Scripture reading for January 30th: Matthew 21:28-46, Psalm 19:7-17, Proverbs 5:19-20
Jesus was well aware of the religious leaders plans to have Him killed. He told a parable about a landowner who had a vineyard that he rented to some farmers. At harvest time he sent servants to collect his share of the fruit as the rent due. When the servants came, the tenants seized them and beat them and killed some. Others were sent and were mistreated too. Finally, the owner sent his only son to collect the rent. When the tenants saw the son, they plotted to kill him and take his inheritance for themselves. Jesus asked the question: “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” “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.” (Matthew 21:40-41) This parable should have revealed truth to the religious leaders, if they had been wanting to hear.
Jesus then quoted for them a familiar messianic passage: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.'” (Psalm 118:22-23) An alternate translation renders ‘capstone’ as ‘cornerstone’. Jesus is the cornerstone of the new temple. He was telling them that they would loose out on the kingdom and it would be given to those who would produce the fruit of the kingdom. They must humble themselves and fall on Him for mercy or He would fall on them and shatter them in judgment! (Matthew 21:43-44)
This teaching was hard for the proud religious leaders to swallow. They knew that Jesus was talking about them and wanted to silence Him rather than listen and obey. They wanted to arrest Him then and there, but were afraid of the people. Proper response to Jesus through humble brokenness and obedient faith would have brought cleansing and their addition into the new temple that had Jesus as the capstone (cornerstone). Have you cast yourself on the Stone of Jesus? Do you know that you are anchored to the Rock that is the cornerstone? Take time today to reaffirm your faith and love for Jesus! Religious people are in the most danger!