Let’s take a moment to chat. Tell me something about yourself. What has God shown you about His kingdom these last couple weeks? Have you found yourself worrying less? What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have a degree in trombone performance. I’ve played jazz, classical, and I’m even on a ska album somewhere. I love the books Watership Down by Richard Adams and Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. That’s a little about me.
When I was writing the original book version of this devotional, I started with a little personal chat on day 15 because I thought I didn’t have much to say about the parable for the day. It turns out I may not have understood my own emotions, as you’ll see midway through Jesus’s parable.
“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine growers, and went on a journey. And when harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. And the vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them. But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
(The son represents Jesus. I realized at this point that I might not have thought I had much to say about this passage, might have put off typing it out by talking about ska music, because the next part makes me too sad to contemplate. They will respect my son.)
But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and seize his inheritance.’ And they took him, and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?” They said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Did you never read the Scriptures, ‘the stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes?’ Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” And when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking to them.
Jesus knew he would be rejected and killed. This story makes me want to run back in time and explain to the chief priests and Pharisees, but it says here that they understood. Later in Matthew, (23:13) Jesus says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men.” He told them what they were doing. I probably could not have convinced them. So what can we do? Only make sure we maintain our citizenship in the globally scattered nation producing the fruit of His kingdom. To be sure, tell others, too, but we can’t go back in time and make all those who came before us build on the cornerstone, we can only move on from here.
I do still want to hear from you. How is your daily search for the kingdom going? Are you worrying less? Are you journaling? My kingdom phrase with which to replace my worry thoughts today is THE KINGDOM IS GIVEN TO THOSE PRODUCING THE FRUIT OF IT. What’s yours?
*New American Standard Bible verses used in the paperback version of this devotional with permission from The Lockman Foundation.