Ed and I recently discussed how, occasionally, some people will not learn even with lots of hints or more drastic measures. So, one can only hope that when life presents us with challenges and decisions to make, we will not be so focused on ourselves that we miss the attempts of God to have us consider Him and how we might stumble or fall.
Sometimes we feel we know all we need to know. We all become comfortable with what we do and think. If we are in a leadership position, we may become confident that our ways are the best or only ways. Our attitude can keep us from learning and may block God’s truth before us.
Jesus tells a parable to the Pharisees in Luke 20:9-19 because they were angry at him for once again challenging their leadership by his actions. However, the Pharisees could not just ignore Jesus. The people held him as a prophet, and the people of Jerusalem had welcomed Jesus into their city with palm branches waving and even the children singing to Jesus, “Hosanna to the Son of David.”
After an entry of triumph into the city, Jesus went to the temple courts, and there he overturned the tables of the money changers. He told the people, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” (Matthew 21:13)
The Pharisees demanded of Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things?” Jesus told them the parable of the tenants. In the story, a landowner leased out his vineyard to tenants expecting them to pay him rent at harvest time. When he sent several servants to collect the rent for each harvest, the tenants maltreated them and refused to pay what was owed to the owner.
The owner was impatient with his tenants’ response to his servants, so he sent his son, thinking they would honour him and pay up. Unfortunately, they killed the owner's son, thinking that the vineyard will be theirs when the owner is dead without an heir. At the death of his son, the owner came and killed the evil tenants and leased his vineyard to trustworthy renters ready to pay their rent.
The Pharisees understood Jesus was saying they were the evil tenants unwilling to honour God or His Son. Jesus, as the Son of God, made it clear he knew they were set on killing him as they had rejected and killed other prophets before Jesus. The Pharisees were unwilling to consider that all the signs and wonders that Jesus had accomplished before them were so they could see God’s leadership of His people was changing and they needed to accept it.
Some need to stop ignoring and rejecting God and His Son. Some need to stop being as self-assured as the Pharisees. In the parable, the landowner (God) was extremely patient, giving the tenants many chances to honour him and share with him what was rightfully his. The tenants did not own the vineyard, but they could have enjoyed it and paid the owner what was due. Instead, they brought about their own destruction. May we turn to God in humility and openness to learn from Him before his patience is ended.