Sunday, October 8, 2023

Vineyard Restored, Vindication Of The Son

The parable of wicked tenants and the vineyard is told as a prophecy and a promise, not as a perennial life lesson for all people. For us today it is a lesson about how Israel is God's family, but how God also reconstituted Israel around Jesus, who is both the murdered Son and the rejected Cornerstone of the story. After the vindication of the Stone in the Resurrection, the vineyard (God's family) is under new management, the Son, and not under the tenants anymore. The people of Israel are still invited back into the vineyard, but with the new badge or passcode*, for there is "salvation for everyone who believes, the Jew first and then also the Greek." (Rom 1:16)

The horrific news out of the Holy Land this weekend, and the horrors that have afflicted that region for years, remind us of real, physical struggles that have marred the Promised Land for millennia. These were contests about land, ethnicity, power, independence, historic rights...the very concerns on the minds of many visitors to Jerusalem during that first Holy Week. We always must "pray for the peace of Jerusalem." (Psalm 122) But love and solicitude for the people living "between the Sea and the River" must not make us uncomfortable to tell the story of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, for the Prince of Peace and His family are the greatest hope to end discord in our world, even two thousand years later. 

* “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what are we to do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” (Acts 2:36-39)

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