Jesus is the Son of Man
Don’t Be a Wicked Tenant
All right! Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 20, if you will. As I often say, if you do not have a Bible or if you need a Bible, please let me know after the service and we will work to get one into your hands.
So, we are continuing in Luke’s Gospel where we left off a few weeks ago. Jesus is in Jerusalem, finally, and Luke has been building towards this. Jesus is approaching the end of his earthly ministry and the battle lines are being drawn.
Jesus is continuing to emphasize that you are either with Jesus or against him. There is no neutrality, there is no gray, there is simply black or white. With or against. You either believe he is the Messiah or you don’t.
Even in that, we see that Jesus keeps giving people the chance to repent. He offers them opportunities to change their mind, to come to know him and believe in him.
And yet they challenge him. They refuse to believe and continue to challenge him. And so, he challenges them back. He points out the inconsistencies in their logic, which, by the way, we all have. And Jesus continues to show them the eternal consequences of their choices.
When we last left off, the Pharisees, the scribes, the elder, etc., were all challenging Jesus authority. On whose authority are you speaking and acting, Gods or your own?
Jesus didn’t answer them the way they wanted or in the format they wanted, but his answer was very clear. My authority, my power is from God himself. And Jesus makes it clear, by rejecting me and my authority, you are rejecting Gods messenger, Gods message and, ultimately, God himself.
With that, let go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 20, verses 9 through 18. As always, Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. Regardless of which version you read, I do encourage you to grab your Bibles and follow along as we read from Gods Word.
Luke 20:9-18, The Holy Spirit inspires Luke to record:
And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. 10 When the time came, he sent a servant[b] to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. 13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” 17 But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?[c]
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.
So, Jesus follows up his confrontation with the scribes, the pharisees and the religious leaders and he tells them this parable. And the commentators are right in that this is much more of an allegory than a parable. In a parable, typically, there is a main point being established and the details are not always a perfect match to someone or something in real life. They are there to support to big, main idea.
This parable is different in that all the individual parts equate to someone or something in real life. Again, when you are reading the parables of Jesus, this is not normal. It is easy to over analyze the parable and draw conclusions that were never meant to be drawn.
This one is different, as I said, more of an allegory and one commentator even calls is a “prophetic autobiography” from Jesus. Jesus, in telling this parable, is essentially asking those challenging him Do you realize what you are doing, and do you understand what the consequences are?
So, God created the World and his kingdom and within the world, he planted a vineyard. Numerous Old Testament passages show that the Physical Nation of Israel, the Physical descendants of Abraham are considered the vineyard of God. He has planted them to bear godly fruit and to be a blessing to the world.
God them established priests and religious leaders in Israel to Steward and to cultivate the vineyard. These were the tenants we see in the parable. As one commentator writes:
The leaders were supposed to cultivate the people by giving them good spiritual care—feeding them, pruning them, and protecting them. They were supposed to love the people of God the way a winemaker loves his vineyard. This would be for their blessing and Gods Glory.
Now, we know that the leaders weren’t doing this. They were taking spiritual liberties with the people. They were keeping the glory for themselves. They were keeping the authority for themselves. They were neglecting the crops, the vineyard that had been entrusted to them.
And God, the landlord, sent messenger after messenger to the tenants and wanted to remind them to show the landlord his due respect, to pay their dues to him. He wanted the tenants to stay on mission and take care of and cultivate the crops that were in their care.
As we read through the Old Testament, we see that God sent prophet after prophet to the nation of Israel and to the leaders to remind them, to scold them, to encourage them to show the LORD his due respect, showing him their faith. He wanted them to live like he told them to and be the light and the blessing they were supposed to be. The messengers and the prophets were there to tell the tenants and the spiritual leaders to get back to doing what they were supposed to be doing.
They didn’t like what the messengers were there for. The tenants in the parable beat up and sent away every one of the messengers that was sent to them by the landlord. They didn’t want to be accountable to the landlord, to the owner. They wanted to own the land and to be the authority.
Sounds a lot like today if you think about it. People’s human nature is that they don’t want to be accountable to God. All the way back to the Garden of Eden, where the serpent was able to convince Adam and Eve that God didn’t really want what was best for them, that they should reject Gods authority and lean on their own understanding. And it’s been that way ever sense.
And we see that in society after society in world history. When a society lives by Gods rules society just works better. Don’t get me wrong, a society living by Gods rules does not make it a Christian society. Outward morals do not make changed hearts. But society works better when submitting (whether they know it or not) to Gods authority. Israel learned that over and over and over and over again in the Old Testament. God kept sending prophets to remind them. HE gave them chance after chance. And they killed them all.
After the first time this happened in verse 10, the owner would have been well within his rights to evict the tenants or even take much stronger measures against them. But he gave them chance after chance, showed grace upon grace.
Just as God had every right to reject and evict Israel, after they rejected his messengers, his prophets, instead, he showed them grace upon grace, giving them chance upon chance to repent.
And after all these chances, the owner in the parable, finally, in verse 13, decides, I will send my Son. He is the heir of the vineyard. The tenants will have to listen to Him.
As God the Father had planned in eternity past, along with The Son and the Holy Spirit, the Father would send the Son, Jesus Christ, heir to the Kingdom, King of this world. Israel should listen and believe in Him.
But we see in verse 14 that the tenants didn’t want to deal with the Son. They thought they were more worthy than the Son. They were worthy of having and being in charge of the vineyard. You can almost imagine, within the context of the parable, the tenants thinking and believing that they were THE most worthy of the vineyard. After all, the owner chose them to steward the vineyard first. IF the Son was as worthy of respect and to be listened to, the owner should have put him in charge in the first place. We should kill him, get him out of the way and then its all ours. We will then have the rights to the vineyard.
And God sent his Son to Israel. We have seen Jesus telling the religious leaders throughout the Gospels, you are not stewarding the people of God well. You are not listening to God. You are not submitting to his authority. You are not respecting me.
They didn’t like his message, not from the beginning. He was telling them that they were not the heirs. They had no inherent right to be in possession of the vineyard, or of the Kingdom of God. Just because they were tenants, that didn’t make them the landlords. Today, in California, we would say that there are no squatters’ rights in relation to the Kingdom of God.
There is only one way to have any rights in the Kingdom.
John 1:12 & 13:
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And in Galatians 3, Paul makes it clear that it is the spiritual descendants of Abraham, not the physical descendants of Abraham that will inherit the kingdom. Galatians 3:29: if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Those who accept and receive the Son, those who submit to the father, those who submit to the owner of the vineyard, those are who will be received by the Father, by the owner of the vineyard. Those are who will be co heirs with the Son.
But those who reject the Son, also reject the Father.
And in the parable, the tenants do reject and kill the Son and therefore the reject the owner. Its almost as if they thought that this would be a knockout blow for the owner. That if they sent his son back, dead, that he would leave them alone and turn the land over to them. That the owner would recognize that they know better than he does.
IS that how any father you know would react? Is that how any father would respond?
Jesus tells them, in the parable that the owner will come and destroy those who reject his son and those who reject his authority. He would then give the land to those who do accept Him and his authority.
No matter who you are, no matter what you are born into, no matter how much your family goes to church, if you think you have any right, if you think you in any way deserve to be a part of the Gods eternal kingdom, you will be sorely disappointed. You will be rejected because you rejected the Son and therefore rejected the Father.
Those who were listening didn’t like this. They couldn’t accept this. They say in verse 18, “Surely Not!” Remember these were the people that Jesus was talking to in verses 1-8. These were the ones who wouldn’t answer when Jesus asked if John the Baptists ministry came from God or from Man. They were the ones who were trying to trap and destroy Jesus and his ministry. They were the gate keepers. They were the truthbearers. They were the ones who knew the scriptures inside and out. They were the ones who were so holy, they added laws and rules onto what God told them.
Our God would not do that! Not the God I Worship!
I wouldn’t believe in a God like that!
I can’t imagine God would do that!
This mindset is all over today. Again, that human nature, since the fall, we create a God in our image, instead of recognizing that we are created in Gods image.
That God we create is a God of love and mercy, but without holiness and justice. He is a God of tolerance and grace, but without calling for conviction and repentance.
When we create a god in our own image, we think I have every right.
I am the right ethnicity.
I am the right Nationality.
I am the right religion.
I am loving, nice, kind, moral, accepting, giving, generous, tolerant, whatever else is held up as the single, defining attribute.
When we create a god in our own image, all of those things, whichever ones apply to ourselves, that means that I deserve to be a tenant of the vineyard and I deserve to inherit the vineyard.
Surely God would not destroy those doing so called Good Works or those living according to His rules as we define them.
Jesus rebukes this idea and these thoughts in the harshest of terms. He looks them square in the eyes and quotes scripture right back to them.
During Jesus entry into Jerusalem, the people were shouting out passages from Psalm 118, and now Jesus quotes the same Psalm to the religious leaders.
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?[c]
Jesus was showing them that yes, this was a reversal of accepted values, but that this is consistent with scripture. He says, YOU ARE REJECTING ME!
I am the cornerstone! I am the chief building block.
Both Peter and Paul affirm that Jesus is the chief cornerstone in their writings.
He says, I AM the one who brings life, who brings grace, who brings mercy, holiness, everlasting perfection.
But for those who will reject me, you reject the very foundations of Gods kingdom. For those who reject the foundations of heaven, He will bring eternal punishment and destruction, perfect justice and holiness and wrath.
He says, if you reject the cornerstone, it will crush you.
Now, to combat the Us vs Them that is so easy to manifest in us. “Man, I wish so and so would hear this…” No, each and every one of us, we all need to hear it, over and over. Because we can so often trick ourselves and lie to ourselves.
Its so easy to hear this and say, “Yeah! Them!” Even David had this problem. Back in 2 Samuel, the prophet Nathan confronted David over his sins regarding his affair with Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah killed.
I highly encourage you to go home and read that passage, 2 Samuel 12, but one commentator sums it up, writing:
Nathan confronts David regarding his relationship with Bathsheba and the cover-up of their affair. The Lord had commanded Nathan to share a story of a rich man who took and killed a poor man’s only lamb. David was justifiably angry at the injustice (verses 5–6). Nathan then answered, “You are the man!” (verse 7). David had blood on his hands. He was guilty of killing Bathsheba’s husband as well as committing adultery. God brought judgment upon David for his sin, including the death of his and Bathsheba’s child. However, David repented, was forgiven, and remained king.
Make sure you are examining yourself. Make sure you are on the right side of your salvation. Make sure that you are working it out with fear and trembling. Accept and believe in the Son whom the Father has sent.
Remember who He is and what He has done. That he is indeed the Son. He is the one who gave himself as a ransom for the many. He is the one who died to pay the penalty for our sins. He is the one who was raised from the dead to defeat death.
He is the one, who in his immeasurable riches and mercy, brought us from dead in our sins to alive in Christ. And he is one who tells us to Trust in the Son and receive the Father. Believe in the Son and become a child of God, become a co heir with Christ and become a citizen of the heavenly, eternal kingdom.
Jesus tells us this is the new covenant and that we are to remember this often as we get together.
We see what this remembrance should look like in Luke 22, verses 19 & 20:
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[c]
This is what we do every First Sunday of the month. We are going to this with partaking of bread and juice symbolizing his body and blood and with reflection.
Now, I ask that if you are not a Christian, if you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, please just pass the elements along. There is nothing magical about it. There is nothing special about it for those who do not believe that Jesus Christ gave his broken body and his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. There will be no pressure and no judgment. Again, like we said earlier, don’t play the part, don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
Stemming from that, Communion does not save us, it does not cleanse us, it does not do anything along those lines. It has no power to keep us clean or to restore our relationship with God, only Jesus can do that. This was given to us by Jesus for the purpose of remembering. Remembering who Jesus was. Remembering what Jesus did for us. Remembering how much he loved us and remembering just how big of a deal our sin really is. It is meant to be sobering and somber, but at the same time it is meant to be a celebration.
Thirdly, we are told that we need to come and participate with the right heart. As I said, we do this in remembrance of what he gave up for us, the sacrifice he made. We do this because we remember how big of a deal our sin is, that he died on the cross for it. We need to make sure that our hearts and minds have their hearts set on what’s important and that we seek God’s forgiveness and make our relationships are right with him. In addition to a tradition becoming too important and placed above the word of God, tradition can become bad is by it losing its meaning and becoming simply a ritual. Please take some of this time to reflect on what this tradition means and to make sure that you are prepared to receive. There will never be any judgment if you choose not to participate, and just pass the plate.
We have individual cups that contains both the wafers, which symbolize Jesus’ broken body on the cross. His Death that pays the penalty for our sins. It also contains the juice, symbolizing the shed blood of Christ, which purchases our eternal life in Christ, through faith.
First, we will take the wafer together. Afterwards, we will take the juice together and we will be united together under the cross and blood of Jesus Christ. I will pray and we will come to the LORDs table.