Preparing for Worship: April 27, 2014
The sermon text for this week has to do with the parable of the wicked tenants, from Luke 20:9-18. As a cross-reference, the scripture reading we will hear during the service is from Isaiah 5:1-7. There, the prophet records the “song of the vineyard.” The Lord recounts how he planted Israel like a vine dresser plants a vineyard on a fertile hill. He cared for the vineyard, cleared it of stones, planted it with choice vines, built a watchtower for it and hewed out a wine vat in its midst (Isa 5:2). But when he expected it to yield grapes, it yielded “wild grapes” instead (5:4). Since the vineyard only produced sour, wild grapes, the Lord removed its hedge, broke down its walls, and made it a waste so that it can be no longer pruned or hoed (5:5-6). And there is no question about whom the Lord sings this song, “for the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah” (5:7).
When Jesus tells the parable of the wicked tenants, he likely alludes to the song of the vineyard in Isaiah 5. In Luke 20, a man plants a vineyard similar to God planting the vineyard of Israel. He then let it out to tenants to care for the vineyard and to ensure that it yields a good crop. But every time the man sends his servants to get some of the fruit, the tenants are constantly throwing them out, beating them and treating them shamefully. In the last instance, the owner sends his beloved son, whom the tenants kill so that they can keep the inheritance of the vineyard for themselves. These actions confirm the reason why God says in Isaiah 5 that he will make the vineyard a desolation—the tenants of the vineyard (i.e. Israel) have ruined the crop!
This also confirms why Jesus had to come to earth and die in our place. Sin has taken such deep root in the world that even the tenants of God’s promises and inheritance have failed to see the beloved son. They are consumed with pride and have rejected outright the owner of the vineyard—God himself. Thankfully, Jesus quotes from Psalm 118 that “the stone that the builders rejected” (i.e. the wicked tenants of Israel) “has become the chief cornerstone,” which obviously alludes to the victory he has over death and hell in his glorious resurrection. There are wicked today, to be sure, so let us not reject the beloved son, the chief cornerstone, “chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame” (1 Pet 2:6; cf. Isa 28:16).
Songs we will sing this week include the following, provided in a playlist here:
1. Holy (Jesus You Are)
2. I Will Glory in My Redeemer
3. It is Well with My Soul
4. You are Worthy of Your Glory
5. The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
Pastor for Worship.