Scripture —  Matthew 21: 33 – 39

“Listen to another parable.  images

There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34 When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce.  35 But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way.        37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’   39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.


This is what I refer to as one of Jesus’ “in-your-face” parables.   If they don’t realize it immediately, the chief priests will soon grasp the symbolism that Jesus is using.  The vineyard was a common metaphor in Old Testament scripture for the nation of Israel.   God is the owner.   The first slaves sent by the owner (God) were the prophets,  and Jesus of course is the son.

This is a passage that reminds us during this Lenten season of the tremendous conflict that is brewing.   Jesus, as always, is aware of what lays before him — a grisly death.   He won’t shy away from it.  He has his work to complete, for you and for me, for the world.


Dear God,

As we move through these Lenten days, help us to be mindful of the cost of your love.   Help us to remember how your Son confronted the powers of the day and did not flinch.   Help us to live, in our own circumstances and situations, with a touch of such bravery.