Print this Page

“I’m in charge here”

He [Jesus of Nazareth c. AD 30] 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. When the time came, he sent a servant 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. And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 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.’ And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” 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’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” Luke 20: 9-18
A new year is good time for taking stock, for assessing the things that surround us and shape our lives. What constantly surrounds me? What is shaping my life – often without me realizing it? 

In the final few days before his death by crucifixion (and his rising again) Jesus brought to the attention of those around him all of these major basic factors. Another of them (see the previous two Infos) is part and parcel of the incident recorded by Luke, the historian, writing around AD 62. What third basic but highly influential factor in people’s lives is identified in this incident?

The people whom Jesus addressed were the people of Jerusalem. Jesus’ parable likened all those people to tenants of a vineyard. The vineyard’s creator resided in another country but sent servants to receive “some of the fruit of the vineyard” which he had planted.  

‘The rejection of God’s authority is, in fact, claiming his authority as my own.  It is an attempt to be God.’ (Paul David Tripp, writer)
The parallel develops with unperturbed pace. Not only are the first servants sent by the man who planted the vineyard beaten and sent away empty-handed but also the second and third servants are wounded and cast out. The vineyard creator receives nothing except returning injured servants.

The man who planted the vineyard then sends his “beloved son”.  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.’ And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

What, then, is the intangible thing which is the key motivator in the minds and hearts of these tenants? A secondary motivator is undoubtedly greed. But what is the primary motivator? What major thing within them is a deal-breaker? Something which they will not give up no matter what?

Try this for size. Is it “authority” and “increasing authority”? They are tenants of the vineyard. They have authority over it. The vineyard planter strictly has authority over the tenants and seeks some of the fruit. No. No – we’re in charge. I’m the boss of my life.

We all know what the people of Jerusalem in AD 30 did to Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Son of Man. Was the vineyard taken away from them? Exactly 40 years later – AD 70 – Jerusalem was razed to the ground. A Jewish rebellion against their Roman overlords (authority again) was fiercely and cruelly put down with a huge loss of life. The Jerusalem Temple was totally destroyed.

'"Thus says the LORD" is typical of the Old Testament, but Jesus' characteristic expression is "Truly, truly, I say to you." The difference is significant. Jesus appealed to no other authority as He spoke to men of the deep things of God.’ (Leon Morris, Australian writer, 1914-2006)
Authority? Two further thoughts.

First, today people often say (in pursuit of their own authority over their lives), “How can you believe in a Creator God? You can’t have read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. You’re deluded.” That book has sold millions of copies. John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University has written a rational response “Gunning for God” (available from the Christian Bookshop, Central Market and elsewhere). Lovers of their own authority will not want to read it.

Second, authority is the primary aggravator on both sides in today’s marital and relationship breakdowns. No wonder Jesus gave authority such prominence in the last few days before his death. The wonder is that he allowed authority to take away his life. Why did he do that? 
Sinner Syvret

Email this newsletter to a friend
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Friend`s name
Friend`s email address *
Your name
Your email address *

Send comment
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Your name *
Your email address *
Your comment *