“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
As I journey through the Scriptures each year, I arrive at Luke’s Gospel and read the tragic story of the vineyard owner in Luke 20:9-19. In this parable, Jesus recounts the narrative of a man who invested much time and many resources in a vineyard. After leasing it to caretakers, the owner discovers at harvest time that they refuse to provide the fruit they owed him. When all attempts to collect the debit by the owner’s servant’s fail, the owner sends his son, believing that the tenants would recognize the authority and power he represented, and submit themselves to their obligation. Instead, the caretakers kill the son. After that final attempt, the owner ends his attempts of mercy and commences his expression of judgment. Jesus then asks the crowd, “What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others.” The people reply, saying, “God forbid.”
Jesus responds to the listeners’ shock with a question: “What is this then that is written, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?’ Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” To whom was Jesus referring in this verse? Here’s what we know. In the parable, Jesus conveyed that the lord of the vineyard was God the Father, and the servants sent to collect the fruit were the prophets of the Old Testament. The son was the Son, that is, Jesus the Messiah, whose death would soon come. A clear reading indicates that the cornerstone in verse 17 was also Christ. But who is the “whosoever” and the “whomsoever” of verse 18?
Dear friend, I submit to you that the “whosoever’s” and whomsoever’s” are each person who has heard the Gospel in the twenty centuries since Jesus spoke this parable. Those people are us. That person is you. When we encounter Christ we face a choice, and no one leaves that meeting unchanged. You may fall upon Christ in humility and repentance. You may fall upon Him and find forgiveness of your sins, and restoration with the Father. You will find peace for which long you have sought. You will find hope the world can never provide. You will begin to look for that World which is both invisible and permanent.
Yet what is the alternative? The Stone falls upon you in judgment, for the holiness of God requires this for those who have rejected the Son who bore that judgment on your behalf. As Isaiah the prophet wrote, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6). Understand, dear friend, this judgment and punishment is not yours to bear, and if you take it upon yourself, you do so to your own destruction.
Hundreds of years earlier before Jesus spoke this parable, Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of Babylon, had a dream he could not remember. Demanding the impossible of his wise men, he required them to recount the dream and interpret it. The wise men were incredulous, telling the king that this could not be done, and no king had ever made such a request. Yet the dream and the interpretation were revealed to Daniel, a worshipper of Jehovah. In the dream, the king saw a statue that revealed the empires yet to come. At the end of the interpretation of the dream, Daniel declared to Nebuchadnezzar, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” (Daniel 2:44-45).
The future is clear, dear friend. Christ is that stone that Nebuchadnezzar saw and Daniel anticipated. He is that Cornerstone. Whether for once-for-all salvation or forgiveness of the sins that we commit daily, fall upon Him while there is time, lest He fall upon you in judgment. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
The above article was written by Ben Reed. He is member of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at email@example.com.
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