Matthew 21:33-46 reads:
“Hear another parable: 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.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes?’
“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it and whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them, but when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.”
I have heard this parable preached many times and each time, there was not much difference. This is a prophecy of Jesus and the New Covenant. God used His prophets to bring His people into correction and also to teach and guide them in His ways. These prophets were God’s spokesmen and were endowed with special insight and wisdom by God for this purpose. Therefore, they often brought rebuke against sin in the lives of their leaders and other individuals. By using godly words of correction, the people would turn from their wicked ways. But many times the prophets of God were beaten and killed because their message was hated and consequently rejected. Then finally, Jesus, God’s holy Prophet, told this parable about the landowner, which is The Father, who sent His Son. The vinedressers killed the Son so that they could take the inheritance. The Pharisees realized that Jesus was talking about them; it says straight after that they tried to seize him.
The parable was saying, “I know that you want to kill me. I know that this prophecy in the Old Testament is referring to your rejection of Me and actually having Me killed, but I am going to win in the end.” Now, essentially, this may take a while for me to unpack because I like to find a modern application of a Bible story: so I ask myself, ‘What has this parable to do with me and my life?
The Lord has gifted me with the ability to give personal prophecies to strangers and I do this on a regular basis. But the gifting I love most is to teach the word of God and to evangelize. I believe that correction can be brought on people through the truth of God’s Word. Bringing correction is not enjoyable, but it needs to be done. God’s word is a deterrent against sin and is the only conclusive source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. If something is going off track, a correction is necessary, so that truth prevails. Pilots know the importance of making constant correctional changes: otherwise their passengers would really suffer. It’s the same with our spiritual lives, someone needs to steer people back to where God wants them to be. God uses a prophet to be his mouthpiece of correction. Reading the Bible is also a powerful tool of correction.
2 Timothy 2:16-17 says: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
There are anointed people who hear from God, who have clear words for the church, but they are shunned. Pastor Andrew Wommack has to hold many of his meetings in public halls simply because many churches leaders will not have him. His profound revelation on the grace of God goes against many of their legalistic doctrines. I know from personal experience that the pride of man is a stumbling block to truth. People are offended by the grace of God and believe that complete salvation is up to their own puny effort.
I guess teaching in halls instead of churches, may encourage believers to bring their unsaved friends to hear the word of God. Most Christians are not walking in the liberty that Christ died for: Satan likes to keep it that way! The congregation misses out because those in leadership prefer to have blinkers over their eyes. Jesus said the truth will set you free, but hearing the truth can often offend before it actually heals.
I am overweight: I could lose weight by regular exercise and eating healthier food but I am basically lazy and therefore undisciplined in this area. Sure, there is another reason why I am overweight: I take a certain medication which causes weight gain. We can all stay in our excuses, but if we apply the truth, we can all make positive changes. However, the fleshly nature of man resists change and goes for the comfortable options.
Longs ago, God’s people wanted to be like the surrounding heathen nations and have their own king. God wanted to be their only King but he gave them their desires. In fact, there were three highly ranking authorities: the prophet, the priest and the king. The office of the prophet was important to keep people safe from the enemy and to teach them God’s ways. The Priest would attend to their spiritual needs. But of course, the king was the final earthly authority. If he was open to God’s truth all went well, but if he was closed to God’s ways, the whole nation would suffer loss.
People have not changed much today. Leaders, like all of us, resist change!
Today, there are certain individuals who are in touch with God. They hear from God and meet with the church leadership in order to suggest certain things for God’s people. Some of these people are called to be prophets. They might suggest things that maybe are directly opposite to what the church is currently doing. If the pastor takes the correction, he will change the direction of the church. That, I believe is what bringing correction really is: it’s turning people in an opposite direction, so that God is glorified.
In Jeremiah 1:9-10, the prophet talks about God’s calling on his life.
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.”
Sometimes a prophet has to destroy something absolutely: he has to pull all the foundations out from within and rebuild something. Often, that is the only way a problem can be fixed. Pastor Andrew Wommack is not welcome in many churches to do this. Andrew, with God’s awesome enabling has built a highly successful daytime teaching segment on a Christian satellite network. People may accidently find him at first, but if they want to press deeper into God, they will search him out on the internet. He has three Bible Colleges, and is a world conferences speaker, plus he maintains a regular radio ministry. The Bride of Christ would benefit from his profound teaching. If he came to Australia, I would make it a priority to go and personally meet him and sit under his ministry, even if it was in some another state, far from where I live. Why? Because the Holy Spirit chose this one man to transform my life!
This parable tells of people coming to a vineyard to collect its fruits and then being bashed, abused or killed. What has changed today? God sends His messengers in to correct His people and many times they are shunned, just like people shun Andrew. Yet, he is so wise, he genuinely wants people to know the word of God. He is not a false prophet! He is not harsh and judgmental. He speaks the truth in love and yet he is hated so much by some people. Why?
This parable is true: the truth really does hurt. Jesus prophesied His death. It happened! Jesus talked about the Old Testament prophets. They came to correct the people in His vineyard and to turn the people back to the fruit of righteousness, but the people refused to do that; they beat up the prophets and killed them and then they eventually killed the Son of the Landowner. Two thousand years ago, it happened just as Jesus said it would.
Now you might be reading this and thinking, “I know the truth. I don’t need anyone to come to our church and tell us that we are wrong! Our church is taught truth.” You could be right; you may know the right doctrines and believe in the right applications of Scripture, but there are many people who do need to change and this parable is relevant for them today, just as it was when Jesus prophesied His own death.