Jesus taught with complete authority, denouncing the misconceptions of the religious leaders of the day. With skill and precision, Jesus uses parables and their own words to silence their challenges and expose their motives. Let's consider His words, heed His warnings, and remember that He alone is righteous and worthy of praise.
A full one-third of Jesus' recorded teachings is in storytelling form. He loved to teach in parables—earthly stories with heavenly meanings. As we consider several of Jesus' parables in this series, we will be captivated by the master storyteller and gain a deeper understanding of important spiritual truths.
*Compiled from Pastor Skip's Expound messages of the Gospels.
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Hebrew terms: בְּאֻשִׁים; beushim, wild grapes
Greek terms: παραβολή; parabole, (a) a comparison, (b) a parable, often of those uttered by our Lord, (c) a proverb, an adage;
Figures referenced: Josephus
Cross references: Psalms 118, Isaiah 5:1-7, Daniel 2, Luke 13:34, Acts 4:5-12, Romans 1:16, 11, Hebrews 11:25
Turn in your bibles please to the Book of Mathew Chapter 21. We didn't get to finish after 21 last time and you know one of the best things about you is that when we said it was time to go and we had to close the bible, you went, "Ahh." You were genuinely disciplined that we didn't get to keep going on and that's just -- it makes what I do so easy. We have such hungry, attentive group of people. Let's pray.
Father, as we heard in the little video clip, we are to render to God the things that are His. We have declared to you that this time has been set aside that we render it unto you so that you have our attention and our affections. And Lord as an active worship, here we are seated attentively to you with our bibles open and our hearts ready, mobile devices off. We're tuned in to what principles might be conveyed through your spirit and your word to your people.
We've come to know the power of the spirit of God taking the word of God and doing a work in the hearts of the people of God. And we pray Lord that we would be recipients of that this evening in Jesus name, Amen.
One of the most tormenting exercises is to listen to poor preaching. It's tough to listen to somebody who just bores you to tears. There was a preacher who was asked to speak at a luncheon for 20 minutes. He went over time. And he went as like in his own world. He wasn't even paying attention to the fact that people were falling asleep as he was speaking.
So, the moderator who told him he had 20 minutes to speak was trying to give him some kind of a clue that it was time to quit like tapping his watch, clearing his throat, but the guy just kept talking. So the moderator finally slammed the gavel down on the desk to get his attention but this preacher just kept droning on and on and on.
Finally, since most at the room was asleep, the moderator in frustration took the gavel and threw it at the preacher. Well, it missed the old preacher and it hit an old, an elderly gentleman in the front row and he was asleep. He woke him up and he said, "Hit me again. I can still hear him." Jesus never had that problem.
We read that when Jesus spoke that the people were amazed that He spoke to them as one having authority, the authority of God, not like the scribes but God's authority. The common people heard him gladly. When he spoke, it was simple. It was at their level. They loved hearing the principles and especially the parables, the stories that He told.
We've already covered some of the kingdom parables in Chapter 13 of Mathew but we come to some more parables. Now, the style of teaching in stories or the parabolic method was quite common in antiquity. In fact, it was one of the favorite styles of the rabbis.
Years ago in the biblical time, the culture was an oral-aural culture. Let me explain. Oral means to speak, aural means to hear. It was a speaking and listening culture. That culture has largely gone away. We are not an oral-aural culture. We are very visual culture and it's even hard for us to keep our attention visually let alone orally and aurally. We have like universal attention deficit disorder as to society. True and I can prove it to you.
Go watch an old black and white movie and it will be tough for you to sit still because Hollywood is so conditioned to you by their rapid technical changes by taking one camera and then another camera and then another camera and all of the glitz and eye candy to go from one spot to another to read body language or emphasis so that to just have a steady camera at an actor for two minutes and do watch a talking head and listen. We tune out.
So, our culture has trained us to be less oral and aural. We don't listen well so we want to see it. We don't listen to music. We watch music. But back then before they had MTV and iPods, and radio even, they had the story teller and the parable was terrific when somebody started the story the crowd would press in to listen because the typical method was to tell a story, post a question and then allow the audience to draw their own conclusion because they were mentally processing the word picture that was being planted in their mind.
The word parable is the Greek word "parabolē" and it comes from two Greek words put together. "Para" and "balas" and put together parabolē, the anglicized form "parable." "Para" in Greek means width or alongside of, balas means to throw or to cast so a parable means "to cast alongside of". And here's the meaning
If I take an earthly experience and cast it alongside of a heavenly truth, it helps you to understand the heavenly truth by using the earthly example. So, if you're a farmer and I tell you a story about somebody planting seed, you're tracking, you get that. That's part of you, the human experience. But if I speak in an abstract fashion about spiritual principles without giving you some earthly example or illustration, it's tougher to mind to hold onto that long.
And in that era when not everyone was literate, the story was powerful and so Jesus spoke in parables. And He is getting His point across to a group of people, a nation, a leadership scheme that had rejected His authority over them.
And He gives two stories about a vineyard, two vineyard parables, one we covered last week and that was about a man who owned a vineyard and he had two sons and he told his two boys to go work in the vineyard. And the first one said "No, not going." You might have a kid like that. But later on as he thought about it, he said "I better go do it" and then he went out and he do what his dad told him to do. The second son said, "Absolutely Dad, sure I'll do it. I'm in." but he never went. He just paid leap service but he never obeyed.
And so Jesus after telling the story, asked the crowed, the typical parabolic way, their rabbinical style, "Which one of these two boys did what his father told him to do?" They said the first.
Now, Jesus gives a second parable. Keep in mind what has happened, where he has been, been in the temple, overturned the tables, drove out the money changers, the leadership has pushed him away and now He's telling another parable with them in mind.
In Verse 33 of Chapter 21, here another parable. There was a certain land donor who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and he leased it to vinedressers, tenant farmers and he went into a far country. Now when vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to vinedressers that they might receive its fruit. Now, the crowd was tracking with him. Many of them were farmers who kept vineyards.
If you ever go to Israel, if you ever come with us on a tour, around the area where Jesus is teaching Jerusalem is the hill country of Judea. It is steep hills. And because it's steep, the hills are terraced. You see him from miles -- terraced, where in the past, somebody has taken all of the stones on the ground and move them to build a retaining wall to flatten the ground and they give more earth for things to grow.
That was always the first step in building a vineyard. Clear the stones, build a wall. Now, you have a retaining wall to hold the soil for you to plant. The second thing you do is you build out of stone a winepress so that when you grow grapes and you crush them, they have a channel in which to flow to be collected. The third thing you do is put a watchtower in that to spy friendly thieves that would come in and upset your industry. And at some point, you want to build a cistern that is a stone carving to gather rainwater so that you can drink it, your workers can drink it and you can water the land in seasons when there is no rain. So, it was a common picture, it was a common story and the people got it, they understood it.
Verse 34 again, he went at vintage time, drew near and he sent servants to the vinedressers that they might receive its fruit. And the vinedressers, these tenant farmers 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. And then last of all, he sent his son to them. You're starting to pick up on the story and the meaning of it?
The son was sent 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." So, they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and they killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers? They said to him -- now the crowd who heard the story, listening will answer the question. Remember, that's the typical rabbinic style. Tell the story, post a question, let the crowd draw their own conclusion. He's told the story. He's post the question, here comes the answer.
They said to him, "He will destroy those wicked men miserably and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him fruits in their season." It's exactly what happened. That's exactly what would happen if this ever really did happen in real life. That's what the owner of a vineyard would do. "They're not taking care of my property. I'm kicking them out. I'm bringing new ones in because I want fruit. That's what I'm after. That's why I built a wall and a watchtower and a winepress and planted grapes and hired these guys. I want fruit."
Now this is an easy parable to understand and they already understood because more than once in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel is compared to a vineyard and it was a very commonly heard sermon in the synagogues and every spiritual leader that listen to Jesus' words on this day understood. The house of Israel is God's vineyard. In fact, the very story that Jesus tells sounds very familiar. If you know the Old Testament as they did, they're already thinking Isaiah Chapter 5.
I'm going to turn to Isaiah Chapter 5 for just a moment and read the section to you. You can turn there if you like. If you don't like, you don't have to turn, just let me read it to you. But this is from the Old Testament. Listen how similar this is. "Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill." I suggest that the "fruitful hill" was Mount Zion, Mount Moriah, Jerusalem itself. "He dug it up." The next verse says, "And cleared out all of its stones."
Reminiscent of God kicking the Canaanites out of the land taking the stones away, planting Israel his choice vine in that land to bear forth fruit "And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes."
Now, if you were a Hebrew speaking, you would have noticed that there is a plan words in the Hebrew in this verse. Listen to it. "When God expected His vineyard to bring forth 'adashim, good grapes, it brought forth be'ushim, wild grapes. God wants 'adashim, you're giving Him be'ushim. Plant words, it just makes that all the more powerful and it's rendering."
Verse 3, "Now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth 'adashim, Did it bring forth be'ushim. And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down and I will lay it waste; It shall not be pruned or dug, But there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds That they rain no rain on it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel."
There you have it. It's spelled out. You don't have to guess. The metaphor is uncovered, it's plain. Behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help. "And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice." that's the fruit "but behold, oppression." those are the wild grapes. "For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help."
So, in going back now to Mathew 21, that parable is easy to understand. Who are the vinedressers? The vinedressers are the leaders of the house of Israel to whom God entrusted His inheritance. So, He sent servants to go get fruit. Who are the servants, the prophets? Then He sent His son, His son is Jesus Christ, His son.
Something else and we wouldn't get this as English readers but I want to give you as much background because I want really to understand the scriptures to the greatest possible ability that I can.
It says he cleared the stones and he made a hedge and the word "hedge" is used in both Old Testament and the New Testament. I believe that's a reference to the Laws of Moses. Because the rabbis used to call the Law of Moses in Hebrew, say "Yag Hatorah" which means the hedge of the law, that God has provided a hedge for us, a protection, something to identify us as His own special people and that is the Law of Moses, the covenant Law of Moses, the hedge of the law.
And God, after giving us all of the natural and supernatural benefits, He wants fruit. He didn't get any fruit and he explains that it is the house of Israel. Now Jesus is the son. He walked into the temple. They rejected Him. They have been continually rejected Him. In a few days, they're going to do what to Him? They're going to crucify Him. They're going to kill Him just like the parable. So, like in the Old Testament, God is using the parable to indite Israel. In the New Testament, Jesus the Lord, the Messiah of Israel is using the parable to indite Israel.
When Jesus came into Jerusalem a couple of days before this on that donkey ride, and the last time we were together, I believe we uncovered Luke Chapter 22, Luke's rendering of that passage. And it says that when Jesus went over the city of Jerusalem and he already said, "O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone all those who are sent unto you." How often I would have gathered your children to get there but you were not willing. And He predicted their demise, their fall in 70 AD.
So, the prophets were sent, the servants were sent. God wants fruit, they didn't get fruit. They kept getting the snub.
So back to the parable, they answered the question. He will destroy those wicked men miserably and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in its season. In other words, they get it. That's what happened. We know what the application is that Israel as a nation would be set aside temporarily and the good news that was originally for the nation of Israel first, to the Jew first and also to the Greek was given to non-Jews, gentiles. That is most everyone in this room. The Church would be born.
Fruit would come as the good news would go out into other parts of the world. And so Jesus verse 42 said to them "Have you never read in the scriptures the stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone? This was the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes." Now you will notice a change of metaphor, right? The metaphor is the vineyard. Now, it's a stone. And here is why.
Jesus is quoting now Psalm 118, in Messianic Psalm, one that they would also recognize. And he is quoting Psalm 118 to show that the rejected stone as predicted by David was the rejected son in the parable. He is bringing the scripture into his parable saying the tenant farmers rejected the son. And as predicted, the nation has rejected the Chief Cornerstone so he changes the metaphor. He brings the scripture to validate his parable.
Okay. When buildings were built back then, they didn't use 2X4 studs and just pour a cement foundation and -- hammer the plate down and then put up the studs and go from there. They used stone. And because of that, if you'd go to Israel today, you can still see after 2000 years sections of the temple built stone upon stone or that is the temple foundational elements of that mountain.
A couple months ago, we stood at the very base of one of those corners in Jerusalem and you're standing on the old Romance street and you're looking up at the temple mountain, you'll see all of these stones that are aligned one on top of the other, tons of weight still standing because the cornerstone was always the most important stone that was led, everything was aligned symmetry and stability depending upon how that stone was set up. If the stone wasn't just perfect, everything would be off so the builders had to select the right cornerstone.
That's a prediction. The stone which the builders have rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone. They rejected the cornerstone which the whole nation would be build upon and that is the Messiah, that is Jesus, this was the Lord's doing. It is marvelous in our eyes.
This very same scripture -- write down in your notes or on the margin of your Bible, Acts Chapter 4. Peter will use this scripture in the book of Acts. Do you remember it? Remember when the man who was sitting at the gate beautiful was lame from birth and he said "Alms for the poor." and Peter stopped right there and he said "Silver and gold have I none but what I have, I give to thee in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
And so a healing was done in the Temple of Courts and all of the people of Israel were in the temple that they gathered in mass around and the leader, the Pharisees, the scribes said, "By what authority are you doing this?" And then first of all, when is the last time you guys healed anybody or saw somebody healed like this except when Jesus was around "But that they were just all enough. Who gave you this authority?"
And so Peter said "If we are being called into question this day by a good deed done into this impotent man be it known unto you and to all the house of Israel that in the name and by the name of Jesus of Nazareth whom you crucified but God raised from the dead this man stands before you whole."
And the Peter said "This was the stone which was rejected by you, builders but has become the Chief Cornerstone, neither is their salvation in any other for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Very appropriately used to that scripture, Psalm 118, like Jesus does here tying in the rejected son, the rejected stone and it's something that is used at other times in the New Testament.
Therefore Verse 43, Matthew 21 Verse 43, "Therefore I say to you the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it." which is what happened. Judicially -- listen carefully. Judicially, Israel has been hardened, blinded. Because the rejected their Messiah, God basically said "You are on hold for a while. I'm going to do work with the rest of the world". Hebrews 11:25 "Blindness impart has happened unto Israel until the full number of the gentiles be gathered in."
But it's not permanent. Mark that as well. It's not like as some people teach in some churches that Israel is set aside and the new Israel is the Church and God will never again establish a covenant with the Nation of Israel. That is false theology because in the 11th chapter of Romans, Paul poses the question "Has God rejected his people?" God forbid. And he says "For if the casting aside of Israel has brought such fruit, what will happen when their fullness comes and it will."
At some point in history, there is going to be a 144,000 Jews in the tribulation period who receive Jesus as their Messiah and they become the evangelistic catalyst to win an enumerable company of gentiles in that tribulation period to faith in Christ. But judicially, this has happened. "The Kingdom of God will be taken from you, given to a nation bearing the fruits of it and whoever falls on the stone will be broken but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder."
Now please know that verse carefully. Because you have it in two sections, you have two different movements happening. The first is whoever falls on this stone -- speaking about the Chief Cornerstone himself will be broken but on whomever it falls, it will grind them to powder. In the first movement, we have the stone on the ground. The people run into and are broken
In the second movement, we have the stone coming from above descending from above, crushing and breaking. As I see it, those are the two comings of Jesus, the first coming and the second coming. He came the first time. Israel ran right into the Messiah, it was broken up over it, by it. The city was destroyed. The nation was vanquished by the Romans it went into oblivion for a number of years. God always had a plan for the nation. But in the end of days, Jesus Christ will come back and grind to powder all of the enemies, his enemies and the enemies of Israel and set up an everlasting kingdom using the Jews.
Let me take your mind back. Let me tell you a story. Let me paint a picture. It is actually right out of Daniel Chapter 2 in the Old Testament. Do you remember that the leader in Iraq at that time, Babylon was Nebuchadnezzar? Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of the world then one night, he put his head on his pillow and he couldn't get much sleep and he tossed and he turned because he was wondering what's going to happen in the future and he had a very troubling dream. He woke up the next day and he said "Call on my magicians and wise guys together and they have to tell me two things, what I dreamt and what it means. If they can't, I'm going to kill them and destroy their families and their homes."
So the head of the magicians and the wise guys came to old Neb and said "Dude, what's up?" Well, he didn't say that but basically in our vernacular he said, "Dude, what's up with that?" Look through the annals of history, there has never been wise men who have been ever to tell what somebody has dreamt and then gives its interpretation. If you tell us what you dream then we'll give you the interpretation weak link because you can always make something up. I think that means this and this means to that."
So Nebuchadnezzar said "Okay. Obviously, you can't do your job so you're all dead and I'm going to make your houses in ash sheet. The gavel went down to destroy all of them. Well, among that group was a few guys from Israel. One of them was named Daniel. And when Daniel heard about it, he said to Arioch, the manager over that bunch "Go back to the king and tell them relax. There is a God in heaven who knows everything. I will give the king what he wants."
So Daniel comes and the king says, "I hear that you can tell me what I dreamt and what it means." He says "Really I can't king but there is a God in heaven who can and he knows exactly who you are, what you've dreamed about and what it means and I'm here to tell you."
"In your dream, you were troubled and you wondered about the future. And in your dream, you saw this huge image with the head of gold and it had arms and chest of silver. It had stomach and thighs of bronze and it had legs of iron. It had feet of iron and clay and as you were looking at this terrible awesome image, suddenly there was a stone, not made with human hands that came out of heaven and struck the image at its feet and destroy the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold and it formed into a mountain that covered the entire Earth."
And Neb, the king, Nebuchadnezzar said "Yeah. That is exactly what I dreamed. Now tell me, what does that mean?" Daniel said "You o king are the head of gold. You're in-charge of the world. Your kingdom goes from river to river. You fray this to the Nile. You are the supreme dude. But after you will come, will arise another kingdom inferior to yours which will rule the Earth and that is the chest and arms and silver. And after that, another kingdom, the stomach and thighs of bronze. And after that, another kingdom. And in the end of days will come a confederation of 10 kingdoms, the 10 toes partly of iron, partly of clay related to the old kingdom." which became the Roman Empire eventually, the legs of iron so it was the Babylonian then the Medo-Persian, then the Grecian then the Roman, world governing powers.
"In the days of those kings, those 10 kings, God will establish, the most high will establish a kingdom, that's the stone coming out of heaven and killing all of the kingdoms of men and set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed." So it was a common familiar picture to them?
So when Jesus says to them whoever falls on this stone will be broken. But on whomever it falls, it will grind them to powder." you understand the imagery. You can stumble into Jesus Christ and get broken up by it. And like the Jewish nation was divided over, broken up by it, they lost their citizenry, they lost their capital, they lost their identity or you can surrender to Jesus Christ and be broken internally, spiritually or you can reject Christ and in the end, he will grind you to powder and he'll establishes his kingdom with you or without you. You'll go into everlasting destruction for hell and torment forever and ever or you can be a part of his everlasting kingdom. You choose. Fall on the stone and be broken or the right rock will grind you to powder.
Now Verse 45, "when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them." Oh, they have a keen eye for the obvious. "But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet."
They got it. They understood that this Jesus was saying we are the tenant farmers who have rejected the servants and killed the son. We get it. You're saying we're the ones who rejected the Chief Cornerstone, the prophetic passage out of Psalm 118. We understand that you're speaking this against us. So they thought, "Well, let's not talk to him. Well, let's sit down and reason this out." "No. Let's just grab him and kill him which would be fulfilling exactly what he said they would do.
"And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables." so he's not letting them go right away. It sound like "Okay, school is out. See you later. No, he is not done with them. He is not finished. He has more things to say to them. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle are killed and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."'
Now marriages were big deals in those days. It wasn't just gather together, say a few vows, go eat a cake, bye-bye, have a honeymoon. It was huge. It was a seven-day feast. And if it was a king throwing a wedding and it was a royal wedding, well -- do you saw a royal wedding probably on television a few months back. Did you see that one? Yeah I saw his parents, Charles and Diana when they got married. That was huge and I love that whole but a royal wedding is pretty fancy.
The king gives out a two-fold invitation. Invitation number one in advance, servants are sent out establishing that they're invited to the feast. Servants personally invite. It's not by letter. It's not by email. Of course they didn't have that but they personally as ambassadors of the king invited people to come. Second, once the feast was made ready then the second invitation like saying "Dinner is served. Come on in and get it."
But, Verse 5, "But they made light of it and went their ways." They walked out. They didn't walked in to the feast. They walked out from the invitation. "They made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business and the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully and killed them but when the king heard about it, he was furious and he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers and burned up their city."
Now you go, "Well that's pretty harsh." Actually, I'm amazed that in Verse 3 it says "They were not willing to come and again, he sent out other servants." That's what I'm amazed at. Usually kings invited you once. If you go, "Nah, forget it." That's when the king would say off of their heads the first time. You get one chance. For the king to humble himself and almost beg people to come was unheard of so the people would understand when he said "You know what that king is going to do? He is going to destroy them."
Again, this is a parable spoken against them. The pattern of God was in the New Testament "To the Jew first", Romans chapter 1, Verse 16 "And also to the gentile." Paul went to the Jewish synagogue first when he went to a town. Once they said "Get out of here, then he turned to the gentiles" and he became the apostle to the gentiles. But that is God's pattern, to the Jew first and also to the gentiles.
Do you remember in the book of Acts when Steven stood up before the people descend -- Hedron and the people. And he stood up. And at the end of his speech before he was stoned to death, he said to them and -- when I quote this, you'll understand why he was stoned to death. He said to them -- here is his closing remarks, here is his clenching close of his sermon. "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and in ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. You are following" he is saying to the Jewish people, "--a long legacy of rejecting God's rule over you. You killed the prophets. You stoned them. You drove them out of the vineyard just like your father did so to you." and they took him and they stoned him to death.
Now in Verse 7, notice what it says at the end of it "And burned up their city." What was Jesus predicting? What was he anticipating by this? The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD which was quite a burning, I've told you about before. But I did bring a little section with me just for your benefit of the writings of Josephus because he wrote about what happened.
He wrote prolifically about what happen and this what he said "That building, the Temple of Jerusalem, God long ago had sentenced to the flames", interesting remark. But now in the revolution of the time periods, the faithful day had now arrive the 10th of the month lose the very day which previously it had been burned by the king of Babylon. One of the soldiers neither waiting orders nor fulfilled with horror of dread, of an undertaking but move by some super natural impulse snatched a brand from the blazing timber hoisted it up by one of the fellow soldiers and flung the fiery missile through a golden window.
When the flames rose, a scream is pointed as the tragedy went up from the Jews. Now that the object which before they guarded so closely was going to ruin while the sanctuary was burning, neither pity for age nor respect for a rank was shown on the contrary, children, old people, laity and priests alike were massacred, that's the history. This is before the history, this is before the event, Jesus predicting in parabolic form and burned their city, anticipating the destruction of the city and the temple in 7080.
Now go back and look at Verse 7, "But when the king heard about it he was furious" -- I already that, excuse me. Verse 8, "And he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore, go into the highways and as many as you find invite to the wedding." So those servants went out in the highways and gathered together all whom they found both bad and good and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw that a man who was there who did not have on a wedding garment. And so he said to him, "friend," not beautiful, not jerk, but he is gracious. "Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?" And he was speechless and said no excuse. And the king said to the servants, "Bind him hand and foot, take him away and cast him into outer darkness," that is the darkness that's furthest away from the light.
"And there would be weeping and there would be gnashing of teeth for many are called but few are chosen." You can see the dilemma because the guy wants lots of guests for his son, it's the time to celebrate his son and nobody is coming to it. "Get anybody, get everybody, go into the byways and the highways just grab people and bring them in." Now in doing so, in going out to the public this way, nobody would be dressed right because they didn't anticipate going to a wedding you know, what if suddenly you're out in your t-shirt and shorts and you find yourself the best man at the wedding? It would be awkward. Or invited to see the President of the United States at a thousand-dollar applied dinner, you would look really weird.
So because the invitation went out to the public, knowing that people would not have the right clothing, the king provided clothes to cover them. But evidently, there was one who said, "I don't need what the king provides, I don't need his clothing. I'll just come in as I am. This is enough."
I have learned something about dress protocol. I have not been very good at it but I have noticed that it's better to over dress than to under dress for an occasion, you know. And we say, "What's the dress for the occasion?" "Well it's business casual." What business casual means in the South West is very different than what business casual means on the East Coast. Business casual means you were slacks, a tucked in shirt, a tie but no sports coat. That's casual. Formal means a tuxedo, not a suit.
Well these are people from the countryside, so garments are given, but there is one man underdressed who has obviously spurned the king's provision of clothing. Things he can get in by his own merits, his own wear which was a snob against the king himself. This describes the person who is attached formally to Christ, as an outward profession says, "I go to church, I sing songs, I believe somewhere in my head that God exists, but there is not really -- there is not really an inward change." And what I mean by that is this is the person who trusts in his own righteousness. You see Isaiah said that all of our righteousness is as filthy rags.
Paul said concerning the Jewish people as a whole, in Romans 10, "And they, being ignorant of Gods righteousness, and trusting in their own righteousness have rejected the righteousness of God." Remember how Jesus said, you get into the Kingdom, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." "Yeah, I'm bankrupt," "I have nothing to come with," "I'm unclothe properly," "I don't have" -- but the worst type of center is the self-righteous center who says, "I don't need God's provision of Christ dying for my sins, I'm good enough the way I am. I can get in by my own good deeds."
He is there superficially, and Jesus says, the king said to the servants, "Bind him hand and foot. Take him away, cast him in the outer darkness there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." And this is for many that are called or summoned invited, but few are chosen that is, all of those who are summoned not everyone believes, believes. Many who are summoned called, but a few believed. Now it says, few are chosen, that's because those who believed discovered they have been chosen. They are the elect.
I know some of you have done a lot of reading on this and I'm not going to bug the rest of you down with the fine points either/or but you have two perspectives in the scripture, given hand in hand. The call of God, the election of God, the sovereignty of God and freewill or the freedom of choice that a human being has to cooperate with the summons.
When a person decides to follow Christ they discover in the process, "Oh, I thought I chose Jesus but Jesus chose me." Remember Jesus said to his disciples, "You didn't choose me, I chose you and ordained you," so on one hand you have human volition making the choice to follow. On the other hand you discovered, "Oh I've been part of the elect all along and this is the time and space where God's, let me give me you a term, "prevenient grace" that's the theological term. Prevenient grace is that the one who seeks the Lord, discovers that he has been sought after by the Lord to even get him to seek the Lord. He's elect.
But in the process of being elect, he also by his own freewill makes the choice. And you go, "Well those contradict each other." No they don't, they are perfectly aligned with each other. One is from the divine perspective and one is from the human perspective. Now you and I don't understand God's perspective, can you at least admit that? Can you admit? Well let's see. I'm not on mission, I don't know everything. I know everything that will happen or that has happened from eternity past or eternity future. God does that's what prophecy is all about. He writes out what's going to happen and it comes to past, so has that capacity of knowledge of which no human being has that matched capacity.
So God can say, "You didn't choose me, I chose you all along." "Really? Well, it just seemed like I discovered God and then I chose him." "All along I drew you. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him," Jesus said. Both are true. Let me give you an example. I flew yesterday from Southern California and God, into Albuquerque a little after midnight, about 12:30. Now, it was a couple of flights to get me from there to here that were already pre determined by the Federal Aviation Association the FAA had approved the flight going from there to Phoenix and Phoenix to Albuquerque. Now it was pre determined before I made the choice to get on that flight. I have made the choice to buy the ticket to get on that flight. I got on the flight. And while I was on the flight along with everybody else, there were several choices we made. We could choose to talk or to read, to be silent, to eat three peanuts that come in the bag, drink the drink that they offer or not, converse with other passengers or not we had all of those choices to same time we're following a pre-determined flight plan. It was the coming together of our choice and something that was pre arranged.
Both are true, you have been elected by God, but you are summoned and invited to come and it does take the cooperation of a person's freewill. So I do not hold to the strict Calvinistic doctrine of irresistible grace. I just can't help what I'm being drawn and that is it. God cooperates with my choice and you see that beautifully master throughout the scripture. If you try to lean on one side or the other you cannot -- you don't have to believe me but I'll guarantee you, you will be very confused. Very confused and I've watched so many people go off the deep and trying to follow either, trying to understand first of all the mind of God. But as I read the scripture I find it both are true and there is no conflict, it is an apparent or seeming contradiction but no contradiction at all. And I've given you the example, light is an apparent contradiction, because light has wavelength and eminent rays, it has both properties. But science will tell you that you can't have one and the other; there is one or the other. Light has both properties; it's an apparent contradiction, but it is.
And so it is with my freewill to choose and God's sovereign calling an election of choosing me. So many are called but few are chosen, then the first he's when in plotted how they might entangle him in his talk. And look, so what they're planning and notice what they do? They sent to him their disciples with the Herodians, now the Herodians were Jewish people who were politically inclined, they were behind the dynasty. The Roman Dynasty of the rule of the Herod family, they were the Herodians. They were political believers. It's all about politics. We're going to change things by bringing in the body politic and voting the right person into office. They loved the rule or at least we're behind the rule of the Herodians.
The Pharisees on the other hand hated the Herodians, hated Rome. And yet, both groups that are opposed to each other can get together because they both hate Jesus more than their petty differences. It's interesting. Hostility makes such strange bed fellows. They sent their disciples with the Herodians saying, "Teacher, we know that you are true." Now listen to how they butter up. "We know that you are a true lie," they don't know that he is true. They don't believe he is true. "And that you teach the way of God in truth," lie. "Nor do you care about anyone," that is for the person of anyone. You're not regarding somebody because they have a degree or because they are wealthy. "For you do not regard the person of men."
Tell us therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? They were deceptive, they were liars and they are using the sandwich approach: flattery. They butter them up. Sandwich approach is you know you, butter up both sides of bread but you have something very different in between. Say, "Oh, yes. You're so awesome, you're so amazing," but you know what, there's just one little issue that I've had that I want to talk to you about." That's why often would somebody said, "Oh Skip, why I listen to you and it's just one," and I'm always thinking, "I praise for to go. Okay, here it comes anytime now."
But that's what they do with Jesus. Tell us what do you think, is it lawful to pay your taxes to Caesar or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness and he said, "Why do you test me, you hypocrites? Show me the tax money," and they brought to him a Denarius. And he said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this?" They said to him, "Caesars". They said to him, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and at God the thing that are God's." And when they heard these words, they marveled and left him and they went their way. Now taxes have always been an issue that people have argued about. I have that people come up to me and say, "The IRS is a fraudulent agency and Christians should never pay tax," we have a name for those people. They are called "prisoners", they get arrested for that. I don't care how you slice it, it's illegal.
The Roman tax system is much more oppressive than your tax system. And the biggest issue they dealt with was the poll taxes so they had to pay the Roman government for services, every people does. You can complain about taxes but you need police and you need military and you need people cleaning up the streets like the guy mentioned in the video. And in the Roman days they brought what's called the Pax Romana, a relative enforced piece to the world by the strong Roman legions that ruled the areas that were unconquered. You had to pay for that.
Well that is what the Jews opposed, yet they had peace but they are having to pay to be oppressed. They have to pay to be conquered by them. And yeah they got Roman roads and yeah, they got Roman aquadox and yeah they got an enforced piece but we're paying the very people that are oppressing us. Not only that, but the little coin, the denarius which was the day wage for a soldier, one denarius, the denarius was a silver coin and it was only Caesar who could mint or have the authority to call for a minting of silver and gold coins. And the denarius had on one side a side profile of Caesar, his image, his inscription.
On the other side was a picture of Caesar seated with these flowing robes of justice on the back. So the Jews who hated any imagery at all saw the paying of the tax as sort or double whammy. We hate paying to be oppressed and we hate the fact that we have to pay with a denarius which is an idolatrous image because the Jews don't cast images. So they hated it. So they thought, "Let's try Jesus." "Hey, is it lawful to pay taxes or not?" Now they think they have him over a barrel, catch 22. If he says, "Yes, pay taxes," then the Pharisees are going to hate him, all of his followers will be in disarray because they feel the oppression as well so he is going to divide the crowd. If he says, "No, don't pay taxes," the Herodians are going to be against him and they're going to say, "He's a traitor, villainous. Arrest him," so they thought, "We got him."
And so he says, "Well, show it to me." Well whose face is that? Well it's Caesars. Well, give what belongs to Caesar to Caesar. But give what belongs to God, to God. Caesar's face is on that, "Go give it to him," it says. "It's right for a believer to pay taxes," if you don't believe me, read Romans 13. If you have a hard time paying your income taxes and you don't believe in the IRS, memorize Romans 13. But just at it is right for Caesar to collect taxes, it's also right for God to collect worship and devotion. He wants you, he wants all of you. In fact he wants you more than he wants you money. Yes, he will use whatever you give for the Kingdom of God in terms of financial resources, but he is after your heart. Render to God the things that belong to God. When they heard these words, they marveled and they left him and they went their way. It's always a quandary when I get to this spot because I know that I have to stop but I wish our Bible said it was an hour and a half instead of an hour. It's just unfair. Oh well, the mind cannot retain what they seek cannot endure, and I don't have a verse reference for that.
Our Father, we are arrested by that statement, that as citizens of the earth, we owe to our superiors honor, revenue and taxation. So thankful Lord that we live in a society that though there is debate as to whether things are spent the right way, we do live in a relative peace and we do have protection and it is the nation of Laws for which we pay as citizens of the earth but also we are citizens of heaven. Our citizenships of Paul is in heaven.
And my mind goes to the opening of that book Philippians, Paul and Timothy servants of the Lord, to the Saints who are in Christ Jesus in Philippi, that we have a Philippi, that we have an earthly address and a heavenly address. We live here in New Mexico in the United States but we live also anticipating our ultimate place of residence, and that is Heaven. And so we are to render both to the government, to the powers that be what is due them; respect, honor, and taxation because you said that even those who collect these taxes and rule over us in the earthly realm are appointed by you. And that if we rebel against them, we're rebelling against you who are also citizens of heaven so I pray Lord that we would invest in heavenly things, heavenly activities, heavenly endeavors, seeking to be strengthened and then to strengthen others with the truth, rendering and giving you everything because you own us and certainly you should collect our devotion, our allegiance and our obedience. In Jesus' name Amen.