by Yalanda Merrell, Director of Audience Engagement
When I was in high school, I could read and study math problems all day and not “get” them. It just made no sense to me. I knew lots of things, but I couldn’t grasp these concepts. When I was at the point of giving up, I would finally call my teacher, Ms. Smith, over and she would explain even a tiny detail that seemed to open my eyes. It all fell into place. I understood it. It was like an “a-ha” moment!
But unlike math, in life, sometimes those “a-ha” moments of realization make us see things for what they truly are. And we might not like what we find.
“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet” (Matt. 21:33-46).
The chief priests and Pharisees had an “a-ha” moment. They realized they were a part of the story, but they didn’t like what they were hearing.
They eventually pieced together the main characters represented in this parable from Jesus:
• Householder — God
• Vineyard — nation of Israel
• Husbandmen — Jewish religious leaders (priests and Pharisees)
• Servants — faithful prophets and priests
• Son — Jesus
• Other husbandmen — Gentiles
In verse 41, it hadn’t quite hit them yet just how they fit in the story. However, their response was spot on when they answered Jesus about what the Lord would do to the husbandmen.
Then it was like a bell going off, waking them from their stupor. They realized what was being said. The details started making sense. But when they figured out they were the husbandmen, they didn’t like what they were hearing. It’s their response that showed their true heart and just how far away from God they truly were.
What about us? When we read a Scripture, many times, it pricks our heart. We read the devotional and we recognize, “Hey, this is talking about me!” But what is our response? Do we humble ourselves before God and seek forgiveness? Or do we puff up with pride and blow it off? Do we question, “Who is God anyway to do this or that? What kind of God does this, or allows that? Who is He that thinks His authority is greater over me? I’m in charge of my life. I’m going to do what’s right for me.”
How we respond shows our true heart. A repentant heart shows the work of Christ within us. A boastful, arrogant heart shows we are nothing more than the Pharisees that claimed religion but truly did not know salvation through Jesus.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23-24).
Is this your prayer today? Or is it like that of the Pharisees and your heart grows angry toward God?
God loves you and desires a deeper relationship with you. If you’ll only humble yourself to His authority and Lordship over your life. Why? Because He is worthy! Nobody — not you, not me — no one is worthy. All of our good is nothing but filthy rags. He alone is worthy!
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11).
I pray you’ll bow today!