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The Tragedy of Rejecting the Master (Luke 20:9-26)

Luke 20:9–26 - 9 And He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. 10 “At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 “And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. 12 “And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. 13 “The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 “But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ 15 “So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 “He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.” When they heard it, they said, “May it never be!” 17 But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone’? 18 “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” 19 The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, and they feared the people; for they understood that He spoke this parable against them. 20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some statement, so that they could deliver Him to the rule and the authority of the governor. 21 They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. 22 “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 23 But He detected their trickery and said to them, 24 “Show Me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 And He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presence of the people; and being amazed at His answer, they became silent. What does today’s passage say? In today's passage, Jesus tells a parable about a man who planted a vineyard and rented it out to tenants (v. 9). When harvest time came, he sent servants to collect his portion, but the tenants beat them and sent them away empty-handed (v. 10). The owner sent more servants, but the tenants treated them the same way (v. 11). Finally, he sent his beloved son, but the tenants killed him also, hoping to inherit the vineyard (vv. 13-15). Jesus then asks what the owner will do and answers that the owner will destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others (vv. 15-16). Jesus knew the religious leaders realized He was referring to them, which is why they wanted to seize Him but feared they people (vv. 19-20). They tried trapping Jesus by asking about paying taxes. He responded that they should give to Caesar what was Caesar's and to God what is God's (vv. 23-25). No one could catch Him saying anything wrong, and they were amazed by His answer (v. 26). How can I apply Luke 20:9-26 to my life? Today, Jesus highlights the tragic consequences of rejecting God’s kingdom purposes. The landowner represents God, sending his beloved Son after his servants faced awful mistreatment. Like those disrespectful tenants, we easily dismiss the Lord’s loving corrections, demanding self-rule instead. Our hearts cunningly rationalize defiance, presuming God tolerates our rebellion as if it were no concern. But rejecting the King of kings courts disaster every time. God longs for us to embrace His wise boundaries, not to restrict us but to protect us. His desire is that we flourish fully alive under His nurturing reign. He will remove everything hindering love’s growth. Though discipline feels uncomfortable, it springs from the Lord’s kindness to judiciously prune fruitless branches, so we bear righteousness’ harvest. When we humbly surrender, fertile soil welcomes the seed of Scripture to upend stubborn thoughts. Its transforming power restores childlike wonder at God’s goodness. However, without open receptivity, the heart painfully hardens. Let this stark warning sink deep, stirring you to radical transformation towards God. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Receive God’s Truth, His Messengers, and His Son with an Open and Surrendered Heart (Luke 20:9-15): In this parable, the vineyard owner continually sends his servants, yet the tenants continually harm and reject them. Likewise, humility is required to receive God's Word and messengers. Surrender selfish agendas to receive truth with a soft, open heart. Hardness towards the Lord's correction fuels stubborn rebellion and continued resistance to His wisdom. Instead, nurture tenderness and receptivity to scriptural insights. Ask the Spirit to stir hunger for obeying biblical conviction and to humbly realign perspectives and habits accordingly. Die to pride that fuels rejection of messengers so His life-giving truth sanctifies you from the inside out. Let go of unwillingness to change and choose Christianity that permeates and transforms your inner person. Reverently apply the Word, allowing it to upend comfortable deceptions and awaken greater devotion to Christ (Matthew 13:15; John 14:21-23; Hebrews 4:12).

Food for thought: Do you humbly accept or resist God's Word? What shifts might increase your tenderness and receptivity to scriptural wisdom and conviction?

  1. Rejecting the Lord Will End in Disaster (Luke 20:16-19): The wicked tenants’ escalating disrespect culminated in murder - a sobering picture of the dire consequences of rejecting God's representatives and His Son, Jesus. Those who continually refuse the Lord of Life inevitably destroy themselves. Do not be deceived or complacent if you persistently rebuff the conviction and care of the Almighty. Instead, adopt a posture of receptive surrender, lest you tragically oppose His loving purpose for you. Choose repentance with urgency and zeal - humbly submitting to His complete authority. Keep your heart soft and responsive - guarded against the hardening effects of defiant sin. What may seem an insignificant act of rebellion can set our feet on a perilous path if repeated endlessly. So, nurture tender obedience and be warned – rejecting Christ courts eternal loss (Psalm 2:10-12, Proverbs 29:1, Hebrews 3:12-15).

Food for thought: Are there patterns of rejection towards God you need to confess and disrupt? Why is nurturing receptivity and repentance essential?

  1. Give to God What is God’s, Which is All That You Are (Luke 20:19-26): Jesus' opponents tried flattery to disguise murderous intentions, then posed an insincere question to trap Him about paying taxes. But Jesus challenged their hypocrisy, asserting we must redirect our lives under God's total ownership. Since God designed, sustains, and redeems us, He alone deserves our ultimate allegiance. Therefore, reject mere outward compliance. Offer every aspect within - dreams, time, possessions - upon the altar as spiritual worship. Fix your attention fully on God’s kingdom and will. Nurture intimate loyalty to Christ that transforms your aspirations, ethics, and service. Die to self-rule and live wholeheartedly for Him (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Galatians 2:20).

Food for thought: What shifts practically affirm God’s full rights over your life? How can you nurture undivided devotion? As Christ’s ambassadors, we implore others to be reconciled to God, who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all. As His representatives, we must model wholehearted acceptance of and surrender to the Father’s will. He lovingly prunes that which hinders love in us. We should readily yield to the Spirit’s conviction each time He reveals compromise or complacency in our walk. Surrender all false perceptions, pretenses, and expectations that obstruct fully belonging to Him. Submit each area of neglect in your life to Him. Die to every selfish demand in to thrive in the light of His presence. God desires our absolute loyalty with holy jealousy. He enjoys exclusively possessing each soul He fashioned to know Him and bear His image. Therefore, humble yourself under His examination and hear His invitation. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would search my heart and reveal any stubborn resistance that rejects Your wisdom. Expose beliefs or habits that contradict a posture of humble surrender. Instill in me greater desire for Your presence and rendering my life as a sacrificial offering of worship to You. I pray that You increase tenderness in my inner person to welcome Your conviction, however uncomfortable it feels as You judiciously prune and refine me. I want to steward well the vineyard of my soul so that my thoughts, words, and deeds bear the fruit of righteousness for Your glory. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Luke 20:17 - But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone’”? With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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