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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Mark 181 - The Main Character

Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.

Mark 12:1[1]

Alfred Hitchcock was always hiding stories within stories. Like all good storytellers, there were layers of information that were given out over time. There were clues that you could easily miss if you weren’t looking for them. There was deeper information, a deeper truth than want was on the surface. It’s no wonder that he was called the Master of Suspense.

One of the ways he told stories was to put himself into his movies[2]. This gave people something to look for, something to talk about. In “Dial M for Murder” he doesn’t make a live appearance, but instead he’s in a reunion photograph[3], sitting at a banquet table among former students and faculty.

Telling stories is still an effective way of communicating today. It was also really popular back in Jesus’ day. Whenever Jesus spoke in parables, he was doing the same thing. He was telling a story. But more than just a story, he was also sharting a deeper, more important truth than just the words he said.

In this story, this parable, there are many pieces of information. Jesus weaves a story that will keep everyone’s attention. And while Jesus reveals the layers of the story, his listeners are more than just following his words, they’re trying to figure out what he’s saying without saying it. This keeps their attention and increases their ability to remember what he said.

As Jesus tells his story, his parable, there is one word that keeps reappearing. Over and over, Jesus uses this word to emphasize the underlying truth of the story. Can you see what that word is? The key word, the key idea, the key person is “he”.

First referred to as “a man” and then repeatedly spoken of as “he.” “He” is the one who:

· First came up with the idea of the vineyard.

· Acquired the land for the vineyard.

· Knew what was going to be needed for the vineyard.

· Paid for everything in the vineyard.

· Planted the vineyard.

· Built a wall of protection around the vineyard.

· Built the wine press.

· Dug under the wine press to collect the wine.

· Built a tower to see enemies from far away.

This man, this “he” was some kind of guy. He did it all. Paid for it all. Designed it all. Created it all. Got everything all together, made everything ready for the farmers to come in.

The farmers didn’t have to go out and buy anything. Their job was to maintain the vineyard, harvest the fruit, press it, collect the liquid and store it. They only worked in the vineyard, they didn’t own it, they didn’t build it. Their primary responsibility was to maintain it, work it, harvest and hold the results for the man.

This story, this parable from Jesus really describes the world. God created it, he designed it. He put it together. He “invested” his time, energy, and made it a certain way. He did all the heavy lifting; he didn’t need us to create the world.

He then gives it to us. Our job is to take care of it and to return the “fruit” to him. We don’t own the vineyard, we manage it. Yes, we do work it, but there would be nothing to work without him first creating it. There is nothing to maintain if it didn’t first exist. There is nothing to harvest if he didn’t first plant. There is no way to protect it unless he first built it. There’s no way to know if the enemy is coming unless he first built a tower.

You get the idea. It all starts with him. The entire focus is on him. Yes, we get to work at it, but the very idea of working comes from him. The place where we live and work was created by him. It all centers and revolves around him.

And what do you think is the appropriate and correct response to someone who so graciously and fully provides so much? I would think it would be a thankful heart and hard work. They were given everything, so they should be prepared to give everything back.

By now, you’ve figured out that the “he” is God almighty, creator of heaven and earth. And these guys are us. We’ve been on the receiving side of the equation. There’s nothing that we’ve created, nothing that we use that has not already been made.

Our rightful response should be that of wonder, love, and praise. But we’ve done something less, a whole lot less. We’ve ignored, stolen, destroyed, tainted his vineyard. And for that we deserve punishment.

He’s the main character. “He” came to pay the price, the debt, the hole that we’ve dug for ourselves. And that’s what Jesus is all about.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Bible references are from the New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. [2] [3]

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