Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:41-17:13; Luke 20:1-18
“He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” (Luke 20:16 ESV)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In the Old Testament, Israel is called the Lord’s vineyard (e.g. Isaiah 5:1-7). Jesus told the Jews a parable about a vineyard ruled by evil tenants. The Master of the vineyard sends them messengers, but the tenants beat them and cast them out. So, the Master sends His Son. The evil tenants murder His Son.
The meaning of this parable is so clear that even the scribes and chief priests knew what it was about. The vineyard is Israel as it existed in the days of Jesus and the tenants are the religious leaders of Israel. They will murder God’s own Son.
What will God do to them for murdering His Son? He will destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others. He will send Rome to destroy Jerusalem in 70 AD, the religious and political center of Judaism. Then He will give His favor, His promises, and His inheritance to others—to any who believe in Jesus.
Sure enough, Jerusalem was destroyed. God’s people are no longer biological descendants of Abraham, but the people of God are all Jews and Gentiles that are baptized into Christ. The Church is the New Israel.
Be warned. If God could take the vineyard away from the Jewish leaders, then He can take it away from us. If we crucify the Lord instead of our sinful flesh, then we will be rejected. “If God did not spare the natural branches,” that is, the Israelites, “neither will he spare you” (Romans 11:21).
However, as long as we are connected to Christ, as long as we welcome the Lord that comes to us in Baptism, Word, and Supper, we are children of Abraham. We are God’s People. Jesus comes to you to fulfill God’s promises to Abraham—to forgive and to bless every tribe and race and unite us in Himself. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O’er Jerusalem Thou weepest In compassion, dearest Lord. Love divine, of love the deepest, O’er Thine erring Israel poured, Crieth out in bitter moan: “O loved city, hadst thou known This thy day of visitation, Thou wouldst not reject salvation.” (O’er Jerusalem Thou Weepest, The Lutheran Hymnal 419:1)