Jesus preaches another parable.
In this parable we might interpret it in this way.
God is the landowner.
The land of Israel is the vineyard.
The Jewish religious leaders are the tenant farmers.
The prophets of the Old Testament are those who come to collect the produce.
Jesus is the Son who is the last one to come to the vineyard and he is killed.
And finally, the church is the group that is invited to work in the vineyard at the very end of the parable.
Now with this interpretation in mind lets take a closer look at the parable.
A landowner plants a vineyard.
Or we could say God creates his people.
Then God lets his people produce fruit hoping that the fruit will be good.
The harvest comes.
The prophets come to collect the produce.
But the prophets are killed by those in authority.
Again, God sends more of his prophets but those in power continue to kill the prophets.
Finally, God sends his very Son into the world and out of greed and pure hatred those in power kill God’s Son.
After all that happens God decides to return to God’s world.
God comes back.
God sees what has happened.
God is greatly saddened and God grieves the loss of his prophets and his Son.
God removes those who do evil and those who do not produce the fruits of the kingdom.
And God gives his kingdom to those who do right and those who produce the fruits of the kingdom to the glory of God.
In this parable we learn that to reject the prophets and God’s Son is to reject God’s kingdom.
In this parable we also learn that failure to produce the fruits of the Spirit is to miss what the kingdom of God is all about.
What is the kingdom of God?
The kingdom of God is many things.
To many things to explain in a simple sermon
But I would like to add these two Bible verses that speak to the kingdom.
The first one comes from the book of Micah in the Old Testament.
This Bible verse is one of my favorite verses in Scripture.
Micah 6:8 says “The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what God requires of you; to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
In God’s kingdom people strive to live in this way.
To do what is right… this means we ought to live in a way that is fair both in how we deal with others and how we use our money.
Love mercy… this means that we show grace to others. We look to building others up and not tearing them down. We treat one another equally with care and respect. We show love and kindness to others.
Walk humbly with God… this means that we live our lives in a God honoring way. Our faith is a faith that is constantly growing. We live in humble ways knowing that we do not have all the answers but God does and we know that we need God’s help in life.
The second Bible verse that I would like to speak to this morning comes from the New Testament – Galatians 5: 22-23:
“The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
According to Scripture the only way we grow in this fruit is by the way of the Holy Spirit working in us.
It is the Lord working in us that produces this kind of fruit in God’s vineyard.
In our world today… the church stands as a great light and a life-giving symbol of hope.
With the violence in the world, with the corruption in the world, with all the anger and hate in the world -today’s parable speaks to what we are facing right now.
Jesus teaches us that in the world there will be trouble.
But we must remain faithful to the kingdom – to God’s work in the world.
As the Apostle Paul says we must press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
I wonder what things would look like in our world today if we took this very parable to heart.
For today’s parable as all of Jesus’ parables hold both a warning and a promise.
A warning for those who interfere with God’s work and who reject Jesus and a promise for those who produce the fruits of the Spirit to in order further God’s mission.
I pray that we would be about the work of showing peace, kindness, and compassion to others.
It has been said that the world we desire comes not by chance but by change.
In being changed and transformed by Christ we spread the presence of God’s kingdom here and now.
Go out and be a kingdom worker in God’s vineyard.