Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Preaching Foolishness?

When I read the parable of the wicked tenants (Matthew 21:33-46), I can't help but wonder who is more foolish--the landowner or the tenants.

The landowner spends a ton of money preparing a piece of property to be productive. He did everything right: planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a wine press in it, and set up a watchtower over it. Then, like so many landlords in Jesus' parables, he put someone else in charge of it and went far away. When the time came, he sent some slaves to come and collect his share of the produces. But the tenants beat them--even killing one--and sent the slaves away empty-handed.

So what does the owner do? He sends more slaves--this time a larger group. And what happens next? The tenants do the same to them, abusing them and sending them away empty-handed.

So what does the owner do? He sends his son, thinking that the tenants will respect his son. And what happens next? The tenants kill the son, hoping to seize the land for themselves.

So what does the owner do? Even the hearers of the parable know what happens: "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time."

What sort of owner thinks that sending his own son into that kind of violent, lawless situation is a good idea?

What sort of tenant thinks he can kill the heir and steal the inheritance for himself?

In the story, who is more foolish--the landowner for sending his son to meet his death or the tenants for thinking they could get away with murdering the owner's son?

This Sunday, preach foolishness--God's foolishness and the world's foolishness. God loves us enough to send his own son into a world that continually rejects him. We love ourselves enough to think that we can do it on our own. As Paul writes, "the wisdom of the world is folly with God" (1 Cor. 3:19).

Only a fool would reject God's love. Only a fool (according to the world's understanding) would love those who continually reject him.

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