Monday, September 29, 2008

Sending the Son Matthew 21:33-46

Jesus' parables in Matthew 21-25 will be the Gospel texts for the next few months, right up until Christ the King Sunday (unless you use alternate texts for Reformation Sunday and All Saints). Jesus taught boldly in the temple in Matthew 21-23 and then outside the temple in Matthew 24-25.

Matthew portrays Jesus in Matthew 21-23 as a teacher with a following. His following included both supporters and detractors. The crowd wanted to hear him; but many factions (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Chief Priests) plotted against him.

The plotters had many reasons to be angry with Jesus. He questioned them not through direct challenges but through stories and metaphors. They saw him as a radical and a threat. He saw them as unfaithful and corrupt.

Sending in the Son
The one metaphor that keeps on repeating in my mind is that of father and son. In Matthew 21:28-32 Jesus spoke of a Father with two sons. Now in Matthew 28:33-46 he speaks of a land owner who sent his son to seeks payment from unruly tenants. The true nature of the Trinity is on display in this story. God the Father sent many servants to his people. They beat some, stoned some, and killed some. Now in hope that he could ἐντραπήσονται bring shame or cause them to turn face Matthew 21:37 Jesus said the land owner sent his son to seeks payment from unruly tenants.

The son was killed instead of being the one to bring a change in the actions of the tenants. Jesus asked the people in the temple what would happen to the tenants. They replied

He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” Matthew 21:41 NRSV.
Jesus didn't answer yes or no to their response. Instead he starting talking about the stone which would be rejected that would become the corner stone. The stone would fall on some and cause others to stumble. Looking at this story I see that the Son is still seeking a change in all of us; many still reject the Son and his messengers; but others will not overlook or ignore them.

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