During Jesus’ time on earth, there were a lot of questions surrounding Jesus’ authority. As is often the case (in biblical times and ours), anything that challenges the status quo is questioned and challenged.
Jesus certainly did this with his teachings, and the ruling class of the day could see that Christ’s words threatened to dismantle all the authority they had gained for themselves by capitalizing on faith. For these leaders, faith was often about them, and not about God.
When large groups of people were having lives transformed by the idea of having a personal relationship with God not tied to all the self-righteous rules those in power enforced, that entire hierarchy and way of life was in jeopardy. It’s this tension that ultimately led to those religious officials’ participation in Jesus’ death in the events of Holy Week.
The story, often known as “the Parable of the Evil Farmers,” highlights these events before they took place because Jesus could see that the hearts of people were turned against him as they focused on their own authority and not on his love.
The story is about those renting a field from an owner, and how they attacked representatives of the owner when the representatives came to collect the owner’s share of the crop. When the owner sent his own son as his representative, the son was killed because the people were focused on their own efforts, forgetting who the land actually belonged to.
While the violence by those individuals in the story might seem separate from us, we all still make this mistake: we get so focused on our own efforts that we lose sight of the bigger picture and resent the truth because it challenges what we’ve decided to prioritize. The big question: how can we reprioritize the bigger picture? How can we see that the fruits of our labor are planted in rented ground? How can we make it a practice to remind ourselves of what is true, and rejoice in it?
Questions for reflection:
- Where have you been prioritizing your own “planting,” forgetting whose “ground” it is?
- Where in your day can you set aside a moment to reprioritize the bigger picture?
God, thank you for being a great “landowner.” Thank you for the ways that you partner with us in cultivating your Kingdom in the world around us. Help us to see that as our main objective, and not get stuck in the smaller picture of our labor. Thank you for that freedom that your truth brings, and I pray you would snap us out of any places in life where we’re stuck with that limited perspective. It is in your holy and good name that we pray, Amen.