April 19, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for the Day

Read Mark 12:1-12

And he began to speak to them in parables. “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. 2 When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”12 And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.

The Enlightenment marked a profound change in human history. No longer was God central to the grand narrative of culture; that place was now taken by men and their optimism for humanity’s potential and ability to create meaning apart from God. People began to invest into the sciences and philosophies not as a way of discovering the wonders of God but to gain autonomy apart from Him. This began the secularization of the world in which we find ourselves today; where society has sought to maximize individual freedom and to write its own narrative script. In some sense, it has attempted to kill off God and take over the course of history – seeing it as its own project.

Similarly, in our passage for today, Israel in its own way attempted to distance themselves from God as a way of running their lives as how they saw fit. Here, Jesus is narrating the story of Israel in parable form. Israel is represented by the vineyard and their religious leaders are represented by the tenants. The servants are the prophets of God who were dismissed and killed throughout the history of Israel. The “beloved Son” in the story is Jesus Himself who is cryptically predicting His own fate that will come at the hands of the religious leaders. In other words, this story condemns the religious leaders’ failure to once again recognize those who are from God; instead, they attempt to keep their traditions alive even if it meant killing God’s servants. This is just like the tenants who said “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.”

In many ways, this is the essence of sin. It is humanity’s attempt at killing off God for the sake of our own individual autonomy. I once heard it said that sin is living life as if God did not exist. In our culture, the temptation to follow this course is strong. Everywhere we look, we see the culture telling us to carve our own path, to follow our dreams, and to pursue the things that make us feel good. However, we have to understand that just like the tenants, the life given to us is not ours; it is given to us by our creator God who has a purpose for our lives- a life meant to be lived out in loving submission to His will and plans for us. Today, let us once again surrender our lives to God in prayer, committed all that we have to Him.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for I have often tried to take control of the life You have given me- living for my own purpose. Help me to surrender and give You full control of every aspect of my life. Help me to trust You with all of my life.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Thessalonians 4


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 12:1-2: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship 2 Do not be conformed to this world  but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Questions to Consider

  1. What is Paul’s main call to the Roman Christians in this passage?
  2. What is the purpose of renewing our minds?
  3. Which part of your thinking reflects the world rather than the thoughts of God?

Notes

  1. Paul is calling them to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to God. The entirety of your life is called to be sacrificed to God as a means of spiritual worship to Him.
  2. Our minds must be renewed so that we may be able to understand and discern what is the will of God for our lives.
  3. Personal response

Evening Reflection

As we are busy carving out and setting the course for our lives, take some time to prayerfully consider where your life is headed. Does it seem like it is a life shaped by God or shaped by your own hand?

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s