Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord‘s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”
God is the perfect gardener who is always pruning, digging and replanting his vineyard. God calls some of us to become stewards of His vineyard (cf. Matthew 22:14). One of God’s best stewards, Abraham, “looked forward to a city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (cf. Hebrews 11:10). Abraham’s desire for permanence was channeled toward God. Abraham’s offspring becomes a nation.
Even though Herod’s temple is spectacular, Jesus’ knew it was headed toward the ash heap of history.
In Jesus’ day, Abraham’s descendants finally have a temple to show off to the world. Even though Herod’s temple is spectacular, Jesus’ knew it was headed toward the ash heap of history (cf. Matthew 24:2). The stewards of God’s vineyard (aka temple), the chief Priests and elders remind Jesus of the patriarchal family of Jacob (cf. Genesis 37) . Every son of Jacob knew dad loved Joseph the most. Joseph was the only one God spoke to in dreams. Like their spiritual forefather Cain, they conspire to kill their brother. Luckily, Reuben (the oldest son of Jacob and Leah), persuades the brotherly coup to spare Joseph, the nation of Israel will find salvation in Egypt, through Joseph.
In the spirit of Cain and Joseph’s brothers, the Pharisees were jealous of Jesus. The chief priests knew the prophecy of Psalm 118:22, “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner” but continued to place their trust in Herod’s temple refusing to believe in the city’s Builder. The greed, power and control of the Roman Empire had seeped into their lives.
In our culture, its almost impossible to believe that God plays favorites. Instead of “Jacob have I loved; Esau have I hated,” we pencil in, “everyone deserves to be the chosen one.” Every voice is equal and everyone deserves a place at the front of the table. Regardless of our vocation, all of us are co-workers in God’s vineyard where the “last in” are the paid as much as the “first in” (cf Matthew 20:1-16).
Not everyone is a Joseph or an apostle Peter.
Not everyone is a Joseph or an apostle Peter. Some of us are toes in God’s vineyard. We take our shoes off and stomp the grapes.
The chief cornerstone of any of our ventures must be Jesus. He explains this to His tenants: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?” In Paul’s interpretation of the Psalm, if we refuse to allow our brother’s and sisters their rightful place in the building, our contribution will suffer lost (i.e. it will be crushed by the cornerstone or burned up- cf. I Cor 3).