Tuesday in Holy Week 2019

Cross in wall, east of Well Croft, Laycock, Keighley. Photo by Tim Green at Flickr

Tuesday in Holy Week 2019

A man once planted a vineyard and rented it out. Then he left the country for a long time. When it was time to harvest the crop, he sent a servant to ask the renters for his share of the grapes. But they beat up the servant and sent him away without anything. So the owner sent another servant. The renters also beat him up. They insulted him terribly and sent him away without a thing. The owner sent a third servant. He was also beaten terribly and thrown out of the vineyard.

The owner then said to himself, “What am I going to do? I know what. I’ll send my son, the one I love so much. They will surely respect him!”

When the renters saw the owner’s son, they said to one another, “Someday he will own the vineyard. Let’s kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves.” So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

Jesus asked, “What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? I’ll tell you what. He will come and kill those renters and let someone else have his vineyard.”

Luke 20:9-16

All the Synoptic Gospels report that Jesus’ final week was characterized by public teaching, disputes and other encounters with the people and religious leaders in Jerusalem. One example in Luke is this parable.

This particular parable is straightforward and more allegorical than many other of Jesus’ stories.

  • Israel is traditionally symbolized as God’s vineyard (for example, Isaiah 5:1-7), so in this story God is the owner and the vineyard the nation.
  • The renters are the nation’s leaders, those responsible for stewarding God’s people, practicing and encouraging covenant faithfulness.
  • Israel’s prophets are portrayed by the servants God sends time and time and time again for his harvest.
  • Finally, the owner sends his beloved son to represent him, but the renters seize him and kill him. This, of course, is Jesus himself, who came to his own but his own would not receive him.
  • The owner executes judgment on the vineyard’s stewards and puts others in charge of it. This is a warning that the current leaders of Israel are about to lose their privileged status and the Gentiles will be brought in to share in the promise.

Again, this time through an allegorical parable instead of a prophetic action, Jesus tells the story of Israel and puts himself right at the climactic point of it. He is the One God sent as rightful heir and ruler of his vineyard.

This is not a story that is going to end well. Or so it seems.

6 thoughts on “Tuesday in Holy Week 2019

  1. Hello Ronald Avra,

    I agree with this: “I can’t get beyond the feeling in my gut that depictions of Jesus generally fail to move beyond caricature.”

    I have found something of meaning in the ancient writings of the Cappadocian Fathers on ‘Who Christ was’. Here’s an example:

    “At one and the same time—this is the wonder— as Man He was living a human life, and as Word He was sustaining the life of the universe, and as Son He was in constant union with the Father. Not even His birth from a virgin, therefore, changed Him in any way, nor was He defiled by being in the body. Rather, He sanctified the body by being in it. For His being in everything does not mean that He shares the nature of everything, only that He gives all things their being and sustains them in it. Just as the sun is not defiled by the contact of its rays with earthly objects, but rather enlightens and purifies them, so He Who made the sun is not defiled by being made known in a body, but rather the body is cleansed and quickened by His indwelling, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.”

    (Athanasius, 296-373 A.D.)
    Doctor of the Church
    and, in tradition: ‘Father of Orthodoxy’


  2. Susan, thank you for this comment.
    Sometimes a timely recognition of events is not so much ‘off topic’ when so many are affected that to keep silent is not in the nature of ‘who we are’, who are told to ‘weep with those who weep’. Yes, may God have mercy!


  3. It’s so easy for us to think that things were simple for Jesus because he was divine. But I’ll tell you, I have never been driven to worship Jesus as God more than when, through N.T. Wright’s “Jesus and the Victory of God”, I was brought to deep consideration of all he went through as a human. In our creaturely inability to hold them both together equally, we pull those two out of balance in both directions.



  4. I find that stories such as this make it difficult to arrive at a definitive portrayal of Jesus; his is a complex personality. Maybe others have no difficulty grasping a comfortable image, but I can’t get beyond the feeling in my gut that depictions of Jesus generally fail to move beyond caricature.


  5. Luke 20:19 – “The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.”


  6. As we are in Holy week
    maybe on topic.
    But in the event in Paris of the engulfing of the Cathedral I offer
    My husband before his dementia looked after the vestments and Altar frontals, hangings, embroidered items and fine linens, furniture, silver ware and other items of value in our church.
    We were a big church of significance in our Diocese.
    Our daughter visited Notre Dame de Paris some years ago and was so anxious to tell her father of the beautiful vestments and works of art she saw. The vestments were in the crypt she told us. Maybe they are saved. She wished her Dad could have been there with her.
    John with much dedication spent 26 years looking after the fabric of our church.
    His way of serving his Lord.

    I feel for the people of France who may have some similar close connection with their Cathedral.
    I pray for the people of Paris.

    Lord have mercy.


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