‘The King who spoke with a sting in His tale’ (Matthew 21:33-46)

When Jesus told the ‘Parable of the Tenants’, He really cut close to the bone. The Pharisees had just asked Him about the origins of His authority and He had just returned fire a parable to show that any repentance that they had claimed on their behalf was false. So He put the whole matter fairly and squarely before them in Matthew 21:33-46. In the parable, it is clear that Jesus wanted the Pharisees to not only see their hypocrisy but also their murderous intent, as was seen in the tenants of the parable who put the landowner’s son to death so that they might claim the inheritance. Sadly, Jesus’ words fell upon deaf ears. Everything that the parable told about the landowner’s son would and did happen to Him. Yet while Jesus told this parable that the Pharisees might see themselves, He also told it that we might see ourselves and in seeing, that we might know that salvation must come from God alone.

WOMENS MINISTRY IN THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF AUSTRALIAWe are excited that the Presbyterian Women’s National Conference is to be held next month in Scots’ Church, Mellbourne on Friday May 27 and Saturday May 28, and are hoping to send some representatives. Click here for details and to register!

‘The King who decrees that repentance brings blessing’ (Matthew 21:28-32)

When Jesus spoke the parable of the Two Sons in Matthew 21:28-32, he wasn’t telling a story about always following through on what you say, or how to show proper respect to your parents. The parable tells of one of the sons, who, when asked by his afther to go out and work in the vineyard, said ‘yes’ but did not go and the other son, who said ‘no, he would not go’ but then did go.  The point that Jesus was making is that there are plenty who will gladly say ‘yes’ to God but their ‘yes’ amounts to nothing. The Pharisees were men like that. They said ‘yes’ on the outside, but inwardly their hearts were far from Him. They were hypocrites. The only cure for hypocrisy is repentance,  shown to us by the second son who turned away (repented) from his selfish ways. Entry to the Kingdom of God is clearly marked ‘for the repentant’. No-one else but they will come in. This is why Jesus told the Pharisees that ‘tax-collectors and prostitutes’ will enter the Kingdom of God. It is because repentance leads to salvation.

‘The King who confirmed His right to rule’ (Matthew 21:23-27)

In Matthew 21:23-27 we find the religious leaders challenging Jesus about His claims. No doubt the cleansing of the temple did not escape their notice and must have caused them some angst. So they asked Jesus, ‘Who gave Him authority to act and to speak as He did?’ In response, Jesus returned serve by asking them ‘Who gave John the Baptist authority to speak and act as he did – was it from man or God?’ Trapped in a web of their own making, all the Pharisees could say was ‘We don’t know’, fearing a revolt from the people if they said ‘man’ or having egg on their face if they said ‘God’. The authority of Jesus is a major question we all have to face up to. A non-response (like the Pharisees) is a poor response. There remains only one way to respond to the authority of Jesus and that is to bow before Him as Lord and King.

‘Recognizing Jesus, knowing hope’ (Luke 24:13-35)

Luke 24:13-35 tells of two men who were sad and downcast because they were hoping that Jesus was the one to redeem Israel. But Jesus was handed over to the rulers and crucified. With his death, they lost their hope. But Jesus drew near to them and helped them to see that the plan has always been that the promised Christ must suffer and die, and then enter his glory. All of Scripture points to this, and rather than being the end of hope, His death was the exact opposite and His resurrection from the dead only confirmed the certainty of that hope because He triumphed over death as the risen Lord. Now, in the midst of all the troubles of this life, even with the news of our own impending death, we can know hope, if we come to the one who has died for our sin and risen as our Lord. (no audio available)