Jesus then began to speak to them in parables:
“A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
This is one painful story. I can feel my skin crawl in annoyance over what those tenants did. But as I look around me, I see how Jesus’s words apply to every generation that has been, especially mine.
I look around and see the dealings of our modern-day church and how many at the helm of affairs have become the tenants that either attempt to or have already ‘killed the Son’ to inherit the vineyard. Church has become a potential multigenerational franchise and business venture where the focus can be completely on the deep words and quotes of those who grace the pulpits and sign the cheques. They are the reason for every gathering and the reason for every scattering, and the Son, who is the owner of the vineyard appears to have lost His inheritance.
“What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. v9
If you are reading this and the Holy Spirit convicts you of such, it’s not too late to hand the keys back to the rightful owner. And if you happen to find yourself in such a gathering where you cannot sense the presence of the rightful owner, you may have walked into a crime scene.
At the centre of our gatherings, giving, service and worship is Jesus, and Jesus. Alone.