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You Sent Your Messengers

December 17, 2018

Merciful God,
you sent your messengers the prophets
to preach repentance
and prepare the way for our salvation.
Give us grace to heed their warnings
and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy
the coming of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer;
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Jesus told this story —

“There was once a man, a wealthy farmer, who planted a vineyard.

“He fenced it, dug a winepress, put up a watchtower, then turned it over to the farmhands and went off on a trip.

“When it was time to harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits.

“The farmhands grabbed the first servant and beat him up.

“The next one they murdered.

“They threw stones at the third but he got away.

“The owner tried again, sending more servants. They got the same treatment.

“The owner was at the end of his rope. He decided to send his son. ‘Surely,’’ he thought, ‘they will respect my son.'”

“But when the farmhands saw the son arrive, they rubbed their hands in greed. ‘This is the heir! Let’s kill him and have it all for ourselves.’

“They grabbed him, threw him out, and killed him.

“Now, when the owner of the vineyard arrives home from his trip, what do you think he will do to the farmhands?”

“He’ll kill them—a rotten bunch, and good riddance,” they answered. “Then he’ll assign the vineyard to farmhands who will hand over the profits when it’s time.”

“Right—and you can read it for yourselves in your Bibles:

‘The stone the masons threw out
is now the cornerstone.
This is God’s work;
we rub our eyes, we can hardly believe it!’

“This is the way it is with you. God’s kingdom will be taken back from you and handed over to a people who will live out a kingdom life.

“Whoever stumbles on this Stone gets shattered; whoever the Stone falls on gets smashed.”

When the religious leaders heard this story, they knew it was aimed at them. They wanted to arrest Jesus and put him in jail, but, intimidated by public opinion, they held back. Most people held him to be a prophet of God.

— Our Merciful God still sends messengers.

Do we respond like the farmhands in this story?

Or do we heed their warnings and forsake our sins?





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