March 19

Matthew 21:42-44 42Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? 43"Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."

During the days leading up to the cross, Jesus told a parable that summed up that turning point in history. A man built a vineyard and lent it out. The owner of the vineyard sent his servant to collect the rent, but the renters beat him. They killed the next servant who was sent and stoned the third. Finally, the owner sent his son. He thought they would surely respect and honor him. The renters thought that if they killed the heir, they would inherit the vineyard, so they killed the son. Then Jesus asks what will be done to the renters. The crowd answered with words that condemned them. "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time."

Jesus responded with our passage for today. He knew He was about to be rejected by them in favor of a political activist. The vineyard is the world in which the Jews were the keepers of the Word of God. The tenants are the Jewish people. They killed the prophets, and they were about to have the Son killed. He reminded them that this was prophesied long ago. The rejected Son would be the culmination of the work of God. From that point, the Word went directly to the Gentiles. Looking over history, we have not done much better than the Jews, but the Word has gone out into all the world. I believe that is the fruit that God desires.

The final warning is quite ominous. We have two choices. We can resist the stone, Jesus, and end up crushed by Him, or we can fall upon Him and be broken vessels for His use. There is no other choice. Here is another 'either or' statement of Christ. Let us be sure to take the choice that has us throwing ourselves on Him for mercy and grace.

Consider: Am I a broken vessel that He can use?