12/4/12 Michelle Howell, (C’15)
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Heaven forbid!” But he looked at them and said, “What then does this text mean: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” -Luke 20:9-18
The parable of the evil farmers illustrates the all-knowing God that created us. Through this scripture we are able to see the amazing knowledge that Jesus possesses and how the experience of the crucifixion was known to him from the beginning. The story significantly symbolizes what was occurring in Israel at that time, and the parable indirectly answered the religious leaders’ questions about Jesus’ authority.
Jesus showed the unbelieving leaders through this parable how ignoring these prophesies was dangerous. The leaders had no trouble interpreting this, but they still wanted to have him arrested.
The verse that is most empowering for me is v. 18, “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
Today, the word “broken” has a negative connotation. However, when God uses the word, he discusses how not only is brokenness good, but it is also essential. He uses only people whose hearts, desires, and pride have been broken. Jesus warns that those who stumble over the stone on their own “will be broken to pieces,” whereas the stone will crush anyone it falls on and will crush anyone who does not submit to being broken. God offers a choice of being “broken” and those who cast themselves on Jesus, submitting their wills and all that they are to him, will be broken by him of arrogance, heartlessness, and selfishness. It is not a pleasant process for one to go through, but perhaps it is necessary.