THE PARABLE OF THE WICKED HUSBANDMEN
"Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet." -- Matthew 21:33-46
It is a serious mistake for anyone to read this parable and say, “That applies to the Jews. It has no reference to me.” This parable addresses us just as fully as it did the priests and Pharisees to whom it was originally spoken. The message of the parable is obvious. It warns us of the danger of despising gospel privileges. Those who despise the privileges of the gospel are courting the wrath of God! There are three specific lessons to be learned from this parable.
God sovereignly and graciously bestows upon some the opportunities and privileges of public worship which he withholds from others. God chose Israel alone to be his peculiar people. He separated them from all other nations. He counted the Jews to be his vineyard. He planted it, hedged it about, dug a winepress in it, and built a tower in it. God established his worship in Israel alone. He gave his law, his ordinances, his altar, his Word, his prophets, and his manifest presence to no other people. Even so, today God sends his Word to some and withholds it from others as he sees fit (Matt. 11:20-27; Acts 16:6-7). The greatest blessing God can ever bestow upon any people is to establish his Word and his worship in their midst. How thankful men and women ought to be who, in days of spiritual famine, have the privilege of a faithful gospel ministry (Amos 8:11-12).
Yet, multitudes, like the Jews of old, despise the privileges God gives them. God gave Israel his Word; but they mingled with the heathen and learned their works (Psa. 106:35). God sent his prophets to the Jews; but they would not hear them. He showed them the path of righteousness and life; but they chose the way of sin and death. God revealed himself to them in the pillars of cloud and of fire, in the rock, and upon the mercy-seat; but they turned aside to idols. At last, God sent his Son; and they crucified him. But, before condemning their base ingratitude, we ought to ask ourselves - What are we doing with the privileges God has given us? We have his Word. Do we seek to know it? We have his ordinances of divine worship. Do we avail ourselves of them? We have his people in our midst. Do we choose their company?
If we despise the kingdom of God, (his Word, his worship, and his people), it shall be taken from us! Better that we should have meat and drink, or even health and life taken from us than that we should have the Word, worship, and people of God taken from us. But all who despise God’s kingdom are in danger of losing it (Rom. 11:21). As God took the light away from Israel and left that nation in darkness, so he has taken the light of his gospel away from many communities and nations who once possessed it, but came to despise it in time. I wonder how we would react if we knew we were in danger of having the kingdom of God permanently taken from us, our neighbors, our children, and our children’s children. Would that be a matter of great concern to you? If so, read Revelation 2:4 and 5 and lay to heart the warning Christ gives.
Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #641
2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 606-236-8235 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org