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What if Jesus Told a Story about Your Life?
The Gospel of Matthew
Matthew 21:33-46
Sermon by Rick Crandall
(Prepared December 31, 2022)
*Please open your Bibles to Matthew 21:33.
Today we will study another of the Lord's parables.
But what is a parable?
My favorite definition is "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning."
And depending on which Scriptures you include, the Bible gives us about 40 to 50 of these short stories.
*Most of you know that by this time, Jesus was less than a week away from dying on the cross for our sins.
This chapter began with Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
And in Matthew 21:9, "The multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: 'Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' Hosanna in the highest!'''
That word "hosanna" was an emotional expression that means, "Oh save us!"
They were crying out for Jesus, the promised Son of David, to save them.
*But many people lining those crowded streets of Jerusalem were crying out for Jesus to save them from the brutal Roman army.
Those people did not understand our urgent need for Jesus to save us from our sins.
So, they cried out, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"
But later that week, many of those same people cried out, "Crucify Him! -- Crucify Him!"
*They did not know that Jesus is the eternal, only begotten Son of God, who humbled Himself to become a man and die on the cross for us.
That's why vs. 10-11 say, "When He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?''
So the multitudes said, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.''
*Then in vs. 12-13, Jesus went into the Temple of God and drove out all the money changers and merchants.
Jesus told them, "It is written, 'My House shall be called a House of Prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"
Next in vs. 14-15, Jesus healed the blind and lame people who came to Him in the Temple.
But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things Jesus did, they were greatly offended.
Their anger over people being miraculously healed was awful, but it helps us understand how much they hated Jesus.
They had been craving and plotting to murder Jesus for over a year.
*A day or two later, the chief priests, scribes, and elders confronted the Lord again in the Temple.
Luke 20:1 tells us that this happened as Jesus taught the people and preached the gospel to them.
And this time, those temple rulers questioned the Lord about the source of His authority.
*Jesus refused to answer their question directly, because it wasn't quite time for His death on the cross.
Instead, the Lord used a question and some parables to help expose the evil that motivated most of those religious leaders.
*Take the chief priests for example.
They were a small group of wealthy aristocrats called the Sadducees.
And they were happy to cooperate with their Roman conquerors, if that allowed them to keep their wealth and privilege.
On top of that, the Sadducees rejected basically everything supernatural in God's Word.
gave this list of their beliefs that radically contradicted Scripture:
-The Sadducees denied God’s involvement in everyday life.
-They denied the resurrection of the dead (Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18–27; Acts 23:8).
-They believed that souls perished at death, and there was no afterlife.
-They also denied the existence of angels and demons (Acts 23:8).
*The shocking thing is that the Sadducees were the chief priests in that day.
They also held the majority of seats on the Supreme Court that would soon condemn Jesus.
No wonder that in Matthew 3:7 John the Baptist called the Sadducees and Pharisees a "brood of vipers."
*Last time in vs. 23-32, we studied the first parable Jesus told to expose those wicked Temple rulers.
It was the story of two sons.
The first son refused to work in his father's vineyard, but later, he repented and went.
The second brother committed to go, but never did.
*And in vs. 31-32 Jesus asked:
"Which of the two did the will of his father?''
They said to Him, "The first.''
Jesus said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.
"For John (the Baptist) came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him."
*That parable helped us see how all of us should respond to Jesus Christ.
And today's parable will help us see our lives from God's point of view.
Let's read about it in vs. 33-46, and as we read, please think about the story of your life.
*What if Jesus told a story about your life?
That's what He did in today's Scripture, and these religious leaders knew it.
Sadly, it was a story of their rebellion against God, rejection of His Son, and their eternal ruin.
*But what if the Lord walked in here, and started telling a story about our lives?
I know we all would want it to be the exact opposite of this story.
And the good news is that it can be!
*The Lord surely knew the story of these men's lives, and He told it with a parable.
In vs. 33-39, Jesus said:
"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.
37. 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.'
And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
*William Barclay explained that the chief priests and Pharisees knew very well what Jesus intended to say to them in this parable.
"The Jewish nation as God's vineyard was a well-known picture in prophecy.
For example, Isaiah 5:7 says, 'The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant.
He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; for righteousness, but behold, weeping.'
*So, the vineyard is the nation of Israel, and the owner is God.
The vinedressers are the religious leaders of Israel, who were responsible to God for the welfare of the nation.
The messengers who were sent were the God-sent prophets who were so often rejected and killed.
The Son who came last was the Lord Jesus Himself.
And here in a vivid story Jesus set out both the history and the doom of Israel."
*Jesus knew the story of their lives, and Jesus knows the story of our lives too.
Hebrews 4:13 tells us that "there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."
*God sees everything about us past, present and future.
And He is always looking into our hearts and minds.
In 1 Samuel 16, the LORD sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse's sons as the new king of Israel.
So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, "Surely the LORD'S anointed is before Him.''
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him.
For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.''
*That's why God chose the youngest son, David, to be the new king.
God sees us inside and out.
Everybody needs to know that.
*Sometimes we are like Gary Huckaby's daughter, Nikki.
When she was about 3 or 4, Gary caught his little girl eating jelly out of the jelly jar.
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