Monday, July 10, 2006

BE A FAITHFUL STEWARD

In Mark 12 is the parable of the vine-growers who rebelled against the landowner who had entrusted everything into their care. When the landowner expected to receive some of the fruit of the season, the unjust workers refused to pay but instead they mistreated or killed every representative sent to them, including the landowners' beloved son.
But those tenants said to one another, "This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours." 8 And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.
Jesus continued in the parable to show that the vinegrowers would be destroyed and the vineyard would be given to others.

The chief priests and scribes understood that the parable was about them. These were the same ones who in the previous chapter had asked Jesus by what authority he cleared the temple and who would not answer if John's baptism was from heaven. The religious leaders who had authority over the affairs at the temple were poor stewards. Their immorality caused them to be prejudiced against the truth and against anything just. Where there was meant to be sincere worship of God, these had turned the place into a "den of thieves."
“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” - Mark 11:17
And when they were confronted for their sin, instead of repenting, they attacked the messenger. For their poor stewardship, the vineyard would be removed from them and would be given to another.

The parable reveals the trust God has for His people. Once the landowner established the vineyard, he turned its care over to His people. He placed the responsibility of bringing forth fruit into their hands. And the landowner was patient beyond what any man would be. The parable illustrates that God is patient and just. He offered appeal after appeal, and He was longsuffering with hopes that His people would change. But there is a limit to His trust. There is a limit to His patience. God was patient in the days of Noah, but eventually He lost patience and turned to judgment. There is a certain point when God will not endure the faithless.

The Believer's responsibility today is like that of the vine-growers. Giving the vineyard to another is what Paul was speaking of when he addressed Agrippa: "Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen" (Acts 28:28) And in Romans: "What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faiht; 31but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness did not arrive at that law. 32Why? Because they did not pursuit it by faiht, but as thought it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,. . . " (Romans 9:30-31). Paul says that the Jews stumbled over the righteousness of faith in Jesus, just as in the parable the vine-growers "rejected" the stone which became the "chief cornerstone." This change meant the end of rule for the chief priests, scribes, and lawyers, and of the Law. Because they understood the threat, they connived to destroy Jesus and overthrow the plan of God. But the change also meant that the vineyard has been entrusted to those who believe in Jesus. They failed and salvation is now offered to all people who believe in Jesus.

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