REV. DR. KENDALL SCHAEFFER

Genesis 42:1-34, 38
Mark 12:1-12

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. 2 When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this Scripture:

“ ‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11 this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
12 And they were seeking to arrest Him but feared the people, for they perceived that He had told the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.

Can you imagine renting property to someone and, when you sent to collect the rent, they beat your employee who was trying to collect? Not once, or even twice, but three times and more! How would you feel? Outraged? Angry? Vengeful? Loving?

Whoa, what? Loving? Loving enough to send your only son to collect the payment? And can you imagine being one of the renters, with the attitude that, if you kill the heir YOU will receive the property as YOUR inheritance? How misguided those in the parable Jesus tells seem to us as we read it.

And yet, we see it today. Recently with the beginning of some of the perceived shortages, it was reported that a man was shot by another so the shooter could have the toilet paper the other just purchased. People have hoarded various provisions. Another report showed one man had 17,000 hand sanitizers. The shelves seem empty. When people go to collect what they need, it is not available. Greed is showing itself in differing ways today, as is generosity.

Reports of people reaching out, delivering food for those who cannot make it to the store, even putting boxes by the side of the road so those who can give will do so, those in need may take. People are helping others in ways that are not seen in what we often think of as normal life. So, we find, there is good and bad, as at all other times in our world.

In the course of time, as our world, and life, is disrupted, isn’t it good to know there is always the Son sent to us? Of course, we read of the prophets, some treated shamefully, some sent away empty handed, some put to death for their proclamations. We see prophets run from their assignment and run from persecution. We see others kneel in prayer in spite of warnings of arrest and possible death. So God sent His Son.

It is at the cross where Satan thinks his victory is won, but it is here that his future is sealed and he is bound and defeated! The cornerstone, rejected by many, is the strength of our foundation and the hope we have – in these times, and at all times! Come, then, to the Son, Who gave His life that you might live.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we live in these trying times, give us, we pray, a strength and sense of purpose that would lead us to proclaim Christ Jesus, crucified and raised from the dead. He is the Rock upon which the foundation of our faith is built. You supply our needs; we trust You for healing and peace in our land; through Your Son, our Savior, Jesus, in Whose name we pray. Amen.

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