DO YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO SAY WHO IS REALLY BOSS?
1 Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a wall around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenant farmers and went to another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenant farmers to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. 3 But they arrested him, and flogged him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 And again he sent another slave to them; this one they knocked on the head and insulted. 5 Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they flogged, but others they killed.
don’t shoot the messenger
Hey, world: we are flesh and blood like you are. If you have a problem with something we say, don’t take it out on us. We are just trying to be faithful to the One who gave us the message. We are sorry if you don’t like what you hear, but we cannot help but say it. The fact is, you do not own that vineyard you have been living off. It is a blessing from the owner, and we know him. He has sent us with a message you don’t want to hear. You can mistreat us if you want to – even kill us like you have killed many of our brothers. But that will not change the ownership of the vineyard.
Jesus was directing this particular parable to the religious leaders of Israel. He was pointing out the uncomfortable truth that they had a track record of mistreating and killing the prophets who came to them with an authentic message from God.
This generation has a large group of hostile tenant farmers as well. They may have even abandoned any real belief in a sovereign God, but their actions are the same as those first century religious elite. Try to tell them that they are accountable to this God they reject, and they will laugh at you. Prove it to them, and they will seek to destroy you.
LORD, give us the courage to defend your right of ownership of today’s vineyard – even if the cost is great.
 δέρω (12:3, 5; 13:9)