For those of you who have followed my blog from the beginning: Thank you. You know I don’t write unless I feel truly moved to do so. This is definitely one of those times. I just finished listening to The Parable of the Tenants in Chapter 12 of Mark, and was instantly jerked awake. I literally got chills, and felt that God was trying to tell me something. The Parable of the Tenants, not to be confused with The Parable of the Talents, is in Mark 12:1-12. Before reading more of this post, take a moment and read the parable here.
Before I listened to this parable, I genuinely asked God in my heart to help me see whatever it is that He wants me to see, if anything. And boy did He! Usually I listen to or read chapters of Scripture expecting to learn, or write something down to remember. But every once in a while, God smacks me in the face! Most of the time, those rare “Godsmacked” moments are joyful, peaceful and deeply profound. They sometimes even move me to tears!
This time though, God’s message to me seemed ominous. Like He was not only warning me, but the rest of the world. Especially when we ridicule, mock, hurt or kill those who tell the truth that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Right away, I understood that the vineyard owner in the parable was God. Next, I understood each servant the vineyard owner sent to the tenants, to be any voice of truth that preaches the Gospel. These voices were the Old Testament Prophets, Jesus Himself, and any true Christian who walks the Earth today.
In the parable, what is the reaction to each of the servants the vineyard owner sends? They’re beaten or killed. What is the reaction to the son of the vineyard owner? He’s beaten and killed. To me, this represents what happens when the world receives a person who tells the truth that Jesus preached, taught, and literally embodied while He walked this Earth.
The world hates the truth. It doesn’t want to hear it. Or if it does, it only wants to hear the sunshine and rainbow, peaches and cream parts that it likes. This was as true in first century Judea, as it is in our 21st century world. The world likes the “Buddy version of Jesus” as long as he doesn’t rock the boat. Society likes the timid, agreeable Jesus that can easily be shuffled into the background if he offends somebody. The “Jesus” they know apologizes and meekly saunters away into a quiet corner. Their “make believe Jesus” is only allowed to step out of that corner when they want to hear something that makes them feel good. I don’t know who THAT “Jesus” is, but he’s certainly not the Jesus I know and love with all my heart. Society’s “Jesus” is a weak, spineless imposter!
What happens if someone shares the real, authentic Jesus? If they share the radical, sometimes fiery and controversial man who seems to delight in stepping on toes and stirring the pot, our secular, largely godless society puts its fingers in its ears when exposed to Him. As a result, when someone tells the whole truth of the Gospel, they may lose friends, be openly mocked, physically hurt or killed.
At the end of the parable, a chilling warning is given: What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture:
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?
We often scoff at the truth. I certainly have at times. It’s not always easy for us to hear and obey what God tells us through Jesus. The world often brands the people who share the Gospel as “crazy,” or “dumb.”
But the day where the vineyard owner finally returns to settle things with His tenants is coming sooner than you think. It will be upon us all without warning. Which group of tenants will you find yourself in on the last day? Will you be among the righteous ones who have done the will of the vineyard owner, or in league with the bad tenants who have rejected the truth of Jesus? Choose wisely!