1 One day as Jesus was teaching the people and preaching the Good News in the Temple, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 2 They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”
3 “Let me ask you a question first,” he replied. 4 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?”
5 They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. 6 But if we say it was merely human, the people will stone us because they are convinced John was a prophet.” 7 So they finally replied that they didn’t know.
8 And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”
9 Now Jesus turned to the people again and told them this story: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and moved to another country to live for several years. 10 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers attacked the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. 11 So the owner sent another servant, but they also insulted him, beat him up, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 A third man was sent, and they wounded him and chased him away.
13 “‘What will I do?’ the owner asked himself. ‘I know! I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.’
14 “But when the tenant farmers saw his son, they said to each other, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ 15 So they dragged him out of the vineyard and murdered him.
“What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do to them?” Jesus asked. 16 “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.”
“How terrible that such a thing should ever happen,” his listeners protested.
17 Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this Scripture mean?
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.’
18 Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”
19 teachers of religious law and the leading priests wanted to arrest Jesus immediately because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the people’s reaction.
20 Watching for their opportunity, the leaders sent spies pretending to be honest men. They tried to get Jesus to say something that could be reported to the Roman governor so he would arrest Jesus.
In Christ we are fully known, fully loved, and fully accepted by God. Like Christ, we are driven by love for God and others to accomplish His will for our lives!
Have you ever heard of Nazareth? If you thought of the one-hit-wonder of a band that wrote, “Love Hurts”, you are correct. This heartbreak song illustrates a deep spiritual truth about the life of Christ:
Love wounds and marks
Any heart not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud, it holds a lot of rain
Ooh love hurts.
No one knows the depths of hurt that are caused by love more than Jesus. It was Jesus’ love for His Father that compelled him to accomplish everything he did in life. It was Jesus who loved the religious people in Jerusalem enough to speak offensive truth to them, all the while knowing that it lead to his wrongful conviction and death. Even still, Jesus slowly plodded his way along the the hills of Jericho, through the city of Jerusalem, and into the Temple Mount to fulfill the purpose and plan of God—all because He was full of love for God and people.
God’s purpose for Jesus was to establish His Kingdom as the cornerstone. In modern language we might say that Jesus put the “finishing touch” on God’s plan, the last brick that was layed. He was the final fulfillment of everything that God had set out to do in putting all wrongs to right. Jesus had to suffer rejection and be put to death in order to fulfill God’s promise. He had to become the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. He was despised and rejected, stricken and afflicted, crushed, oppressed, and slaughtered. All for God’s glory and our good.
Jesus was compelled by love to accomplish God’s will—love hurt for him in the moment as he was ridiculed, accused, and suffered for sin that was not His own. But there is beauty in the breaking of God’s Son. The beauty is found in the cross as we understand that it was through the death of Christ that sinners, like us, find life. Likewise, when our time comes to “fill up the afflictions of Christ” and suffer like he did; may we be so filled with the love of Christ that we too are able take up our cross and follow Him into the fray of love for God and others.
Scripture Memory | April | Ephesians 1:7
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.”