Sermon for Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon for Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

(Transcribed by machine 04/15/2024)

Jesus says the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces
But when it falls on anyone it will crush him. You may be seated. In the name of Jesus, Amen
Dear Saints, there are a number of beautiful pictures all throughout the scriptures of the church and
The descriptions are of how the Lord is and how we are with him. Just to take an easy one for example
The Lord is the shepherd and we are the sheep
We imagine what that would be, to be the Lord’s sheep and to be guided by Him, protected by
Him.
We read Psalm 23, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Jesus says He leaves the 99 and seeks after the one.
In fact, Jesus says, I’m the good shepherd and I lay down my life for the sheep.
God be praised.
Or here’s another picture.
Jesus is the bridegroom and we are the bride.
That’s also all the way through the Old Testament.
Remember Hosea who was told to go and marry Gomer and the Lord says, I’ll take you, Israel, back.
When Paul’s talking about how it is with Christ and the church, he says Christ loved the church.
In fact, he says, husbands love your wives like Christ loved the church and gave himself up for
her. Wives submit to your husbands as the church submits to Christ. Beautiful picture. In fact,
the culminating image of the Bible is that picture of the wedding feast of the Lamb.
The new Jerusalem coming out of heaven
as a bride adorned for her husband.
Phenomenal picture.
It’s another picture that runs through the scriptures
and that is that Jesus is the cornerstone
and we are the temple.
So we’re built up on him.
It’s an architectural picture.
And in fact, it’ll come into the story today
because Jesus is gonna switch from the picture of the vine
to the picture of the cornerstone.
We’ll get to that in a minute.
Another picture, and this is only in the New Testament,
that Christ is the head and we are the body.
Of all the pictures, I think that’s the only one
that I know of that is just and exclusively
in the New Testament, and my guess as to why
is because in the Old Testament, God didn’t have a body.
But now he does.
So he gives us the picture, Christ is the head,
we’re the body.
Now all these pictures are wonderful pictures
that emphasize for us that our life is in being connected
to the Lord Jesus. Our hope and our confidence and our joy and our peace are found in Him.
And that’s especially true with this picture that we have today running through all of the
scriptures. It’s in the Old Testament lesson, it’s in the epistle, sorry, not in the epistle, it’s in
Paul gets close to it, but he kind of skims it by, but it’s in the psalm from Psalm 80,
and it’s especially in the gospel, it’s this picture of the vineyard. It goes all the way
back to Deuteronomy, the Lord talked about it then,
when he was gonna take Israel out of Egypt
and bring them through the 40 years of wandering
and plant them in the Holy Land,
that they would there be the Lord’s vine,
and he would be their vinedresser,
and their branches would extend from the sea to the river,
and the Lord would tend to them, and he would care for them.
We heard it in Isaiah 5, it’s a beautiful,
The Lord says in Isaiah, I’ll sing a song of my vineyard.
The Lord loves this vineyard,
but the problem is he goes to the vineyard
looking for good fruit and instead gets sour wine.
The same, I think, is what’s going on in Psalm 80,
is that the Lord, he’s done everything for this vineyard.
He’s planted the vineyard, he’s tended the vineyard,
but now the wild boar’s breaking in
and people are going by
and they’re stealing from the vineyard
and so they pray, Lord, rise up and do something about it.
Now this means that when Jesus, in Matthew 21,
when he starts to tell the parable of the vineyard,
that the Pharisees and the priests who he’s talking to,
who he’s telling this parable to,
they know exactly what he’s talking about.
They’ve been thinking about this picture
for their whole lives.
So the Lord begins.
Now, in this parable, he is going after the Pharisees.
And when I say that, I’m curious to know what you guys think.
When I say going after the Pharisees,
I think you, and this is what I mostly mean,
is that he is going to rebuke them
because he’s angry at them.
I was talking to someone just this week
and they were reading these chapters,
Matthew 21, 22, especially 23,
which is this whoa, whoa to you Pharisees,
whoa, whoa, whoa, and says it seems like Jesus is angry.
In fact, if there’s a way to make Jesus angry, it’s just to put Him there with the Pharisees.
And He gets upset, and He preaches the law.
He comes after them hard.
But I don’t want us to miss this.
The reason why Jesus is so hard on the Pharisees is because He loves them.
The reason why Jesus preaches so sternly to the Pharisees is because He wants them to
live forever in his kingdom.
You know, I always hear this at least,
especially it seems like at pastor’s conferences.
I don’t know why, but at pastor’s conferences
you always hear people like this.
Well Jesus, he loved the down and out.
He loved the outsider.
He loved the outcast.
You know who he hated was the religious people.
I don’t know why that’s always the thing
at pastor’s conferences.
Maybe it’s because it’s getting after us.
But here’s the point.
No, Jesus did not, remember we have this a couple weeks ago
when Jesus is at the table and Mary comes in
and she’s wiping Jesus’ feet with her tears
and cleaning it with her hair and she’s weeping
and the Pharisees are sitting there grumbling
and Jesus is so merciful to her and so harsh to them.
But it’s not like Jesus loves her and hates the Pharisees.
No, he loves them all.
all.
He loves the sinner just as much as he loves the Pharisee.
He loves the tax collector just as much as he loves the scribe.
And he dies for them and sheds his blood for them just as much as he dies for those who
are outcast and lost.
He loves all people.
But they need a different medicine.
Because those who are despairing, who are distraught with their sins need the pure balm
of the gospel, but those who are proud, those who are sure of themselves, those who are
Pharisees, confident in their own works, they need to be crushed by the law of God.
So Jesus brings this parable to them out of love for them to crush them and to save them.
He in fact in this parable is warning them of something that he doesn’t want to happen.
So the parable starts.
And in this parable, I want to point out three acts of insanity.
Because no one, now this is probably the case for most of the parables, that no one really
acts how they’re supposed to in parables, but in this parable especially, when you’re
reading it, you should kind of, your eyebrow should go up and you should say, what?
Let’s see what happens.
There’s a master of a house who planted a vineyard, he put a fence around it, he dug
a wine press in it, he built a tower, and he leased it to tenants, and he went into
another country.
This is everything that you can do for a vineyard.
You’ve got to put a wall around it so the wild animals can’t get in, you’ve got to have
a tower so people can watch out, you have to have a wine press so that the grapes can
go and be pressed.
He does it all.
They don’t have to do anything.
The work is accomplished.
All they have to do is pick the grapes and eat them.
When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get the fruit,
And the tenants took the servants and they beat one, killed another, and stoned another.
This is the first act of insanity.
Can you imagine that if you’re renting a house and your landlord sends someone to collect
the rent, you say, I know, I don’t want to pay the rent, so I’m just going to murder
the guy coming to collect it?
That’s not going to work.
That’s crazy.
There’s no way.
It’s going to make things worse.
But they do it anyways, and this is the Lord describing
how Israel treated the prophets.
Jesus in another place will say,
oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who stone the prophets
and kill those who were sent to you.
There’s not a single drop of prophetic blood
that wasn’t shed in Jerusalem, that’s how Jesus talks.
From the beginning to the end,
and the Lord is sending to his people over and over
his prophets to gather up the fruit of repentance
and faith and love and good works,
works, but instead he finds nothing.
And those who are sent are abused and beaten.
So the Lord sends other servants, verse 36, more than the first and they do the same thing.
They kill them and beat them and cast them out.
Now here’s the second act of insanity that I want us to consider.
The Lord, God the Father, who is pictured here as the vineyard owner, looks at these
wicked tenants and says well they’re killing the prophets but they’ll
probably respect the son. Now again could you imagine it imagine now now that you
are a landowner or you’re a house owner and you have a tenant and they’ve
killed all the people you sent to collect the money so now you say I’ve
got a really good idea I’m gonna send my son to collect the money not without an
army, a SWAT team, you know. It’s an amazing thing to think of, that God sends the Son
to these violent tenants. Here’s the picture. Can you imagine it? Imagine a father-son space
exploring team. I think we’ve imagined this before, but imagine the father-son space exploring
team and they’re going around and looking at all these different planets and they come
across a planet that has all of these wild, ferocious dogs living in it, like
Rottweilers and pit bulls and they’ve all got rabies and they’re all just mean,
growling, nasty dogs. The father looks at the son space explorer and says, hey I
I want to rescue all those dogs. He says, okay how you gonna do that? He says, I’m
send you down there okay so but you know to get across to them you’re gonna have
to be a dog yourself in fact you’re gonna have to be a chihuahua well then
what well they’re gonna bark at you they’re gonna growl at you and they’re
gonna bite you and they’re gonna devour you and they’re going to kill you on
On the third day you’ll rise again, I’ll bring you back to life, but you’ll be a chihuahua
forever.”
And the son obeys his father’s will.
He’s born a virgin mother.
It’s an amazing thing.
I call it an act of insanity, but it’s a profound act of love that’s beyond our comprehension.
that the father, looking at these tenants,
says, you know what I’m gonna do?
I’m gonna send them the thing that I hold the most dear
and the most precious.
I’m gonna send the son.
And they take the son.
Here’s the third act of insanity.
They see that these wicked tenants see the son coming
and they come up with a genius idea.
hey let’s kill him and then we can get the inheritance. Now that is not how it
works. I mean it’s just it’s so stupid. You’re gonna kill someone’s son so that
you’ll be the one that get the inheritance? You get jail time, you get
the electric chair, you get stoned or crucified. You don’t get the inheritance
conscience, but this is the insanity of sin.
And I think maybe before we laugh at it too much, we should recognize that this is really
the business that all of us are up to.
Trying to silence the preaching of the law, silence the preaching of the prophets, silence
the preaching of God’s word.
I thought of the idea the other day, can you imagine that you’re in a house and the house
is on fire, and the smoke alarm is going off, and it’s buzzing there, and you say, someone’s
got to fix this, and so you go and you just take the battery out of the smoke detector.
That doesn’t fix the problem.
The problem is the house is on fire.
Not that the alarm is going off, but this is what, let me just say, this is what I do
all the time.
when my conscience is bothering me,
when my conscience is warning me that something’s wrong,
when my conscience is telling me
that I’ve done something wrong,
that I’ve sinned and I’ve broken the law,
and I don’t think the problem is my sin,
I think the problem is my conscience.
You just pull the battery out of the conscience.
Just unplug it so the warning stops.
If I could just kill the voice of the prophets,
if I could just mute the voice of the Ten Commandments,
if I could just silence Moses and set him aside
And then I’ll get the inheritance. I want to I want to inherit life by killing God
It’s insane, but it’s what we do. It’s what the world does. It’s what our culture does
It’s what each one of us does in our own sinful flesh
It’s astonishingly moronic and yet we are addicted to this thing
To this trying to justify ourselves to try to silence the Word of God to think that we’re gonna gain
something if the Lord would just be quiet. But it doesn’t work because there’s
a judgment day coming, and Jesus in the parable here is going to put the verdict
of the judgment day in the mouth of those who are going to be judged. They
took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed the son, and when the
owner of the vineyard comes, Jesus asked the scribes and Pharisees, what will the
master do to these tenants? And they say with their own mouth, he’ll put those
wretches to a miserable death, and give the vineyard to others who will bear the fruit
of it in its season.”
Jesus says, yes.
In fact, he says, have you never read, and he quotes Psalm 118, verse 22, the stone that
the builders rejected, that’s become the chief cornerstone.
Is this marvelous in our eyes?
The Lord did it.
They are the builders, and they have rejected the cornerstone, and yet the Lord will build
his church on this solid rock of none other than Christ.
And then a riddle.
Now I think for us, I mean the important thing for us is to understand this parable in its
context and to understand that Jesus was warning these Pharisees that if they continue in their
self-righteous ways, the kingdom was going to be taken from them, but it’s also for us
and it comes to bear with this little riddle that Jesus tells, the one who falls on the
The stone will be crushed, but the one on whom the stone falls will be shattered.”
But before we finish up with that, just to get to the end of the text, when the chief
priests and Pharisees heard this parable and the other parables, they understood that
Jesus was speaking about them.
And even though they were seeking to arrest Him, they were afraid because the people thought
He was a prophet.
In other words, Jesus is telling the parable about them when they are trying to do the
very thing that the parable is warning them about.
But, what are the options?
What are the options now for the Pharisees that have heard and understood that Jesus
is preaching about Him, and what is the option for us?
You have two options with this stone, Jesus.
Option number one, to fall on the stone.
Or option number two, the stone falls on you.
And if the stone falls on you, that’s the Lord speaking in warning of judgment.
Look at what it says.
Because if it falls on anyone, it will crush them.
If you stand on your own on the judgment day, stand before Jesus by your own righteousness
and your own worth and your own whatever, you will, make no mistake, you will be crushed.
But there is another option.
To fall on the stone.
To repent of your sins.
To know that you cannot save yourself, but that God has provided a Savior for
you in Christ. To trust in His name, not your own. And to call on Him, you will be
broken. But a broken and contrite heart, these the Lord does not despise.” So Jesus
is calling these Pharisees and the scribes and you and me to repent, to know
that we are sinners, and most especially to know that He is the Savior of sinners.
To know that we are dying, but that He is the Lord of life.
To know that we have failed, but He has accomplished our salvation, and trusting Him to be part
of His vineyard that bears fruit.
So may God grant it for the sake of Christ, that we would fall on the stone before it
falls on us.
May God grant it for Christ’s sake, amen.
And the peace of God which passes all understanding, guard your hearts and minds through Jesus
Christ our Lord, amen.