Problem Tenants

Has someone ever taken something that belonged to you – or at least you felt belonged to you? Have you ever been in charge of something, and someone comes along and undermines your decision or takes over entirely? How did that make you feel?

We’re going to be considering something about God’s kingdom along those lines in our study of Luke this Sunday, reading Luke 20:9-19.

Jesus tells another parable that further explains the motivation behind his shutting down of the temple in our last section. The story is about a group of share-croppers – renters who tend to a landowner’s vineyard – who decide to take the vineyard for themselves. The story takes very commonplace circumstances (for that time and region) and exaggerates the nefarious behavior of the renters to the point of being absurd.

It’s a story that grows out of last week’s question: “By whose authority do you say and do these things?”. Jesus sort of expands the scope, asking “Just exactly whose Kingdom do you suppose this is?”

As you read the parable, consider who the renters might be (remember who he’s been in confrontations with). Who might the son be? Who would the landowner represent? Now, consider the event that set in motion the destruction of the renters. What does that seem to indicate to us? How might we read this parable as 21st Century American Christians and understand it’s import for our present life as God’s representatives?

It may prove to be a challenging story for us to read – but well worthwhile. I hope you can join us this Sunday as we examine it together.

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