story of a man and his two sons as he tried to get them involved in the work he had going on in his vineyard. That story was very basic and easy to grasp its meaning…judge someone by their actions, not their words; or talk is cheap. Jesus concluded that story with this warning: those who were considered sinners or social outcasts are getting into the Kingdom ahead of you (those of you who claim to be God’s people and who project the appearance of godliness. In Jesus’s day those were the Pharisees; today those people are the self-righteous Evangelicals on the religious side and the politically conservatist types who are supposedly separate from religious circles. In the scripture story today Jesus extrapolates on this same concept as He introduces more elements into it. The setting is still the vineyard but it is described with more depth of detail as the lesson Jesus is attempting to bring seems to be much broader in scope. Wherein the last story featured only three characters and could be mistakenly interpreted as a lesson focused on the individual person (personal salvation); this story features several characters and therefore is almost certainly implying a group of people who are of a kind; that is who share a belief system or ideology (political and/or theological in nature). This implication is borne out in verses 42 and 43 when Jesus suddenly seems to change direction and begins to talk about the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. At first this illustration seems to be out of place with the rest of our story until you go back to the opening verse 33 where Jesus is describing the vineyard…

33“…There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers…”

He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Each of these three projects incorporates the building process which would have necessitated the use of a cornerstone. These three illustrations are symbolic of a type of community structure such as the Church or a government. In the story it Jesus infers that this community has been overtaken by the tenants and its policies and practices have been overwritten by them. When Jesus is talking about this cornerstone, he is referring to Himself. This is a well-known verse to those Pharisees and Jesus is well aware of this fact. In essence Jesus is delivering a message of warning to the Pharisees (and not just those individuals to whom He was speaking—all Pharisees, everywhere, for all times; including the self-righteous conservatists of today). His message is this: You had your chance and you usurped and confiscated my vineyard (Church) and there will come a time for vindication. That time is now. It’s interesting how Jesus involves the Pharisees into the telling of these parables which are directed at them.

40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

Even in their answer, they still the essence of who God is and what His nature is all about.

41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

Jesus gives them the correct answer to His question in verse 43…

43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.

In the links today we see Donald Trump getting strong support from a white supremacist super PAC and we see the further adventures of Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan. I wanted to include the Donald Trump link: White Nationalist Leaders Robocalling Iowa Voters to Support Donald Trump to show Trump’s true colors and ask, once more, how the Evangelicals see him as a viable candidate who can accurately promote their Christian interests. Here is a quote from that article:

 Here’s a transcript of the 50-second call:

“The American National Super PAC makes this call to support Donald Trump.

‘My name is Reverend Ronald Tan, host of the Christian radio talk show program For God and Country. First Corinthians states: God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise and God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. For the Iowa caucuses, please support Donald Trump. He is courageous and he speaks his mind. God Bless.’

‘I’m Jared Taylor with American Renaissance. I urge you to vote for Donald Trump because he is the one candidate who points out that we should accept immigrants who are good for America. We don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture. Vote Trump.’

‘I am William Johnson, a farmer and a white nationalist. Support Donald Trump. I paid for this through the super PAC. [Telephone] (213) 718-3908. This call is not authorized by Donald Trump.'”

In the second link: Flint resident: City still sending water bills go to the 4:20 time code to see the reference to the water bills and shut-off notices being issued to the residents of Flint for their poisoned water as Snyder is still focused on balancing the da*n budget. I’ll leave it up to you, the reader to draw your own parallels between our scripture and these two links. Next time I want to continue with this parable in Matthew 21.

TBC: Sunday, January 17, 2016

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