Breaking Into the Middle of the Story – Bible Journey Day 1
Bible Journey – Day 1 – 7 Sept 2009
[This was actually ready on Monday, but I didn’t have any Internet access to share it — sorry!]
Breaking Into the Middle of the Story
Luke 20:1-40; Heb 1:1-9; Proverbs 18; Isaiah 1-2
Who am I and how did I get here?
So I’m reading Luke 20 today, right? It is a bit of a shock, bursting into the Jesus story right here! I mean, no prelude, no warning – BANG! Right into the action . Like I’m a Jew from Cyprus or Tarsus who might remember a little bit of “Jesus of Nazareth” ruckus around Passover two years ago, but since it seems like every Passover lately has been tense and dramatic, I might not even remember that!
So however I got there, wherever I’m from, I’ve gotten my lodgings situated and I head up to the Temple with my family – and when I say family, I mean family! Aunts, uncles, cousins, the whole grand gaggle comes together for this high holy day. We get to the Temple, all washed and excited about worship, and amidst all the rabbis teaching, we see one group that is seriously worked up. This one rabbi, much younger than all the rest – no greybeard this one – has got the crowd all fired up with his rapid-fire replies to all the angry and frustrated scribes and Pharisees (and even some PRIESTS!) that challenge him. We get within earshot just in time to hear him tell this parable:
“A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and went on a journey for a long time. When harvest time came, he sent a slave to the tenants so that they would give him his portion of the crop. However, the tenants beat his slave and sent him away empty-handed. So he sent another slave. They beat this one too, treated him outrageously, and sent him away empty-handed. So he sent still a third. They even wounded this one, and threw him out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my one dear son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir; let’s kill him so 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 destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When the people heard this, they said, “May this never happen!” (Luk 20:9-16)
WHOA! No wonder the rabbis are so mad! I turn to my brother and whisper, “Did you understand what this Rabbi Yeshua just said?”
“Yes, brother. He’s saying that he is our Lord, that he is getting ready to go away for a long time, probably about 2000 years or so, and then he’s going to come back and see what all of his disciples have done with the things he is giving them.”
“No, you nudnik! Have you been in the new wine already this day? I’ve heard the rabbis back home tell parables like this! Many times, they teach us with stories of a wealthy man going on a long journey, entrusting his riches to stewards. Always – ALWAYS – the rich man in the story is the Ancient of Days – but Rabbi Yeshua’s conclusion is dangerous! Look at how angry the priests and the rabbis are! He’d better be careful – no one lasts long when they make both sides so furious! SHH! He’s talking again.”
But Jesus looked straight at them and said, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone‘? Everyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.” Then the experts in the law and the chief priests wanted to arrest him that very hour, because they realized he had told this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people. Then they watched him carefully and sent spies who pretended to be sincere. They wanted to take advantage of what he might say so that they could deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. (Luk 20:17-20)
“Brother, he’s saying this is happening right now! Could he be the one the Psalmist sings of? Could this be the day the Lord has made? Listen to how he fearlessly stands before all the powers of our people? Could he be the Messiah at last???”
“Oh, brother – you listen to the rabbis too much. There is no Messiah coming! Would the priests be so friendly to the Roman goyim if they thought there might be a real Messiah coming? You sound like those fools in the desert. Let’s go – I’m thirsty.”
“Oh, brother, but what if? What if the kingdom is finally coming?? WHAT IF???”
I left the brothers there. I pray that I might have the courage and hope of the first brother – that I might take Yeshua’s warnings and promises seriously and be fearless for the kingdom of God!
In HIS love,
Proverb for the Day:
The one who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. – 18:9