“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!” (Luke 20:13-16)
Throughout history ruthless kings and dictators killed family for power. Those who kill for a monetary inheritance are few. Most are wayward children cut off from their parent’s money, desperate to buy drugs. For most, guilt would ruin an enhanced lifestyle. On December 21, 2013, John Chakalos was murdered execution style in bed on an eighty-acre estate decorated with six million Christmas lights he shared with his community. Nathan Carmen, his grandson, was the last to see him alive. The murder weapon was never found. Three years later, Nathan was rescued from a life raft after the boat he and his mother were fishing on sank. He tried to collect on his boat insurance but the judge ruled Nathan was guilty of faulty repairs that made the boat sink. He was suspected but not charged in both deaths. Nathan had Asperger’s autism. Having decreased emotions, perhaps he committed the perfect crime to enjoy his $10 million inheritance.
God sent his beloved son to Jerusalem. If Jesus became the High Priest, the power of the priests, Pharisees, teachers of the law, and elders would diminish, perhaps become non-existent. The Jewish leaders knew He was the Son of God but spent five days planning his death to retain power. They would hand him over to the Romans, demand his execution, and the Jews would blame the Romans for His death. Pontius Pilate ordered His execution. The Jews would continue their worldly rule over the Jewish temple without thinking about the consequences. Many subsequent Jewish generations are still lost, looking for their Messiah because they were lied to. They still rule a small but diminishing kingdom of the world. When Jesus died, God made Him ruler of the kingdom of God.
God gave the Jew’s vineyard to Gentiles. “Salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.” (Romans 11:11b) God will honor His covenant with the Jews because God always keeps His promises. “God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29) The Jews will not enter heaven until the last Gentile is admitted. “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:25b-26) As Jews stand outside of God’s kingdom waiting for Judgment Day when the last Gentile will be admitted, I’m sure they say, “God forbid!”
Heavenly Father, I know you’re sad Your children of Israel killed Jesus and are temporarily separated from You. But, as always, You turn what is bad into good. You adopted Gentiles into Your family. Thank you for the opportunity to enter Your kingdom through Your Son. Keep the enemy from me, so I’m not tempted to build a kingdom in the world. I have a bad habit or trait I want to leave at the cross. Help me bring good from the bad. Thank you for Your love and having mercy on all. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.