POWER OF STORYTELLING

Opening Prayer

Thank you, Merciful Father, for the gift of prayer, for receiving my praises, but also lovingly welcoming my heart’s cries of doubt, of confusion, of confession; you will never turn me away.

Read LUKE 20:9–19

The Parable of the Tenants

He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. 10 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. 12 He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.

13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’

14 “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

“What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!”

17 Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone’[a]?

18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

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Footnotes

  1. Luke 20:17 Psalm 118:22

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Meditate

‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’1

Think Further

Jesus is a great storyteller. His stories teach us about the kingdom of God2 and he also uses them to respond to the religious leaders. After witnessing him cleanse the temple and seeing him teach there, the chief priests, scribes, and elders confronted Jesus by questioning his authority to do such things (v. 2). The hostility toward Jesus had been escalating since he entered Jerusalem, to the extent that the religious leaders plotted to kill him.3 Here, Jesus responds to the religious authorities by asking them whether the source of John the Baptist’s authority was God or not (vv. 3, 4). Placed in a dilemma, the religious leaders refused to answer (vv. 5–8). Jesus continued by telling the story of the vineyard owner and his tenants to state his point.

Through this parable, Jesus made it clear that the religious leaders had failed to submit themselves to God’s rule. He also exposed what was deep within their hearts. They were self-centered. Their willful disobedience and stubbornness had blinded them to the work of God. As a result, horrible consequences awaited them. The temple was not too far from destruction when the most important part of the building, the cornerstone, was rejected. This was fulfilled in 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed the temple.

The religious leaders certainly did not fail to understand what Jesus was saying. They plotted, for the second time since Jesus entered Jerusalem, how they might lay hold of him (v. 19).4 Their ultimate rejection of Jesus would soon climax in his crucifixion.5 In our Christian discipleship, have we been like the religious leaders when we intentionally ignored God’s voice speaking to us through his Word? Will we be willing to repent of our ways and seek God for forgiveness?

Apply

‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’6

Closing prayer

Jesus, with the hymn writer, I confess that I am prone to wander.* Please keep my heart stayed on you. Help me to be faithful to you in everything I do.

Last Updated on March 14, 2024 by kingstar

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