SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The chapter opens with Jesus sharing another parable. The land owner represents God, and the vineyard is his kingdom. The tenants were the religious leaders, and the servants that came to collect payment represent all of God's prophets that came before Jesus, including John the Baptist (whom we just saw beheaded a few chapters ago). Throughout the Old Testament, God repeatedly sent prophets to tell people truth and point people back to God, but they were usually ignored and mistreated.
- In today's passage, Jesus predicts his own death. Furthermore, Jesus speaks of God's coming wrath on those who kill his son. This angered the religious leaders because they recognized that he was referring to them. They were still determined to reject this truth and, ironically, plotted to kill him as he had just predicted.
- Throughout this chapter we see the religious leaders trying to catch Jesus "in his words." An example of this is his discussion with the Sadducees. The Sadducees, another religious sect, didn't believe heaven existed. They thought they could prove this through a discussion on marriage. However, Jesus surprises them by explaining that marriage is an earthly event that doesn't exist in heaven.
- Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. He states that it is to Love God with your whole life -- heart, soul, and mind. And the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.
- Once again, in verses 38-40, we see Jesus warning his followers against the trappings of the religious leaders. He makes it clear that they do not love God, but they love the fame of being noticed. You could say that the Pharisees were the first real celebrities!
- Jesus makes it clear that he doesn't care how much money you give to the church; he cares more about your heart's motivation when giving. The rich could give exorbitantly, but it was given out of their comfort. The poor widow gave only 1 penny, but it was all she had. This was true sacrifice. Therefore, she truly gave more.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Over the centuries, humanity has continually treated God's prophets and God's Son poorly. But God, in his love and grace, has never given up on his creation.
- If we say that we believe in Jesus, then we must follow his greatest commandments- love God and love people.
- God wants more than our pocket books. He wants our hearts. Our financial giving is just a symbol of our faithfulness to God.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- How are you doing at loving God and loving people? What is a practical step you could take to be better? Maybe it's more private prayer time with God. Maybe it's helping your neighbor bring the groceries in the house. Let God guide you today on how you can honor him.
- Jesus teaches that what counts most when giving is not the amount, but sacrifice. When you give to God, is it out of your excess or a true sacrifice? Is it possible that God is calling you today to be more sacrificial in your giving?