“Wanted: Faithful Tenants in the Vineyard”
& Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ The Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS, 26 May 2013
21:33 Listen to another parable:
There was a man – a head of a household – who planted a vineyard
and put a fence around it and dug out a winepress in
it and built a tower,
then he leased it out to farmers and went abroad.
21:34 Now, when the appropriate time for the fruits drew near,
he sent his servants to the farmers to get his fruits,
21:35 but the farmers got his servants,
one of which they beat up,
one of which they killed,
and one of which they stoned.
21:36 Again he commissioned other servants – more than the first ones,
and they acted likewise toward them.
21:37 Then later he sent his son to them, saying, “They will be ashamed
before my son!”
21:38 However, once the farmers saw the son, they said among
themselves, “This is the heir! Here, let’s kill him and seize his inheritance!”
21:39 So after getting him, they threw him out of the
vineyard and killed him.
21:40 Therefore, whenever
the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?”
21:41 They say to Him, “He will maliciously destroy those malicious men
and lease out the vineyard to other farmers which will pay him the fruits in
21:42 Jesus says to them, “So, haven’t you ever read in the scriptures,
‘This stone which the builders rejected, became the
it was by the Lord that this happened, and it is
marvelous in our eyes’?”
21:43 On the basis of this I’m telling y’all that the kingdom of God
will be removed from y’all and will be given to a
people which is producing its fruits,
21:44 and the one who falls upon this stone will be smashed,
and upon whomever it happens to fall, it will blow him to smithereens.
21:45 And upon hearing His parable, the chief priests and the Pharisees
knew that He was speaking concerning them,
21:46 yet, as they were seeking to grab Him, they were frightened of
the crowds since they were treating him like a prophet.
In the early 1980’s, the country of Jordan had a king by the name of
Hussein bin Talal. One night, King Hussein was informed by security forces in
his palace that a large group of army officers were in the barracks nearby,
plotting a coup d’état. His bodyguard suggested that the security forces immediately
surround the building and arrest those army officers for treason. The king,
however, decided upon a different plan. He asked for a small helicopter and a
pilot, then told his bodyguards to go home. That evening, he flew to the roof
of the army barracks. As he stepped out of the helicopter, he instructed the
pilot to fly away immediately without him if he heard gunshots. King Hussein
then walked down the stairs and into the room where the officers were plotting
his overthrow and addressed them in this manner: “Gentlemen, it has come to my
attention that you are meeting here tonight to finalize your plans to overthrow
the government, take over the country, and install a military dictator. If you
do this, the army will break apart, and the country will be plunged into civil
war. Tens of thousands of innocent people will die. There is no need for this.
Here I am! Kill me and proceed. That way, only one man will die.”
King Hussein chose total vulnerability in the face of violence. The
room went very quiet for a while, and then suddenly, all those army officers
came forward and kissed the feet of their king.
Although the ending of the story is different, the parable that Jesus
told of the tenants in the vineyard presents a similar situation where a
nobleman chooses grace and vulnerability in the face of violent opposition. “[T]he story is one of the most
beautiful and touching ever told… depicting sin
most unreasonable and love
incomprehensible!” ~William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary
21:33 Listen to another parable:
There was a man – a head of a household – who planted a vineyard and put a
fence around it and dug out a winepress in it and built a tower, then he leased
it out to farmers and went abroad.
ωρυξεν εν αυτω
- At the beginning of chapter 20, Jesus spoke
similarly of a man who owned a vineyard. The KJV calls him a
“householder,” the NASB, NIV & NKJV a “landowner,” and the ESV “master
of a house.”
the wording of this parable, Jesus alludes to the parable in Isaiah 5:
“There was a vineyard belonging to my beloved in a rich promontory. And He
dug it and de-stoned it and planted gourmet-vines and built a tower in the
middle of it and also hewed a winepress in it, and He anticipated for it
to make grapes, but it made sour-grapes.” (cf. Isa.
61:3, Ps. 80:15, Jer. 2:21)
- Now, in Jesus’ parable, the vineyard represents
generally the interests of God on earth, and the caretakers represent the
spiritual leaders God ordained to look out for His kingdom interests,
which, in Jesus’ day, was the Jewish priests and elders.
- The landowner built a φραγμον hedgeKJV/fenceESV/wallNAS,NIV
to mark out the boundaries and make it harder for critters or thieves to
- One commentator I read (Marvin Vincent) suggested
that the hedge would be made of thorny wild aloe plants.
- He also set up the equipment necessary to turn
the raw product of grapes into juice. The wine press was a stone hollow on
which grapes were laid for workers to step on and squish the juice out of
the grapes. The juice would then run down into a deeper hollow where jars
were placed to collect the juice. (cf. Mark 12:1 “dug a vat under the wine press”)
- He also built a tower. This tower was a place
where the vine-tenders could get out of the direct sun and watch out for
critters or thieves to keep them out of the vineyard. These sharecroppers
may have also lived there in the tower.
- This landowner is like God, who takes measures to
protect His people (Job
1:10; Zech. 2:5) and to equip His people with all that they
need to be successful in obeying Him (Heb. 13:21 “equip you in every good thing to do His
- Finally, the owner εξεδοτο
letKJV, ESVv.41/ leasedNKJ,ESV/ rentedNAS,NIV
his new vineyard to γεωργοις
– literally “earth-workers” (geo +
ergos) husbandmenKJV/ vinedressersNKJ/ tenantsESV,NIV
(later)/ vine-growersNASB/ some farmersNIV
the vineyard owner “went into another/far country”KJV,ESV/“went
[away] on a journey”NAS,NIV.
- This verb απεδημησεν is a compound of two Greek words meaning “away from” and
“population,” so I like the translation “he went abroad.”Hendriksen
the same as what the Prodigal son did (Luke 15:13 – απεδημησεν
- as well as what
some of the good guys in Jesus’ other parables did (Matt. 25:14-15).
- And Luke 20:9 adds that it was “for a long time.”
21:34 Now, when the appropriate time
[season] for the fruits drew near, he sent
his servants to the farmers to get [collect] his fruits,
‘Οτε δε ηγγισεν ‘ο καιρος των καρπων απεστειλεν τους δουλους αυτου προς τους γεωργους λαβειν τους καρπους αυτου,
- The use of the word καιρος
to describe the time that the owner sent for his share of the vintageNKJ
indicates to me that he had a specific contract with these sharecroppers.
They had agreed ahead-of-time that a certain percentage of the cropNIVv.41
– the fruit KJV,ESV,NIV (later) – or the juice from those
grapes – would be given to the owner, and the rest of the harvestNAS,NIV
could be kept by the sharecroppers, and they had agreed upon times at
which those shares (produceNAS (later)/ proceedsNASv.41) would be paid. (You
can actually see one of these lease contracts in the last chapter of the
Song of Solomon - 8:11-12.)
21:35 but the farmers got his
servants, one of which they beat up, one of which they killed, and one of which
δουλους αυτου ‘ον
μεν εδειραν ‘ον
δε απεκτειναν ‘ον
- They seizedNIV/caughtKJVv.39
the owner’s emissaries, and the ones they didn’t kill they “sent back
empty-handed” (Mark 12:3 & Luke 20:10).
- There seems to be a play on words. The servants
came to “take out” the fruit, but instead the sharecroppers “take out” the
- Later on, Jesus will lament in Mat. 23:37a “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!”
- The great prophet Isaiah is believed to have
been sawed in two (Heb. 11:37),
- Jeremiah was thrown into a dungeon and fed
nothing but bread and water (Jer. 38:6),
- The same happened to Micaiah (1 Kings 22:27),
prophet Zechariah the son of Jehoiada was wrongfully stoned to death by
King Joash (2 Chr. 24:20-22),
- The prophet Uriah ben Shemaiah was murdered by
King Jehoiakim (Jer. 26:20-21),
- 2 Chron. 36:14-17 “Furthermore, all the officials of the priests and
the people were very unfaithful following
all the abominations of the nations; and they defiled the house of the LORD which He had sanctified in Jerusalem. The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His
messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling
place; but they continually
mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His
prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no
remedy. Therefore He
brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans who slew their young
men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion
on young man or virgin, old man or infirm; He gave them all into his hand. (NASB)
- The Pharisees probably shared some blame in the
martyrdom of John the Baptizer too, whom they could have sprung from jail
if they had used their political influence.
this point, we get a surprising insight into this remarkable landowner.
Not only was he capable at starting up a vineyard and negotiating
contracts, he also had a shockingly gracious character.
21:36 Again he commissioned other
servants – more than the first ones, and they acted likewise toward them.
- Imagine if you owned a house and rented it
out to a tenant, and then paid a courier to collect the first month’s rent
from the tenants, then got a call from the police that your tenant had refused
to pay the rent and had shot the courier dead on the doorstep of the
house. Would you say to the police, “That’s o.k. Let me handle this one.
I’ll just send another courier – or maybe even one of my kids – around to
get the rent”? No way! I’d be asking the police to evict that criminal
from my property and prosecute him for murder!
- But the landowner is a picture of what God is
like. He seldom brings judgment immediately; He usually gives time and
opportunity for people in rebellion to repent and get right with Him.
If they respond appropriately during this grace period, their offenses
will be forgiven and they will be returned to a blessed relationship with Him.
- So instead of sending out the police, this
landowner sends another batch of servants – greater than the first.
- Most scholars interpret the word “greater” as
meaning that a larger number of servants were sent,
- but it could possibly mean that servants of greater
social status were sent.
- Either way, he is trying to use more compelling
measures to convince these tenant farmers to give him his share of the
- But did they respond appropriately to their
second chance to fulfill their contract with the landlord? No. They threw
rocks at, beat up, and killed these messengers too!
- Surely the news of this would send the landowner
running for the police to bring these evil men to justice!
- “What will he do with his anger? … Will he allow
his enemies to dictate the nature of his response? He is in a position of
power. Retaliation is possible and expected. But is further violence the
only answer? … To the amazement of the reader, he reprocesses his anger
into grace.” ~Kenneth Bailey
- He delays the just punishment they deserve, and
in an amazing display of grace gives them yet another chance.
21:37 Then later he sent his son to
them, saying, “They will be ashamed before my son!”
τον ‘υιον αυτου
τον ‘υιον μου.
- The parallel
passages (Mark 12:6, Luke 20:13) add that this son was “beloved”
- Here, at the midpoint of the story is the climax,
and it is often at such a climax that Jesus introduces a soliloquy from a
main character in his parable.
- Here, the landowner says, they will “feel shameBailey/
or have reverenceKJV/respect for my son.” The Greek word entrapesontai is passive, and literally
means to “be turned inward.” It has to do with turning from shame to
Hendriksen, in his Bible commentary suggests that it could be translated,
“they will turn themselves about, being ashamed...”
- Now, parables have shortcomings in that not every
detail perfectly matches between the story and real life. In this case,
the owner of the vineyard can only hope for a good outcome from
sending his son, whereas God the Father, who is represented by the owner, knows
all things, and it was actually part of his plan for His son to die. But we
get back on track with the parallels in the parable because the son does
21:38 However, once the farmers saw
the son, they said among themselves, “This is the heir! Here, let’s kill him
and seize [take] his
ιδοντες τον ‘υιον
ειπον εν ‘εαυτοις
‘Ουτος εστιν ‘ο
αυτον και [κατα]σχωμεν
21:39 So after getting him, they
threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
εξεβαλον εξω του
- These tenant farmers may have been acting with regard
to a statute in the Mishnah about usucapation (or “squatter’s rights”).
- Chapter 3 of the Baba Bathra states, “A presumptive title to houses…
olive presses, irrigated fields, slaves, and anything which is continually
producing is conferred by three years unchallenged
possession … If a man harvests his grapes, gathers in his olives, and
culls his figs, this counts as three years.”
- So, in the parable, this was the third harvest
which the landowner would fail to collect, therefore, the farmers may
have been hoping that they could make a case in court that the vineyard
was theirs by the legal right of usucapation.
- However, it is ludicrous for these tenant-farmers
to think that they could inherit the vineyard simply because they killed
the son. Killing the heir would not mean that the vineyard goes
directly to their ownership; instead it will make the owner mad
enough to send the police after them! When
we are bent upon doing wrong, often our logic goes out the window.
- They are acting as though the landowner does not
exist just because they hadn’t seen him in a while. How many of us act
like God does not exist – as though He will not hold us accountable for
our rebellion against Him?
- In his book, Jesus through Middle-Eastern Eyes,
Kenneth Bailey noted that these farmers were shrewd. They knew the customs
of the Jews that if the son was murdered inside the vineyard, all the
crops would be considered ceremonially unclean, and they wouldn’t be able
to sell the grape juice or wine in the market, so they murdered him outside
- Mark’s parallel
account (12:8) appears to have them killing the son first and then
throwing him out of the vineyard.
- Although the order
doesn’t make a difference in the parable as a story, Jesus was taken
outside the city wall of Jerusalem before He was crucified (Heb. 13:12), so
Matthew and Luke’s sequencing of the son’s death outside rather
than inside the vineyard is the more striking.
- It’s possible that
Mark switched it around to be in climactic order – rather than
chronological order – to emphasize the heinousness of the crime: “They
killed him, and this in the most shameful manner, casting him out of the
vineyard as an accursed one.” (William Hendricksen)
- At any rate, in this story, Jesus gives yet
another prophecy of His coming death to show that it was part of God’s
plan and not an accident. Then He ends
His story with a question:
21:40 Therefore, whenever the owner [lord] of the
vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?”
‘Οταν ουν ελθῃ ‘ο
- The question Jesus puts to the priests and elders
would be the sort of legal settlement they were accustomed to judging,
because that was their role in society. So they hand down their verdict as
to what would be just in this case:
21:41 They say to Him, “He will
maliciously destroy those malicious men and lease out the vineyard to other
farmers which will [render/give] pay him the fruits in their seasons.”
Κακους κακως απολεσει
αυτους και τον
- There is a poetic device in this response where
the same root word (kakos in
Greek = which means “bad”) is used both as an adverb describing how
he would destroy and as an adjective describing who he would
- The KJV didn’t
attempt to bring it over into English, but rather renders it “He will
miserably destroy those wicked men” and the ESV follows suit.
- The NAS and NIV do attempt to carry over this
poetic device with “He will put those wretches to a wretched end” which
is also what I also tried to do even more literally with “maliciously
destroy those malicious men.”
20:16 records the horrified response of the Jewish leaders as they glimpse
the ramifications of what Jesus is saying. “May it never happen!” they
say, recoiling at the possibility of God destroying them and offering that
special relationship with Himself to others. But Jesus keeps staring them
down (Luke 20:17) and driving the point home, using Scripture as usual:
21:42 Jesus says to them, “So,
haven’t you ever read in the scriptures, ‘This stone which the builders rejected,
became the corner-stone; it was by the Lord that this happened, and it is
marvelous in our eyes’?”
‘ο Ιησους ουδεποτε
ταις γραφαις Λιθον
- This is a quote from the Greek Septuagint of Psalm
118:22-23 (117 in LXX)
- It’s the Psalm that the people of Jerusalem had quoted upon Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord!”
- Imbedded in that very Psalm are prophecies not
only of the triumph of the Messiah but also of His rejection.
This “stone” – which is initially rejected and later becomes the
cornerstone – is Jesus the Messiah (cf. Isa. 28:16).
- Jesus admonishes the Pharisees to think about that
- I like what Matthew Henry says at
this point in his commentary, “We lose the benefit of what we read for
want of meditation.” When
you read the Bible, to you meditate on what it means and how it applies
to your life?
- Although this is a
specific prophecy David made about Jesus, it also is a statement about the
way God normally works.
- In the case of Israel, a despised and backward ethnic group “became, in a very true sense, the head of the
nations” (William Hendriksen).
- The Apostle Paul
described the same principle at work in the New Testament church in 1 Cor.
1:26-29: “For y’all see your calling, brothers, that not many were wise
according to the flesh, not many were powerful, not many were
upper-class. But it was the stupid ones of the world God chose for
Himself in order that He might put down the strength of the wise men, and
it was the weak ones of the world God chose for Himself in order that He
might put down the strength of the strong, and the ones without class of
the world and the ones that have been despised God chose for Himself and
the ones who do not exist in order that He might put out of commission
the ones that do exist, so that all flesh might not boast before the face
of God.” (NAW)
would fulfill the prophecy of Psalm 118 for Jesus, the Son of God to be
and killed, as indeed happened that passion week, but the Psalm also goes beyond
that, to speak of the glory of His resurrection and enthronement as
king afterwards, using the figurative language of a “head/chief of the
corner”KJV – or in Greek, κεφαλην γωνιας.
- In architectural terms this would be the “cornerstone”
– the foundational first stone to which the direction of the
entire wall is oriented and upon which the weight of everything
above it is held up.
- (The NIV seems to envision it as the “capstone” of
an archway, which also works.)
- It indicates a place of prominence (Acts 26:26)
and is translated “chiefs” in one other Bible passage (by Brenton from the LXX of 1
Sam 14:38), indicating prominent political leaders upon
whom the city depended for leadership and direction.
- This was a warning to the leaders of Jesus’ day
that they were making a big mistake by rejecting Jesus in favor of others
to provide foundational leadership for the kingdom and people of God. Jesus continues:
21:43 On the basis of this I’m
telling y’all that the kingdom of God will be removed from y’all and will be
given to a people which is producing its fruits,
λεγω ‘υμιν ‘οτι
αρθησεται αφ ‘υμων
‘η βασιλεια του
- Ever since God had employed His “divide and
conquer” strategy among the 70 language groups created at the Tower of
Babel (in Gen. 11) by choosing (in Genesis 12) to bless all the other
nations through Abraham, the descendents of Abraham – the Jews – had special
leadership responsibilities in the kingdom of God.
the Apostle Paul stated in the book of Romans, the Jews were “entrusted
with the oracles of God” (3:2) and “to them belongs the adoption as sons,
and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises”
this was conditioned upon their faithfulness with such things. The priests
of Jesus’ day were not faithful with the spiritual privileges which
had been entrusted to them, and so their benefits were going to be taken
away. (1 Thess. 2:14-16 “…extreme wrath has come upon them.”)
- The Greek word for “nationKJV/people”
here in v.43 is the word ethne,
which connotes a different ethnicity from Jews.
- 1 Peter 2:9 uses the same word (ethne) to denote Christians –
including Gentiles (1 Pet. 4:3) from all over the world (1 Pet. 1:1) – who
would comprise that holy nation.
- And in Rom. 11:11b it
says, “…But through their [the Jews’] fault, this salvation will be for
priests and elders pronounced their own judgment in the conclusion of the
parable. Because they had mistreated God’s messengers and would kill God’s
son, the privilege of leading God’s people would be removed from them and
given to the non-priestly-class of apostles and passed along to Gentile
believers as the church grew throughout the world. Furthermore, the temple
and the nation of Israel would be totally destroyed in 70A.D.
notice what would characterize the new leaders in God’s kingdom: they
would be bringing forthKJV/ bearingNKJ/ producingNAS,NIV,ESV
the fruits of the kingdom of God.
- The word “it” in v.43 (or “thereof” if you’re
reading the KJV) in Greek is feminine in gender, and the only feminine
noun to match that in the sentence, is the word “kingdom,” so that’s what
it refers back to – the kingdom fruits which I expounded a little while
back as being faith, love, and disciples.
21:44 and the one who falls upon this
stone will be smashed, and upon whomever it happens to fall, it will blow him
πεσων επι τον
εφ ‘ον δ’ αν πεσῃ
is a loose summary
of the Hebrew text of Isaiah 8:14-15 – here’s the actual text of the
prophecy: “It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your
fear, And He shall be your dread. Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to
both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the
inhabitants of Jerusalem. Many will stumble over them, Then they will fall
and be broken; They will even be snared and caught. Bind up the testimony,
seal the law among my disciples.” (Isa. 8:13-16, NASB)
- What does it mean to fall upon the stone
and be broken to pieces/smashed?
- It’s like a man that decides he’s going to drive
his car through a rock wall. He climbs into his big, fancy car, rev’s up his
engine, and takes off toward that wall at top speed. Then SMASH, he hits
the wall. The rock wall doesn’t budge, but something has to give, with
all that input of kinetic energy, and it ends up being that car which
squishes flat as a pancake against that rock.
- This is exactly
what the old priest Simeon prophecied to Mary shortly after Jesus’ birth,
(Luke 2:34) Jesus was “appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel.” Some would fall out of their
places of honor as a result of the changes Jesus would bring into play,
and new people, like the 12 apostles, would rise to honor among the
people of God.
- The Greek word sunthlasw shows up several times in
the Psalms describing God’s punishment of the wicked:
- Ps. 58:6 God has
crushed their teeth in their mouth: God has broken the
cheek-teeth of the lions.
- Ps. 68:21 But God
shall crush the heads of his enemies; the hairy crown of them
that go on in their trespasses.
- Ps. 74:14 Thou didst
break to pieces the heads of the dragon; thou didst give him for
meat to the Ethiopian nations.
- Ps. 110:5 The Lord at thy right hand has dashed
in pieces kings in the day of his wrath.
- Ps. 110:6 He shall
judge among the nations, he shall fill up the number of corpses, he
shall crush the heads of many on the earth.
- Some say that’s
just the Old Testament, but here Jesus is saying that this kind of stuff
is still going to happen in the New Testament!
- Commentator Matthew Henry describes it this way,
“Some, through ignorance, stumble at Christ in his estate of humiliation;
when this Stone lies on the earth, where the builders threw it... The offence they take at Christ,
will not hurt him, any more than he that stumbles, hurts the stone he
stumbles at; but it will hurt themselves; they will fall, and be broken,
and snared (Isa. 8:14; 1Pet. 2:7-8). The unbelief of sinners will be their
ruin. Others, through malice, oppose Christ, and bid defiance to him in
his estate of exaltation, when this Stone is advanced to the head
of the corner; and on them it shall
fall… This Stone cut out of the mountain without hands, will
break in pieces all opposing power, Dan. 2:34-35.”
- The Greek verb here, λικμησει,
translated “grind them to powderKJV/ crushESV,NIV/
scatter like dustNAS is actually the word for winnowingVincent
– throwing threshed grain up into the air and letting the wind blow away
- The focus is not on
the action of crushing into powder but rather on the subsequent action of
the wind scattering the pieces away from the spot.
- With the advent of gunpowder, we might say he is
like a bomb, and if He falls on you, He will blow you to smithereens and
there won’t be any pieces left to pick up.
- When Jesus comes again out of heaven on his
white horse with His sword and His hosts of angels, nobody is going to
get away with refusing to bow down to Him.
21:45 And upon hearing His parable,
the chief priests and the Pharisees knew that He was speaking concerning them.
αρχιερεις και ‘οι
Φαρισαιοι τας παραβολας
αυτου εγνωσαν ‘οτι
21:46 yet, as they were seeking to
grab Him, they were frightened of the crowds since they were treating him like
- Even though the priests and elders understoodNAS
what Jesus was saying, they thought it was a bunch of hogwash – a grand
lie on Jesus’ part.
- Rather than fear the judgment of God which Jesus
threatened, they were afraid of what other people thought (cf. v.26).
- Rather than turn in shame from their opposition
to the Son of God and honor Him, they hardened their resolve to lay hands
- They preferred to play politics and preserve
their earthly power rather than ponder the Psalm and the tectonic
spiritual shifts and blessings the Messiah was inaugurating.
Conclusion: What about you? How can we apply the
lessons Jesus put to the priests and elders?
- Respond when God gives you a
- When you realize that you did something wrong
and yet God did not strike you with a lightening bolt, stop and confess
your sin to God and take steps to remove that sin from your life.
- At some point His
anger will reach fullness, and there will be no more second chances.
- Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek Jehovah while He is to be
found, call Him while He is to be near. Let the wicked forsake his way,
and a man of iniquity his thoughts, and let him turn to Jehovah and He
will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will be great to
Fall upon that grace now while He
still extends it to you!
- “What then ought
they to have done on hearing these things? ought they not to have adored,
to have marvelled at the tender care, that shown before, that afterwards?
But if by none of these things they were made better, by the fear of
punishment at any rate ought they not to have been rendered more
- Re-process anger into vulnerable
grace when other people offend you.
- “Believers who rely
on [the promises of God] scorn the perverse pride of men and cheerfully
rise above it.” ~John Calvin
- God says, “Be kind to one another,
tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has
forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32, NASB)
- and, “Let your graciousness be known to all people;
the Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5, NAW) God is close to you, so He
sees the outrageous things that other people have done to you, and He
will not leave the guilty unpunished, in fact, His return is soon, and
justice will soon be settled.
- Take comfort in that knowledge, and train your
hearts to act like God does during His grace-periods. We can line up with
Christ our cornerstone and be graciously patient in the face of
opposition. We can give other people
that all you have is a gift from the Lord; act like a
steward rather than an owner.
- Treat your things, not as possessions to
bring you comfort, but as resources available for whatever God’s
kingdom might need.
- “[N]othing so urges men headlong and drives them
down precipices, nothing so makes them fail of the things to come, as
their being riveted to these decaying things. Nothing so surely makes
them enjoy both the one and the other, as their esteeming
the things to come above all. For, ‘Seek ye,’ saith Christ, ‘the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.’” ~John Chrysostom
- “The Jews thought
the Kingdom of God abode with them as by hereditary right, and so continued
obstinately in their vices without a care. We have suddenly come into
their place, against natural order: far less will the Kingdom cleave to
us if it is not rooted in true godliness.” ~John Calvin
- 1Pet. 4:10 “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving
one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (NASB).