This post is written on Mathew 21: 33-46
It is very crazy to love someone. Love, is crazy. On Dec. 31st 2016 my wife and I have been married 26 years, that is kind of crazy when you think about it. Choosing 1 person out of the many in this world to spend the rest of your life with. But, that is what I did. I said to my wife that I will have and hold you, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part. Whoa !!!! It is both selfless and crazy to say these things, but that is what you do when you love someone. Isn't there a song that says something like I'm crazy for loving you or something like that? Anyway, that's the kind of crazy love we see in this story today.
So here we go with another story with a vineyard. The first is the story of the owner who paid his workers the same no matter how long they worked that day, Crazy right? The 2nd is the story of an owner who asked his sons to work, and one said yes and didn't, the other said no and did. Crazy? This one is the craziest of them all. And, it goes something like this.
There once was this wealthy farmer who owned a vineyard. He grew organic grapes, and had a big reputation of making upper scale wine at a very fair price. The farmer invested all he had into his vineyard. The security was the best and he had a top of line wine press. After many years of working the vineyard and making wine, the farmer decided he would retire and move away, and he hired some farmhands to work the vineyard for him. When harvest time came around, he sent some servants to collect his share of the harvest. When the servants got there the farm hands grabbed the first one and beat him. The next one was murdered, and third ran for his life dodging stones being hurled at him. He ran all the way back and told the farmer what had happened, so the farmer sent even more servants down to his vineyard and the same thing happened. Now the farmer was at the end of his rope, he is so desperate to reach out to his farmhands. He thinks they will surely respect my son, so he sends his son down to the vineyard. When the farmhands saw the son coming they said to each other,"Let's kill the son so the vineyard will be ours." So, the farmer had sent his son and he was killed. Now, at the end, we are left wondering what the farmer will do.
So, to be honest the characters in this story are supposed to represent people other than themselves. The farmer in this story represents God, the farmhands are us, God's chosen people. The servants sent by the farmer represent the prophets sent by God, and the Son must be Jesus.
Now, let's start with the farm hands. How can they think that they are going to inherit the vineyard by killing the farmers servants and then his son? It's crazy I tell you, CRAZY. But, not as crazy as the farmer. Think about it, He sends servants and they are beaten or killed, then he sends more servants. Not an army, but servants and the same thing happens. So, where does he come up with the idea to send his son, his heir, by himself to deal with these thugs? It's absolutely crazy I tell ya. Who would be so crazy as to do this? Well maybe, just maybe it's this crazy farmer who is so desperate to be in a relationship with his farmhands that he would do anything, risk anything, to reach out to them. He acts more like a desperate parent who will do or say anything to reach out to a lost child. It's truly crazy. the kind of crazy you get from being in love. Now we have this crazy farmer, but we also still have the question Jesus asks. What will the farmer do when he comes back? All the the pharisees that were there listening could think of was violence. " He will put those wretches to a wretched end." With those words, the pharisees condemn themselves. That my friends, is part of Mathew's narrative, to have his opponents condemn themselves.
How do we condemn ourselves? By trying to make things our possession. We think of the church as ours, not as the Body of Christ. We seek to take on the world challenges for self serving reasons, instead of Christ driven reasons. We start to see stewardship as a burden instead of a joyful response to everything that God has done for us. It also happens in our relationships with our families. We take for granted the love that others have for us. Love is never a matter of meeting half way, but a matter of going that extra mile. And, when love is truly the motivation, that extra mile is never a burden. If we truly look at this story, it invites us to look at and consider a different question. Not what will that farmer do, but what has God the farmer done for us? He sent His Son to us, who have taken God's blessings for our own and not given back to God. And when we killed Him, He raised Him from the dead and sent Him back to us with the same message of His crazy, desperate love. This story shows us the crazy, desperate love that God has for us. Love that is offered over and over again to anyone who will receive it. In our lives, God reaches out to us. It is kind of crazy if you think about it.