When Jesus Christ told the parable of the tenants (Matthew 21:33-46) those who were listening recognized two significant facts - both of which they did not want to hear: firstly, that it identified Jesus as the authoritative Son of God, and secondly, that it was directly accusing them of rejecting both God and his Son.

It is a very confrontational parable.

It is a very discriminating parable.

Those original hearers were offended by it, and wanted to destroy Jesus because of it. And it is still offensive today: in this age of tolerance it calls us to an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ, an allegiance that acknowledges that he and he alone is the Chief Cornerstone - the One on whom everything, including our eternal destiny, depends.

Then, as now, those who come to announce the message of God meet resentment, rejection, and sometimes death; like the farmers in this parable we humans do not want God to rule over us, we do not want to give him the honour and obedience due to him, we do not want to listen to his messengers.

But it is this One who is rejected - this One who was condemned to the death of a criminal - who is the most important of all.

He who received curses and mockery on earth, now receives praise an honour in heaven; he who was rejected as a despised man, is now exalted as the Almighty Lord; he whose name was dragged through the mud of human scorn, now has been given a name above all names; he who was judged by men, will one day return as the Judge of all men.

This parable teaches us: our response to Jesus Christ, our answer to the question 'Who is Jesus?' is the most important response we will ever make.

It is not a question of 'which god out of all gods will I choose?'

It is, rather, the question: 'Do I dare not to acknowledge the One who claimed to be the one true God?'


Scriptures: Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19; Ephesians 1:20,21; Philippians 2:6-11; Revelation 5:12-14; John 5:22-23; 10:30; 12:44-46; 14:6-9; 1 John 5:20,21.


Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004, 2010