Jesus, Our Last Hope
November 12, 2021
“There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” (Matthew 21:33-41).
In this parable the landowner is the Lord God, the vineyard is Israel, the hedge is the Mosaic Law that defined Israel as the people of God, the winepress is the repository of God’s love, grace, mercy, etc. given to Israel, the tower is God’s protection over Israel, the vinedressers are the Jewish leaders (kings, priests, Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees), the vintage (fruit) is holiness and righteousness that Israel was to produce, the servants are the prophets God sent to Israel, the Son is Jesus Christ, and the other vinedressers are the Apostles and Christian leaders.
Everything was set for Israel to produce the witness of holiness and righteousness among the nations (Genesis 22:15-18; 26:2-5). But Israel failed to produce the desired fruit. (Isaiah 5:1-4) Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes. "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes? Jesus said the same thing to the Chief Priests and Elders in His parables. (Matthew 21:45) Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them.
Throughout Israel’s history the Lord demonstrated His patience, grace, mercy, and forgiveness by giving them opportunities to repent and return to Him. Sometimes they did. More often than not they didn’t. Jesus became the last opportunity for Israel to return to the Lord. He is our last hope for forgiveness and salvation. May we be as the publicans and sinners that heard the Gospel, repented of sin , and received Jesus as Lord and Savior, and not like the Chief Priests and Elders who heard the Gospel, refused it, believed in their own righteousness, and rejected Jesus as their only hope of salvation. Amen.