a Devotion for 31 March 2023 Anno Domini
“…A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.”
(Luke 20:9, all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Our Lord often spoke in parables that were simple and common examples of life which also reflected great spiritual truth. The depth of meaning of these parables escaped the understanding of those whose learning and sophistication caused them to consider themselves better than all others. But the simple folk of the land were able to receive the unblemished truth behind the broader shadows of spiritual meaning. Such is the Parable of the Owner of the Vineyard referenced today by our Lord in the Temple at Jerusalem.
Let us understand that this certain man, at the outset, represents God the Father. The world is His and all that is in it. But He has set aside a certain portion of that world for His called-out elect to His Vineyard which He has planted as an example of His Church. Though He walked with Adam in the Garden, He withdrew to a far country after Adam’s Fall from grace. The first son of Adam (Cain) was a murderer, and the second son (Abel) was a prophet. Cain murdered his brother out of a selfish and covetous spirit. Our Lord reveals this plainly earlier in another chapter of Luke: “That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” (Luke 11:50-51)
So, God established Israel – the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – as His vineyard to walk in His ways and be a beacon of light to the world. He sent prophet after prophet to His Vineyard (Israel) to plead with His people to return to following His Commandments and Laws, but they despised His servants, the prophets, and treated them with disrespect. Some they tortured and beat, and others they killed outright and cast them out from among them. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
God set limits on the boundary of His Vineyard by establishing righteous Law for them to follow, but they added grievous burdens not in accord with these laws and disregarded others of His Commandments. He sent prophets to correct their ways such as Jeremiah and Isaiah, and they heeded them not and even persecuted them. None of this behavior came as a surprise to the Lord for He knew of their response to His voice from before the foundation of the world – even Adam’s Fall was a matter of foreknowledge of the Father. He had made provision for man’s ungodly self-will from before the foundation of the world in His foreknowledge. His only Begotten Son had been foreordained to be a Lamb of Sacrifice for the sins of those who were called and chosen according to His purpose.
So, in the fullness of time, God sent His Son to the Vineyard to claim His own. “Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.” (Luke 20:13) This was not a spur-of-the-moment decision, but one which had been decided in the Council of Heaven in eternity past. Nor was the hateful response to His Son surprising to the Lord. Israel was not true to the faith in the Promise made to Father Abraham. The religion of greater national Israel had become a man-made religion. But there remained a remnant of true Israel who believed that promise and remained faithful. The false prophets of Israel composed of priests, Pharisees, and Scribes, murdered the beloved Son of the Father outside the gates of the city: “So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?” (Luke 20:15) The false usurpers of the Vineyard could not brook even the Son of the Owner to come and take of His own. So, they crucified Him outside the city.
The circumstances of the Parable presented a completely ethical, moral, and spiritual premise for harsh judgment against those who defrauded the Owner of the Vineyard. When Christ revealed the punishment of such unbelievers, they perceived, quite correctly, that He referred to them and their hatred for the Son of God.
What was their response? “…And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.” (Luke 20:16) The realization of their guilt was a great anguish to them, but the sense of guilt is not the same as
repentance – their grievous sin remains today. “…The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? (Luke 20:17) Our hearts must be broken at the realization of our sins and result in repentance. If not, we perish in our sins. “Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Luke 20:18) A child could understand these things – do you?
“Prenez en Gré”
In Christ Alone during Season of LENT,
† Jerry L. Ogles, D.D.
Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide & Chancellor, Faith Theological Seminary
Let us carefully observe how little good they do who attempt to mix up evangelical preaching and a ritual ceremony. Little, did I say? – they do no good at all! The world is never won by trimming and compromising, by facing both ways, and trying to please all. The cross of Christ is never made more acceptable by sawing off its corners, or by polishing, varnishing, and adorning it. Processions and banners, and flowers, and crosses, and excessive quantity of music, and elaborate services, and beautiful vestments may please children and weak-minded people. But they never helped forward heart-conversion and heart-sanctification, and they never will. Bishop J. C. Ryle, First Bishop of Liverpool, U.K.
“Metus improbo compescit, non clementia.” – Syrus, MAXIMS: Fear, not kindness, restrains the wicked!
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer – HOLY SCRIPTURE:
“If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God’s Word; and if we be uncertain of God’s Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or a synagogue of Satan.”