Archive for April 7th, 2019

Image result for aerial view of st patrick's cathedral

Text: St. Luke 20: 9-20

The farmers in the vineyard were tenant farmers. They were renting the land.  The owner entrusted his land to them as stewards of it, managers not masters.  So when the owner, after a considerable time, at the right time sends a servant to collect the fruit of the harvest that is the Owner’s due, the tenants proceed to beat the owner’s servant and send him away empty…as if the harvest belonged to them! Not once but three times.  What was the owner thinking about?  After one time, I would have clobbered those thugs. Just like the Father of the prodigal son, who just gives his inheritance, before his death, to his sons, I can not think myself into the Owner of the vineyard, I can’t imagine being the Owner.  We rejoice in the fact that the Lord does not think like his fallen creatures!  The owner of this vineyard is merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. His patience means repentance.  

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation—and again, The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter.

So two more times the Owner sends His servants. Jesus is recounting in a thumbnail sketch   the time of the Lord’s Sending of the Prophets. He sent His prophets.  Moses was a prophet and the formal age of the prophets begins with Elijah and lasted about 4 centuries.  With the prophet Elijah, the times had changed.  The King’s Wife, Jezebel, was a Sidonian and worshiped Baal…in Israel and Israel went along with it. Her husband, King Ahab, allowed this foul idolatry. When Elijah began preaching there was a first in Israel:  the Word of the Lord and his prophet became the minority in the promised land!  The Lord is macrothumia, translated as “patience” but actually better translated as “long-suffering” with Israel in those long centuries of the divided kingdom.  As in the parable, the Lord sent prophet after prophet. As long as there is life, there’s repentance and then hope.  Yet, when the Lord returns the time of repentance in these last days will come to an end and then the day of Judgment and the new heavens and earth.

And then at the right time, the Kairos,  the owner decides, I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.

1.When Jesus is baptized, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.

2. When Jesus is transfigured and the voice of the Father sounds forth on the mount, This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased, adding Listen to Him. 

3.  In this parable, is the 3rd time in  Luke we read “beloved son”: 

Three times…it is clear the owner of the vineyard is the Father and His beloved Son is Jesus Christ. Dearer to the Lord is His Son than even Benjamin was to Jacob. He gives His Son to the ungrateful and the spiteful.

One of the first words we learn as children is MINE.  The tenants were saying MINE. Israel really thought they owned the kingdom. And today many church bodies think they own the vineyard, the kingdom. Like this parable, it would be like if my wife and I, leasing a house, decided, let’s kill the landlord so we get the house! In what world could that happen?! Answer: In a world bent in upon itself.  Oh, the landlord has come to collect the rent, so we will kill him and get the inheritance of the building!  But as it is clear in Isaiah 5, the vineyard is the Lord’s:

Let me sing for my beloved
    my love song concerning his vineyard:

My beloved had a vineyard
    on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
    and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
    and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes,
    but it yielded wild grapes…

Then a little later in the chapter:

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
    is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
    are his pleasant planting;
and he looked for justice,
    but behold, bloodshed;
for righteousness,
    but behold, an outcry!

They killed Him, cast Him out of the vineyard…as He would be crucified outside the city walls of Jerusalem.    The builders cast Him out and killed Him, killed by both Jew and Gentile.  He was killed that the Old Adam, clinging to sin, is killed and the new creation arises in Baptism.  In fulfillment of Scripture, the stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.  The beloved Son clearly warns, rejecting Him, the beloved Son is crushing. “…how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”, as it is written in Hebrews.  “These solemn words of warning (from the parable) may well be brought to the attention of many people in our days that think the world has outgrown the old Gospel of salvation through the redemption of the blood of Jesus.”(Dr. Paul Kretzmann, his commentary on the Bible,1905)

We are included into His vineyard, His temple, as His temple, His house, His people through the blood of the beloved Son alone. In Him we are baptized, the youngest and oldest, from the first day to the last day and to the everlasting Day, the mentally able and mentally disabled, fast to learn and slow to learn, men and women, all colors and races.

Now many did listen to Jesus but have their own plans for the vineyard and for building the Church apart from His Word and His Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, the beloved Son. Psalm 3:  Salvation belongs to the Lord. Tenant Israel forgot that. We don’t own salvation, the Savior does. When the Church forgets we that too are all tenant farmers in the Lord’s vineyard, as He is the vine and we are the branches, then we think life comes from us, but it’s death.  Salvation belongs to the Lord so we belong to the Savior and love Him for His mercy and grace to us on Golgotha. The Apostle Paul owned it, that is a co-owner of Israel, Paul recited his credentials in Israel, impeccable.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— But he counted all as skubula,

When Peter confessed Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Lord said that upon Peter’s confession, “I will build my church”. He knows what He is doing. The Lord is quite capable.    The apostle Paul wrote Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the Church, not the varieties of religious and spiritual experiences everyone has had, not the pope nor Luther.  The Church is His Body, His bride for our life He died.

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Psalm 127, verse 1 and in this Psalm the word speaks of two houses:  Jerusalem and families. Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.  The Lord, in His death and resurrection, in repentance and faith, has the building plan, for His Church and for your families in the Church.  If we build either house, on our own, the results will be less than true, false…in vain. Unless the LORD builds the Church, they labor in vain those who build it.  You are His church, His Temple, His vineyard.  Look what happens when plans and modes are rushed in for the Church and the family. It is infinitely easier to build a church building, than it is the Church of Jesus Christ.  Only He can build the Church, His Body.  After Peter confessed that Jesus is the Son of the living God, our Lord declared, Upon this rock, this confession, I will build My Church.  The world has all sorts of plans for Church and family.  For the Church, the world says, why don’t you get your doctrine up to date? 

“Everything will be quite different when you as a Church cease to have such an entirely different flavor – when you cease to practice preaching which is the opposite of what the world around you preaches. You really must suit your message to the world; you really must bring your creed into harmony with the present. Then you will again become influential and powerful.”

So preached Pr. Martin Niemoller in Berlin in 1933 as the Nazis began their persecution of the Church. 

There is no plan for His Church except Him, Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit  in the glory of God the Father, the plan for Church and family laid out in the Scriptures. 

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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