Vineyard Paradox

grapes“A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.
“Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not even read this Scripture:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away. Mark 12:1-12
Here we find Jesus giving a picture of God’s dealings with Israel. The vineyard is his people – Isaiah 5 gives a more extensive vineyard picture and the lengths to which God went to bless his people. But in this case Jesus is demonstrating a much wider picture of all the prophets that God sent to his people and how they were ignored, beaten and killed.Then the owner of the vineyard sent his beloved son and the men who leased the vineyard murdered the son and cast him out. The whole scene is a picture of God dealing with the people. But the last straw was the owner sending his son, his beloved son. Jesus asks the obvious question, but also quotes Psalm 118:22-23. Here is the principle, the stone (Jesus) that was rejected by the religious leaders was the foundation of God’s kingdom. There is no other, only He is the foundation. This is a progressive principle throughout the Bible that culminates in the life of Christ. And yes, it is marvelous and beautiful! But it is also a principle that continues through his people.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12
If you are blessed, you will be persecuted. This is a fact that escapes modern Christianity. But there is more to it than that. While yes our reward is in heaven, we will do good and great things if we walk with God. We just should expect that persecution is part of the package in this life. Very often God blesses the ordinary, the mundane, the every day stuff. And we miss it! The world will reject us if we follow Jesus, but just as He did many good works, so can we.
Jesus did not choose his apostles from the educated elite or the wealthy, he choose ordinary fisherman. And you may think that rejection in this life is all there is, but really our sufferings are a gateway to the impossible. God performs the most outstanding and impossible feats by the most ordinary and unimpressive people. In I Kings 18, the prophet drenched the wood in water before Yahweh set it our fire (fire from heaven!) Jesus performed few miracles where they knew him or in the temple. Most of his miracles were performed in the “marketplace” or along the road. God created you do mighty works for him, but you have to get over yourself. Everyone will not accept you and you will suffer, but that suffering opens the doors and the gates to God’s blessing. The greatest gift we will ever receive was accomplished through the tremendous suffering of the perfect Lamb. And the gift God will give through you will likely involved suffering. But that is just the beginning, suffering opens the door to God’s blessed kingdom and it is marvelous.

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