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Layity Reflection: Parables, an instruction for today’s life

September 27, 2013
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Over the last few weeks I have been reading a Bible study centering on some of the parables Jesus shared. Sometimes he was speaking to his followers, but sometimes his audience included the temple chief priests and authorities. A parable, according to Webster, was meant to be a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. Sometimes Jesus told parables which were not well understood by those who heard them and He had to explain them later to his disciples. Jesus parables were also meant for us today. Our lives are still instructed by the scriptures in God’s Word, meant to teach us His way to follow in Jesus footsteps; to become more like Jesus in our thoughts, words and actions. One of the last parables in the series struck me in particular and I’ve chosen it to share with you this week. It comes from Mark 12:1-11, “The Parable of the Tenants”. There are many lessons here, but as you read it this time, watch for the response of the characters to their situation. And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (English Standard Version) When the owner’s servants came to claim what the tenants owed him, they were rejected and treated in many horrible ways, even to the point of killing the owner’s son. The leader’s from the temple understood Jesus was telling a story about them as Jewish leaders, the owner - God, and sending his Son, Jesus, to receive the claims God has on His chosen people. Do we understand the claims God has on our lives as well? Do we reject the messengers God sends to encourage us, or correct our paths if we have turned away from Him? This parable reminds us of what it means to live in a covenant relation with God. God expects us to follow His way with perfection. It is something none of us can possibly do - on our own. But God not only gives us His expectations for our lives, but also turns around and gives us the only way to live up to them, believing in His Son, Jesus. With Jesus as our Savior, God sees His perfection in our lives, Jesus’ death for our sins, and we keep growing into that Jesus-shaped mold all the rest of our days. We learn to respond to the messengers God gives us day-by-day to speak God’s truth into our lives. Reading His Holy Bible, prayer, and listening to pastors and other church leaders, friends, & family all help us to grow. They confront and correct us so we can be more like Christ. God can see whether or not we are producing the fruit caused by his Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Through His Spirit, we respond to his blessings in our lives with the overflow of this fruit. (Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.) Our job is two-fold. Be an encourager/confronter and always a fruit producer! May this be a fruitful week for you.

Carolyn Moe Graduate, School for Lay Ministry



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