Devotional Thoughts for Today
Lk. 19:12, 14, 27 (NIV): He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. . . .  But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king’. . . .  He replied,. . . ‘But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me’”
Lk. 20:9-16 (NIV): He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time.  At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed.  He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed.  He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.  “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’  “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’  So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?  He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”
Israel’s Davidic monarchy was broken when Babylonia destroyed Jerusalem and its temple in 586 B.C., and exiled its king (1 Chron. 36). When a remnant returned some 70 years later, their hope of restoring the Davidic monarchy never materialized. But they never gave up hope, especially because Israel continued to suffer the indignity of being conquered by foreign invaders for the next 400 years; at the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Israel had been under the Roman’s control for 100 years.
Now, when Christ came and did amazing miracles, like feeding thousands of people with just five loaves and two fish, the Israelites said, “‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world’. . . . [Then] they intended to . . . make him king” (Jn. 6:14-5). This means that the subjects themselves wanted the nobleman to be their king; the tenants initially welcomed the heir of the owner.
Then, what went wrong? It was a case of an unfulfilled expectation. After Jesus had been crucified, a disillusioned Israelite said, “We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Lk. 24:21), meaning to defeat the Romans and then restore the world order with Israel on top (Is. 14:2). But, instead of plotting to defeat the enemy, they heard Jesus talk about “Bread from heaven.” “At this the Jews began to grumble” (Jn. 6:41), became offended (61), and finally, “many . . . turned back and no longer followed him” (66), presumably to look for another king who will do their bidding. That’s how the subjects ended up rejecting their king; and the tenants, the son.
Do you expect Christ to do for you what you want? If so, you will be disappointed. Instead, align your life to God’s plan; that’s the secret to happiness in life as well. What are you struggling with at the moment? Submit to Christ’s lordship today.
Hear my prayer, O LORD; do not let me disappointed or disillusioned by my false expectation of You. Help me to set my eyes on You and your plan for me; remind me that true satisfaction in life is found in You and You only. You are my King and I shall submit my will to yours. I love You! Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 55
Lunch Break Study
Read Lk. 20:19 (NIV) which identifies to whom the Parable of the Tenants was initially given: “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.”
Matt. 9:33-4, 27:18 (ESV): “And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, ‘Never was anything like this seen in Israel.’  Bt the Pharisees said, ‘He casts out demons by the prince of demons’ . . . . For [Pilate] knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.”
Jn. 3:26-7, 30 (NASB): “And they came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him’ . . . .  John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. . . .  ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’”
Question to Consider
- Why did the Pharisees end up disliking Jesus so much? How did they handle this situation?
- In what sense did John the Baptist face a similar situation which the Pharisees faced?
- What can we learn from John’s handling of the situation? How do you plan to handle your envy?
- The Pharisees envied Jesus because people were more impressed by Jesus and his ministry than their ministry. Once, “the Pharisees said to one another, ‘See this is getting nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!’” (Jn. 12:19). So, they resorted to publicly defaming him and ultimately to kill him.
- Before Jesus, people went to John to hear his preaching and to be baptized by him. But after Jesus came on the scene, everyone began to go to him rather than John.
- John knew and accepted the purpose of his life and ministry; he knew he wasn’t the main attraction but just the opening act. So, John didn’t fret over losing out to Christ because he saw that Jesus’ ministry was more important than his. He was content, knowing that his job was completed. .
How is your relationship with the Lord? Have you been disappointed because God didn’t seem to come through for you? Reflect on your expectation from the Lord: Is it from God or your own heart? Speak to Him in silence; meditate on this: “Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39).