Easter Devotional – March 24

Matthew 21:33-45

Parable of the Landowner

33 “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. 35 The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them. 37 But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?” 41 They *said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.”

42 Jesus *said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,

The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 44 And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.

No matter how you look at it, this is simply not a very nice story. Tenants kill the owner’s messengers…and finally his son in order to take over the land. This is a real estate edition of the story of God’s Kingdom, but I doubt it will show up on HGTV. God sets up this great place for everyone to live and lets the people use whatever they want. It doesn’t take long for them to decide they want to take over, and keep Him out. They beat and kill the messengers that God sends… and when He sends His Son… you know what happens. When we get caught up in sustaining our own kingdom it becomes all too easy to stop living for God’s Kingdom.

Are we a part of the group that doesn’t want the Owner, the Creator of the universe, to take control of His own vineyard? Would we rather keep it for ourselves and live isolated from the presence of the King?

Prayer: God, Creator and Owner of everything, give me the grace to produce the good fruits of Your Kingdom. Help me to celebrate Your Son.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Easter Devotional – March 10

Matthew 12:15-21

15 But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, 16 and warned them not to tell who He was. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

18 Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen;
My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased;
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel, nor cry out;
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 “A battered reed He will not break off,
And a smoldering wick He will not put out,
Until He leads justice to victory.
21 And in His name the Gentiles will hope.”

Jesus’ public ministry is the fulfillment of ancient prophecies. Read Isaiah 42. After being long-awaited, the prophecies have arrived. Jesus is redefining what God’s Kingdom would look like. If God’s Kingdom came like earthly kingdoms, by force, the weak (like us) would not come out victorious. This is good news for those of us who sometimes struggle with our faith… “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench”. He wants to gently strengthen our weak faith, hope and love…the meek will inherit the earth.

Prayer: Lord, as You reach out to me in Your gentle love, help me to bring Your Kingdom here in this day.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)