Friday after the Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: St. Mark 12:1-12 (NKJV)
1 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 2 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. 5 And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. 6 Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard. 9 Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. 11 This was the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” 12 And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.
“Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others.”
Salvation is a gift, and in the Old Testament God gave that gift to Israel. Bestowing His saving gifts on them (His Word, the type of baptism of the Red Sea, the memorial meal of the Passover Lamb), He expected faith, and He expected that faith to manifest itself in overt faithfulness.
Instead, the children of Israel at best ignored prophet after prophet, and at worst persecuted or even killed them. At the last, God sent His own Son. But the descendants of the Old Testament “church,” which should have rejoiced in His coming, instead crucified Him. Upon many of those responsible fell the temporal, as well as eternal punishment of God.
Now, the vineyard, the Church, is given to us: to all believers, both Jewish and Gentile. We have the Word and the Sacraments, speaking and delivering to us salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus, our Passover Lamb! God grant that we not be faithless, but rather faithfully rejoice in this great salvation, and produce the fruits of faith to the praise, honor, and glory of our Savior God.
We pray: Heavenly Father, we rejoice in the gift of Your Son. Grant us, all our days, faithfully to hear His Word, to respond in faith, and at the last to receive the life of the world to come. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.