Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 21:43, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” I appreciate the heart of the landowner in Jesus’ parable, who plants his vineyard, equips it carefully, but then must leave it in the hands of tenants to care for it as he goes away. His vineyard remains in his heart, though, because he sends agents to collect the produce.We know what happens. Those wretched, wicked tenants kill the son, somehow thinking that they’ll get the property. But now, the vineyard owner will come himself. What will the grief-stricken father/owner do? ‘Kill those wretches!’, we all shout.
Jesus tells the parable to Israel’s religious leaders, and they realize Jesus is casting them as ‘those wretches’. Where are you and I in this story? A beloved vine branch? A messenger sent by the Owner? A grasping tenant, wanting to ‘own’ and direct the vineyard of Jesus’ church? Perhaps we’ve been each of these at different times in our lives.
Thank God he has brought us into his vineyard, the kingdom of his Son, in our baptism! Thank God his grace covers us, always! Now Jesus stands before us asking, ‘How will you respond to me, the vine? Will you let me produce the fruit of the kingdom in your life today?’
Please pray with me. Lord God, have mercy on us when we don’t do as you want in caring for your vineyard. Keep us faithful and obedient to your Son, the cornerstone, the vine. Produce your good fruit in our lives today. Amen.