Did you never read?

Jesus was incredulous. How could these chief priests and elders respond to his parable the way they did? Maybe a Roman soldier would expect the vineyard owner to destroy the tenants who had murdered his servants and his son. But these men were priests of the Lord, models of holiness immersed in God’s mind as revealed in the Scriptures. They should know better!

Jesus was amazed that the elders didn’t grasp what he thought was a fairly elementary point: God, the vineyard owner, was not going to rain down destruction upon those who killed his servants—or his Son. Quite the opposite, he was going to redeem them. And he would do it by making his Son, the “stone rejected” and murdered, the “cornerstone” of his plan of salvation (Matthew 21:42). That salvation would come, not by destroying evildoers, but by surrendering to them. It would come, not through vengeance masquerading as justice, but through words like “Father, forgive” and “Peace be with you” (Luke 23:34; John 20:19).

We can miss Jesus’ point as well. Where we might expect God to retaliate against sinners—whether ourselves or someone else—he offers pardon. Where we might expect wrath, our Father extends mercy. And by extension, where we might want to exact retribution upon someone who has sinned against us, he urges us to forgive—even “seventy-seven times” if we need to (Matthew 18:22).

As you gaze on Jesus’ cross over the next few weeks, think about how far he was willing to go in order to save you. Think, also, about how far he was willing to go in order to save even your worst enemy. He was willing to become the rejected cornerstone, for you and for everyone else. Don’t miss his message! Let his love—a love that chooses mercy over judgment—become the way you love as well.

“Lord, I am in awe of your love! Truly ‘It is wonderful in our eyes.’” (Matthew 21:42).”

Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28
Psalm 105:16-21
Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46


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