Are You Surprised? By Mike Knerr
Lately I find myself being extraordinarily angry! (You can insert your own #&$^!* words here if you like) As I write this, it is one day after the President’s rant at the National Prayer breakfast I find myself saying, “How can such awful behavior not be obvious to everyone?”
In particular, in response to a call to ‘Love our enemies’ and work with those with whom we disagree, I heard the President say, “I have to disagree with you there” rejecting the very words of Jesus in front of people of faith.
The parable speaks to me today. We hear the story, Jesus asks the question – ‘What will happen next?’ The conclusion is obvious. In fact, it is so obvious that the audience has to have been thinking, ‘Were these tenants crazy? In what world does killing the owner’s son result in the renters getting to take the son’s inheritance? This is the craziest plan I’ve ever heard of.’ Which is true –it’s a totally ridiculous plan and anyone not in on the plan knows it will never work.
And yet, the tenants do it anyway. How can people proceed with such a poor plan/reject what is clearly good? (This is what makes me #$%@&! everyday!)
Jesus comes back with another question, “Have you not read in the Scriptures?” (Which I take to mean, ‘Are you kidding me? Why are you surprised? Don’t you read the Bible? – but Jesus seems kinder than me)
‘The stone that the builders rejected….. – from Psalm 118.
Why am I surprised? Would I not be so angry if I were not so surprised? I suspect so.
Matthew 21: 33-43
‘Listen to another parable. 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. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So, they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They said to him, ‘He will put those wretches to a miserable death and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.’
Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes”?
Therefore, I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.