The Gospel of Matthew

This devotional is written by Jas Walton. Jas loves coffee, cake and cocktails, both serving these to others as well as enjoying plenty herself, as a career and a hobby! Probably also the clumsiest person you'll ever meet, no exaggeration.

Matthew 21:28-46

The parable of the two sons

28 'What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, "Son, go and work today in the vineyard."

29 '"I will not," he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 'Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, "I will, sir," but he did not go.

31 'Which of the two did what his father wanted?'

'The first,' they answered.

Jesus said to them, 'Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

The parable of the tenants

33 'Listen to another parable: there was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall round it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

35 'The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them in the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. "They will respect my son," he said.

38 'But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, "This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance." 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

40 'Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?'

41 'He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,' they replied, 'and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.'

42 Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the Scriptures:

'"The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes"?

43 'Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.'

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

Reflection

Reflecting upon these two parables, I've learnt there is rather a lot of content to unpack!

I have chosen to share just 3 thoughts which I felt stood out to me whilst studying this passage.

 Firstly, OBEDIENCE. Obedient is not really a word I would usually use to describe myself. Not because I am terribly DISobedient, but sometimes I get a bit distracted, or am prone to a little procrastination. I always get round to my list in the end, but sometimes not as efficiently as anticipated, let's say. So, I find the first parable a challenging thought. In all honesty, I can think of times where I can relate to both of the sons. A challenge for me; how often do I do the Heavenly Father's will in the first instance, without procrastination. The beautiful thing to remember here, is that when I do stumble over worldly obstacles and distractions, I can always turn to Jesus, who is, the only one who can save me and put me back on track.

This led me to think about the HARVEST talked about in the second parable. I was thinking about the last year, all the curveballs and disappointments that we have felt and experienced due to Covid. But I was also reminded of the glimmers of things that have been good, and whilst choosing to think of the positive, happy moments, I felt challenged to consider how I had used the gifts God has given to me, to serve him. A reminder for me; that I have an important role to play in God's vineyard, God's Kingdom, and a duty to use my gifts to serve.

I felt my final word to share was COMMITMENT. I've learnt that I need to make sure that I follow through on these things, committing myself to work in the vineyard, doing God's will, using my gifts. Even though we make mistakes, we can be committed to learning from them, trying again, and turning to Jesus every time. He forgives us. Looking at the parables from a wider angle, we can see that the actions that took place are foretelling the story of the cross, which is certainly no coincidence. Reminding ourselves of what happened on the cross is important, and the basis on which our faith stands.


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