June 21, 2011
(Jesus said) "Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.'" Luke 20:13
It was many years ago a wise father said to his son, "My boy, I hope you love me, and I'd certainly prefer you like me, but these things are left to your judgment. On the other hand, I do have something to say about you respecting me. My whole life is dedicated to me being the kind of man you ought to respect. If I have not succeeded in this endeavor, no matter what else I may accomplish, I will feel a failure. Son, I want you to respect me."
With that kind of attitude from the father it is not surprising the son gave him the respect he deserved.
Recently, Peter Funt of The Wall Street Journal shared that the word "respect" has been transformed. He has noted that nowadays anytime somebody says something unkind about some thing someone has done, they are accused of having disrespected that individual.
Funt concluded "... we've forgotten the essential element of respect: it is something to be earned, not demanded." Another author, referring to The Wall Street Journal's story, said, "Today, those most adamant in demanding respect are often the least likely to deserve any."
As Americans, we are guaranteed "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Nowhere in that list of our rights will we find "respect."
Now I don't have to tell you that many of the world's great men and women -- that is great because they have achieved wealth, power and fame -- have, in their lives, shown themselves unworthy of being respected.
In contrast to them and unique in all of human history is the Savior. From Bethlehem to the borrowed tomb Jesus showed Himself worthy of respect. Just about the worst charge His enemies could bring against Him was He eats with sinners (see Mark 2:16). The Roman procurator who presided at Jesus' trial repeatedly admitted he could find no fault or flaw in Him (see John 19:6). That's something which never could be said about you or me.
That's because we are sinners and Jesus was not. Jesus, God's sinless Son, had to be perfect if He was going to fulfill God's laws, resist temptations and defeat our final and greatest enemy: death.
His resurrection on the third day shows Jesus has succeeded in substituting Himself for us. Because of all He has done not only is Jesus deserving of our respect, He has the right to demand it.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the sending of Your Son. Not only is He an example worthy of respect, He is our Savior. May I offer Him the honor His life, death and resurrection demand. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries