Saturday 22 June 2013

Bible Book:

Luke 20:9-18 Saturday 22 June 2013


Having absentee landlords is not a new idea. Palestine was atthis time occupied by the might of Rome and had known many otherconquests during its history, as it has since. All those listeningto Jesus tell this story would feel some relationship to their ownexperience. Indeed, some might have felt they understood thetemptation, in hard economic times, to withhold the rent and had agreat deal of sympathy with it. In some cases, the death of theheir meant an estate would be declared 'ownerless property', inwhich case the occupiers would have had first claim. But it wasalso the case that his listeners would probably have expected avineyard story to be about their country and their faith. (Inbiblical times, a vineyard was a common image for Israel.)

Jesus used that understanding to invite the listeners toremember the history of how people had reacted to the claims ofGod. There are many instances of God's people rejecting theprophets and their sometimes challenging message, and imprisoning,or banning or even killing them. Since it was usually theauthorities who had been responsible for this, it is not surprisingthat the authorities of Jesus' own time knew they were being gotat. Jesus may even have been hinting at the eventual destruction ofJerusalem by the occupying power, which many believe hepredicted.

The idea that the owner sent his son would have reminded peopleof their expectation that God would indeed send his own specialrepresentative (sometime referred to as his son, sometimes as hisanointed) the Messiah to set them free. Today, many see this asmeaning Jesus himself and understand this as a reference to hisdeath on the cross. For some it is important to recognise in thisGod's generosity to all people.

To Ponder

  • How do you feel about good stories which reveal the failings ofauthority figures?
  • What stories would you like to tell to encourage or challengepeople?
  • What, if anything, in this story invites you to reflect on yourrelationship with God?

Previous Page Friday 21 June 2013
Next Page Sunday 09 June 2013