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Friday of the Second Week in Lent. The reading is from Gospel of Mathew 21:33-46.

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:

“Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.

But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned.

Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way.

Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’

But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’

They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him

What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”

They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.”

Jesus said to them, Did you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes’?

Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.

[The one who falls on this stone will be dashed to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.]”

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them.

And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

This same incident is told in Mark 12:1-12 and in Luke 20:9–19.

In Mathew 21:33, “… put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. …” , Jesus quotes from Isaiah’s “The Song of the Unfruitful Vineyard”:

He spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; Within it he built a watchtower, and hewed out a wine press…(Isaiah 5:2)

This parable of the landlord and his tenant is a prophetic allegory where:

  • the the vineyard represents Israel;
  • tenants are the chief priests, pharisees, and other Jewish leaders;
  • the servants are the prophets;
  • the son is Jesus himself;
  • the lease is the covenant which God made with the people of Israel again and again.

God sends His prophets (servants) to the vineyard (the people of Israel) expecting righteousness from His people in return for His blessings. The tenants (chief priests, pharisees, and other Jewish leader), seize the prophets, beat one, kill another and stone another. Again God sends more prophets and all the prophets that were sent by Him, receive the same treatment.

Finally, God (the landowner), sends His son (Jesus) to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” Rather than accepting the Son of God, the chief priests, pharisees, and other Jewish leaders plot against Him because thousands of people were following Jesus after hearing His words. They are worried about the charisma that Jesus had on the people.

According to this parable the tenants were not fools when they said “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.” (Mathew 21:38) because according to the law of those days if a heir apparent died without having made a legal will, his property was considered unoccupied land, and it went to the first person who claimed it. If tenants were already on the land, they had the first opportunity to claim the property by virtue of occupation.

And finally as Jesus prophesied the chief priests, pharisees, and other Jewish leaders plot against Him and kill Him – the Son of God.

Jesus then asks the pharisees, “Did you never read in the Scriptures

‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes’?

Here Jesus refers to Psalm 118:22, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

In ancient days, stonemasons carefully chose the stones to be used in constructing a structure such as a house or a public building. No stone was more important than the cornerstone because the strength of the whole structure depended on the cornerstone. If the cornerstone was not exactly right, or aligned incorrectly, the entire building would go out of line and the whole structure would collapse. Hence, the stone masons scrutinized the stones to be used as cornerstones, rejecting those that did not comply until they found the right ones they wanted. The rejected stones might be used in other parts of the building, but they would never become the cornerstone.

Jesus hints that he is a cornerstone rejected by the Jewish leaders. Though rejected by them he would become the cornerstone for building the structure called the church that gives protection to the humble souls from all types of weather.

Jars Of Clay » The Stone Lyrics

The stone that the builders rejected
Has become the Cornerstone
Hallelujah

The stone that the builders rejected
Has become the Cornerstone
Hallelujah

Ascribe greatness
Ascribe greatness
Ascribe greatness to the Rock so high

The stone that the builders rejected
Has become the Cornerstone
Hallelujah

The stone that the builders rejected
Has become the Cornerstone
Hallelujah

Ascribe greatness
Ascribe greatness
Ascribe greatness to the Rock so high

You are a sanctuary
A shelter and a shade from the heat of the day
You are a hiding place
A tower and a refuge from the storm and the rain
My rock and foundation
You have become my salvation

The stone that the builders rejected
Has become the Cornerstone

The stone that the builders rejected
Has become the Cornerstone

Ascribe greatness
Ascribe greatness
Ascribe greatness to the Rock so high

Ascribe greatness
Ascribe greatness
Ascribe greatness to the Rock so high … to the Rock so high


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