How are we to live? Jesus tells us in a very practical way.




We look at a further 2 parables that contain instructions as to how we are to live the kingdom lifestyle today.








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Online links to scriptures (New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise stated) are shown in blue




33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 “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.” 42 Jesus 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. 44 He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet. (Matthew 21:33-46) 



Under the Old Testament church, in the form of the Tabernacles of Moses and the Temples that followed, the priesthood was primarily responsible for the spiritual wellbeing of the people. God entrusted His church to the Jews, more specifically, to the priesthood.

This parable talks about how the leadership, in particular, rejected and killed the prophets that God had sent over the centuries to provide correction and direction to the people. Being a prophet in Old Testament times was a high risk occupation! Stoning was a common fate! e.g. Zechariah.


2 Chronicles 24:21



Planting a vineyard is an expensive business and it takes time for the vines to mature and provide a good harvest. This is the nature of business.

Take for example, on a much shorter time scale, the establishment of a 'Seekers Megamart'. It costs us $20,000 to set up a new shop. We need a weekly turnover of $4-6,000, depending upon location, to make it economic. We do not expect to start out with that turnover, but over a period of a year, with staff training, publicity and word of mouth, we expect the turnover to approach that level. At the one year point, we will make a decision as to whether to continue in that location, or not.

God was a lot more patient than me! His trainers were killed on a regular basis by the religious management! So, in a last ditch effort to get the 'spiritual vineyard' back on track, He sent Jesus, His son. We know the result. Jesus foretold that He was going to meet a similar fate as had the prophets earlier.

The time of decision had come.



The kingdom of God was to be transferred from Jewish to gentile custody. The Jewish religious leaders were finally held accountable for their actions over the centuries.

Custody of the church has been placed in gentile hands until there is a reconciliation of believing Jews and gentiles at the end of the age.

The 'playing field' has changed. Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. He is now our sole intercessor with God. No longer do we approach God through a priesthood (or 'pastorhood'). We are PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for our OWN SALVATION, past, present and future. The kingdom of God is available to, and must be sought by, each one of us individually. For the kingdom of God is not found in a building or denomination, but within the individual believer.


Luke 17:20-1



As leaders we need to be very aware of this New Testament reality and be extremely careful not to become de facto priests. We can help point the way, but no-one can come to Jesus through us. It is between the individual and Jesus.  


John 14:6



Likewise, it is the role of leadership to train the people to do the work, not to take it all upon ourselves.  


Ephesians 4:11-12



It is only when leadership truly understand and applies this principle that we will come into end time unity. 


Ephesians 4:13



I know it seems impossible. I realise it is our natural inclination to want to take on people's burdens. Being real, it feels nice to have people reliant upon us! But it is not the way of God for these days. We need to be so careful that we do not now suffer the same fate as the priests of the Old Testament, through disobeying God's instructions. 




33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” 34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 13:33-5) 



It is amazing, when you read the commentaries, how much meaning can be taken out of a simple sentence such as that contained in verse 33 above! Enough for a long and very erudite sermon! But I am not sure that Jesus was meaning it to be understood this deeply in such a detailed fashion.

The main point that Jesus was making is that the true kingdom of God is infectious, that it will permeate the large amount of flour, which can be viewed today as being either the world, or the church as a whole.

The point is, the kingdom is the most, the only, the truly powerful element of change that can effect the world and even reform the church.

As we have seen in the earlier parables, the kingdom consists of those believers, those disciples (the two are effectively the same) who are completely sold out to Jesus. Jesus (through John) made this point in His comments on the church at Laodicea, widely recognised as being a picture of today's church.


Revelation 3:14-16



Why were they lukewarm? For the same reason, we in the western world in particular are so today. 


Revelation 3:17



We are wealthy (visit the poor in Africa or Asia if you don't think you are!) which creates self reliance. In reality, in spite of what we might say, we live lives where the security of possessions and pension plans has become the focus of our actions and behaviour.

So what is the answer?


Revelation 3:18



We need to 'buy' the 'gold' of repentance and testing, by submitting our lives fully to Jesus and letting Him refine us in the fire, so producing in us lives of holiness and righteousness.

The area was famous for an eye salve, called 'mounce'. Jesus is using this natural illustration to encourage us to apply a 'spiritual mounce' to our eyes in order to see, then be able to understand what He was saying.

This surely is a message to the church today, to look for spiritual rather than material riches.

Let us take heed of the inspired message through the author of the book of Hebrews:


Hebrews 12:10-14



To those prepared to make the sacrifice, comes the greatest promise of all: 


Revelation 3:21-2







Two parables saying much the same thing. Two for the price of one! A shorter teaching, as we know people are busy just before Christmas. 




Ironically, Western society, which has largely been built upon Christian values has been so successful in creating wealth that it is now killing Christianity through the belief that we can do it all in our own strength.

God will have the final say!


Jewish Quarter

Hurvah Synagogue

The most prominent synagogue in the Old City was the Hurvah Synagogue until it was blown up by the Jordanians in the 1948 War of Independence. Because of disagreements the Israelis did not rebuild the synagogue in 1967, instead re-erecting one of the arches in memory of the house of prayer. Underneath this arch is the modern Ramban synagogue.


So until next week.......

His servant and yours

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811. In the Old Testament, success is measured by prosperity, in the New, by sacrifice. Many believers prefer to live in the past!

David Tait         




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