Saturday, January 18: What then will the owner of the vineyard do?
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Luke, which emphasizes the way God acts among people and across history through Christ.
Read Luke 20:9-16
He went on to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. 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. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.
"Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.'
"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.' So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
"What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others."
When the people heard this, they said, "God forbid!"
In what must have become a very tense environment at the temple, Jesus uses another powerful parable to describe a situation in which trust had been defiantly violated, causing justice to be leveled against the offenders. His listeners' response was that something like this should obviously never happen or go unpunished.
Father, help us always remember the blessing and stewardship we've been given in the "vineyard" of our relationships with you. Also help us not to forget that there will be righteous judgment for those who choose to defy the owner of the vineyard. Amen.