I think John 1:11 is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” What did we do when the Son of God emptied himself to save us and arrived in person, in the flesh? We despised and rejected him. The sad pattern of God’s chosen people throughout the Old Testament reached its climax when God sent His only Son. Jesus told a parable (Mark 12:1-11) to highlight how sad and shameful this rejection of God’s grace is.
A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.
And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed.
He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, “They will respect my son.”
But those tenants said to one another, “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.”
And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture:
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes”?
Jesus’ told this story to the very chief priests and scribes and elders who were plotting to destroy Him in their jealous rage. They got the point of the story and it only made them more resolved in their commitment to eliminate Jesus. “And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them (Mark 12:12).”
The stunning beauty of the gospel is that Jesus endured this level of hostility against himself from sinners “for the joy set before him” (Heb. 12:2). What joy? The joy of offering forgiveness of sin and eternal peace and fellowship with God, bought by his own blood, even to the ones who had shed it! Remember his final prayer from the cross as they cast lots for his garments? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Kenny Clark will be preaching the fourth message in our Man of Sorrows series this Sunday, He Was Despised and Rejected. Caleb Parker will be leading our sung worship. Would you pray for each as they prepare?
See you Sunday, Grace. Come hungry!
Song Link of the Week
Man of Sorrows by Hillsong Worship
Sent of Heaven, God’s own Son
To purchase and redeem
And reconcile the very ones
Who nailed Him to the tree