The Good News of Your Inheritance (No Violence Necessary)2
“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.
So when I read this my first reaction to the owner’s decision to send his son was: “Don’t do it!!!”
The tenants have beaten and run off all the other servants. But here, the owner decides to send his son in the hopes that the tenants will respect the son and be motivated to do the right thing on account of his status.
Of course, the tenants do nothing of the sort. In an audacious show of disrespect and greed, they kill the son in order to acquire the inheritance.
Parables operate like analogies and all analogies break down eventually. In this instance, the places where the parable “works” are pointed and we need to pay close attention to them.
And at the same time, the places where the parable breaks down are full of wonder and cause for worship. Because in the real story, the Owner of the vineyard and the beloved Son know exactly what’s going to happen. They know the tenants better than the tenants know themselves.
The Owner and the Son conspire together for the Son to come to bring the final word of God to the tenants and to bring the definitive act of God in the history of the tenants. And God’s goal of all this work? That the tenants might share in the inheritance of the Son.
It turns out, that God’s goal and the tenants goal are one in the same: the inheritance of God, shared with the people made in his image. Only we don’t acquire that inheritance through scheming and violence, we get it by faith in the Lord Jesus and surrender to his mercy and grace.
Spend a few moments considering what it means that in Jesus, you share in the inheritance of God. Receive that great news with deep gratitude in your heart. Let your inheritance shed fresh light on today’s troubles and worries. Praise and worship the Father who sent and the Son who went knowing what was waiting for him. Give thanks for His great love for you.