And He began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard ... and leased it to tenants .... When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others ... He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But those tenants ... took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard." (Mark 12:1-5, 6-7a, 8)
The thing that drives me crazy about this story is the behavior of the owner. One servant after another gets beaten or killed, and the owner keeps sending more people, until his own son gets killed. And I am listening to this story and thinking, "Why on earth didn't you send the police the minute the first guy got hurt?"
It's a fair question. But it would be equally fair to ask the parallel question: Why on earth did God not just wipe out the whole human race the minute we rebelled against Him? Why give us a second chance—and a third, and a millionth, and so on, until we killed God's only Son Jesus?
It seems lunatic. We would advise God to cut His losses. Start over. Make a fresh batch of people, and forget about the spoiled ones.
But God doesn't do this. Incredibly, He has His heart set on the spoiled batch—on us. He will not give up. He will not quit. He will save us—change our hearts—remake us as His own children—even if it costs Him His own beloved Son.
THE PRAYER: Lord, I can't comprehend this kind of love, but I am glad You love me this way. Thank You. Amen.
* Do you tend to cut your losses, or do you try to fix broken things?
* What is the most ridiculous thing you have done for love?
* Is it easy or hard to believe that God loves you to this extent? Why?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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