|Saturday, July 21 2012|
The parable of the vineyard tells us the fate of Israel:
He began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey. At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant. And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully. He sent yet another whom they killed. So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed. He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, 'They will respect my son.' But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What (then) will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others. -Mark 12:1-9, NAB
The vineyard parable tells us the story of God and His people, Israel. God, the landlord, gave the promised land, the vineyard, to Israel to manage and take care of, but their wickedness overcame them. Time and time again, God sent the prophets to Israel, but Israel rejected them.
As God sent many prophets, servants in this parable, to Israel, they were rejected, beaten, and even killed. Running out of options, God sent His son to the people - hoping that it would change their heart. Unfortunately, they rejected Him too.
After rejecting God's own Son, Jesus Christ, God took the land from Israel and gave it to others. And, this was about more than just land; it also dealt with the Covenant between them. Israel betrayed the Old Covenant, and God would now extend a New Covenant beyond Israel.
Now, we have the benefit of the New Covenant, but have we been better stewards than the Israelites? Many continue to reject God, despite being shown the Truth. The Church has even split from the original one, true Church and become a sea of different denominations. Israel violated the Covenant, and now, so have we. What fate awaits us, then?
Just as judgment awaited the Israelites, judgment surely awaits us, as well. God has given us the vineyard, and we need to cultivate and grow the crops of the field. Some of us have been working long hours in the field; others have trampled the vines under their feet. The time will come when we must account for the produce of our own, personal vineyards.
We don't know the time or hour, but we know that we will, one day, be held accountable. Have you been putting in long hours at the vineyard - cultivating a rich, beautiful faith - or have you spent more time focused on your own personal gain? The choice is up to you. Only you will be held accountable for your actions.