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"Come Unto Me" - Day 20

Come Unto Me – Day 20

Welcome to “Come Unto Me” as we journey together through the gospel of Luke. Let us pray: Gracious God we thank you for the Living Word that gives witness to the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. May your Holy Spirit open our souls to this Living Word. Amen

Tuesday, August 18 / Luke Chapter 20

What follows is a devotional from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church on the Parable of the Wicked Tenants that was posted during Lent. May this be a blessing to you as we reflect on the events of Holy Week.

"Jesus spoke this parable on the Tuesday of Holy Week. He’s already made his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem and the heat on him from the Jewish leaders has never been hotter. They want to rid of the earth of him; he is making very direct and pointed calls to them to see the error of their ways and repent.

Jesus tries to illustrate their history of rejection by telling the parable of tenant farmers in a vineyard. A man bought a vineyard and then leased it to tenants who would take care of it, in exchange for a portion of the fruit. The owner of the fruit sent his servant to collect what was due him only when it was the right time. But the tenants completely rejected the servants the owner of the vineyard sent. Not only did they reject them, but they treated them horribly, abused them, and hurt them severely.

It doesn’t take long for us to connect the dots. If the vineyard owner is God, and the tenants were the children of Israel, then the servants that God sent were his prophets. He sent them time and time again with his Word, yet the people didn’t want to have anything to do with God or what he said or what he thought. They wanted to do their own things, so they, at best, largely ignored the messages God sent through them. At worst, though, they abused the prophets and even killed them. We heard just a couple of weeks ago Jesus say, dripping with irony, that he was in no danger in Galilee, because “surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem.” Time and again the children of Israel had taken God’s servants and abused them.

Haven’t we done the same? Haven’t we taken God’s Word and run roughshod over it? We often live like a thankful Christian here at church, and then things change when we leave those doors. We change our language around our coworkers so that crass joking and foul language is on our lips. We nod along with God’s law and gospel here and set it all aside in our lives, because we’re really just going to do what we want to do anyway, regardless of what God says. Perhaps we’ve had a run in with a pastor or teacher, and dismissed what they said or trampled all over them because we didn’t think the way they thought. We want to just blend in, look like good little tenant farmers, but then when push comes to shove, we beat down God’s servants and the message they bring from him.

So what’s the solution to that? We stop dismissing God’s Word and actually listen to it. We might not like everything that he says, but much of the message is positive for us. And even the things that we might initially view as negative, we realize that, in the end, they are all for our eternal good. Why does God expect a share of the crop, as it were? Why does he expect a life of thanksgiving? Because of all he’s done for us.

Jesus, God’s own Son, died for our sins. He took our insubordination on himself and paid the debt we owed because of it. Jesus perfectly listened to God’s commands, even when it meant that he had to die, so that you and I would be forgiven of all the times we haven’t listened. Jesus took the punishment that we vile tenant farmers deserved on himself so that we do not get what’s coming to us. God will not come and destroy those tenant farmers and give the vineyard to others; he will bring us to eternal life because our sins are gone.

And thanks be to God for that!"

Let us pray: "O God, our eternal redeemer, by the presence of your Spirit you renew and direct our hearts. Keep always in our mind the end of all things and the day of judgment. Inspire us for a holy life here, and bring us to the joy of the resurrection, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen" (ELW Prayer Time after Pentecost - Lectionary 32C)

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