Fruit, Vines, Vineyards, Prophecies, and Parables. - Jacob Stanley
Jesus did not invent parables but he was the master of them. Prophets used parables, and one of the functions Jesus came as was to fill the role of a prophet to Israel, rebuking the leaders and saving the flock from their hypocrisy Jesus used many parables, some to exhort the hearer, some to rebuke the hearer. Considering who the audience was for the particular parable will help you understand the message. When exhorting his followers, Jesus used parables to explain heavenly truths about their destiny and calling as people of God, using culturally relevant examples. Now 2000 years later those obvious analogies of farming, servants and kings get lost on the modern reader. If you want to understand the message of the parable, it’s worth doing some extra research. When rebuking the scribes, Pharisees and religious leaders, Jesus would often use parables to send a clear message but not too clear as to incriminate himself. Jesus new that timing was important to God, and God’s plan of arresting Jesus and handing over to crucifixion must happen at the right time and the right way. So Jesus would often speak rebukes to his enemies in a parabolic way, quoting prophets to reveal things about the important moment they were in and who he was. Lastly Jesus would use parables to draw in followers and drive away enemies. To reveal and to conceal, to soften hearts and to harden hearts. Parable of the Talents Mark 12:1-5 12 Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.
Let’s pray The thing about a servant, is they know they represent another place. They’re a foreigner. The servant sounds different when they speak They have different customs They have different ways of behaving. A servant understand that they’re a foreigner. These servants are the ones who represent God on earth. They come from a different reality A different culture They represent a different kingdom. And they’re hated for it. Hebrews 11 .....foreigners and strangers on earth. the world was not worthy of them. A servant of God is different God is inviting you to be one of his servants Would you represent him?
⁃ Would you represent him in the staff room at work?
⁃ Would you represent him on the work site, with the tradies?
⁃ Would you represent him when your boss invites you to dinner and you really want to make a good impression? ⁃ Would you represent God when you meet up with your old friends that love the old you? ⁃ Would you represent God when it ruins the conversation, when it makes people awkward ⁃ Would you represent Him when it makes you feel embarrassed? Servant’s of God are different, representing God will make you stand out. You may get mistreated, but it’s a privledge, an honour, a high calling. To serve God you will never fit in, you will stand out. You might feel awkward. but this is your invitation. Would you represent Jesus, whatever the cost? Let’s have a look at this Parable again. A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Jesus is speaking in a parable, but he didn’t make this one up. Jesus is alluding to an earlier parable that the prophet Isaiah spoke hundreds of years earlier. A parable about Israel and it’s faithlessness and fruitlessness. The Vineyard is the people of God. InJesus’ version the hired farmers are the people God has put in place to take care of the vineyard on his behalf, with an expectation to produce good quality fruit and wine. now in Mark 12, in this moment, Jesus is speaking to the elders and chief priests, functioning as a prophet like Isaiah, rebuking them as entitled, selfish evil farmers. Jesus is bringing a final judgement on the leaders of Israel. Soon it will be given over to others to produce fruit.
Jesus is saying; Like spoiled children, The people of God were given everything, but have nothing to show for it. They are spoiled because they were given everything to bear fruit and they bore no good fruit. The vineyard was supposed to be a blessing to the nations. God had promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his decendants. But the people of God had become inward focused. They think that they are entitled to this vineyard. They think they own their law, their understanding of God. it’s our religion. Who are these outsiders coming to take our fruit? Entitlement leads to Selfishness Unrestrained selfishness leads to evil deeds They beat and kill because they have given into entitlement. because their selfshiness was never reigned in We can all feel entitled, even as christians saved by grace. We have to remind ourselves that we didn’t earn our place in the kingdom. by his mercy he welcomes us. We don’t own the call. Let’s look at Isaiah chapter 5 Isaiah 5:1-7 NLT Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill. 2 He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter. 3
Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah, you judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done? When I expected sweet grapes, why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes? 5 Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it. 6 I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. I will command the clouds to drop no rain on it. 7 The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence 1. Like a vineyard I planted you. Everybody say vineyard I took you from Egypt. I planted you in blessing. You were living in slavery. All the blessing that you have experienced is from me! And yet you refuse to help others, you walk past the person bet up on the side of the road. Where is the generosity? God took us all from slavery, from darkness. He brought us into light and freedom. Where is the fruit?
2. I build that watchtower. Everybody say A high vantage point of spiritual insight. Your ability to see and perceive and understand the truth, I gave that as a gift to you, I gave you my laws, and my prophets. My heart on paper. What have you done with what I have given you? Where is the fruit of truth in your life? 3. I build the wine press The ability to create. To make beautiful art, write songs, to create, refine, innovate, to start great business, to make great buildings and structures. Where is the fruit? Will you use it to praise the one who gave you the gift or to glorify yourselves? 4. I built the wall I put my arms around you to protect you. I myself said to the whole would that you are special, that you are loved, that you are mine, that I care about you. Yet you use that wall to keep others out! All I expected is that I would see just some fruit. The conditions were perfect. Did I do something wrong? I gave you everything and yet you are still so selfish and evil. Is it wrong that I should expect to see some fruit? We like Israel have all been fruitless and faithless.
But the story doesn’t end here. -My story doesn’t end at my faithlessness -Your story doesn’t end with your fruitlessness. Say to your neighbor, your story doesn’t end here! Praise God our story doesn’t end with our failure! Scripture says while we were still sinners, enemies of God, Christ died for us, to reconcile us to God. We fail to be fruitful, we fail to be faithful, we fail to be righteous. But he did it all! God says, you abused and killed all my servants, but I still love you. I desperately want you to make it. I want you to succeed, I want you to be fruitful! Mark 12:6-11 NIV 6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’[a]?” Jesus was speaking to people that were planning activley planning on how and when they can revolt against the foreign power of rome that was laying claim to the fruit of their fields. The idea of a foreign owner sending delegations would have rung close to home for the audience. Jesus uses the example intentionally, it was offensive to a first century Hebrew, living under foreign Roman occupation. Many of the Jewish leaders were eager to throw out the roman occupiers and rise again as a proud people. But that wasn’t God’s plan. God have a very different plan. The axe was at the root, but God had a bigger plan.
God sent Jesus to announce the biggest change in history. Jesus came and, pronouncing judgement on the hyppocrites, took away the authority of the religious leaders. He said “enough,” And he gave himself, his presence, the kingdom and his message of truth to his followers, in order to finally take this beautiful gift and share it with everyone. So That the people of God would finally bear fruit, the vineyard would grow and bless all nations. Every tribe and tongue, white and black, slave and free, rich and poor, every person has been welcomed to become a part of this vineyard. If you don’t know Jesus today as your lord and saviour, understand that he came, died on a cross and rose from the dead so that you may know God and be empowered to follow him. To life a full and fruitful life. But How? How do I be fruitful? 1. He is the fruit Mat 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Sometimes everyday life is like dirt Sometimes our Jobs are like dirt. some people here, your reality is dirt. It’s time to find the treasure. Find Jesus in your dirt. Find Jesus in your day, find Jesus in your mundane. Find him.
Jesus is the fruit, the treasure, our Joy. 2. Jesus is the one who makes us fruitful. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit in us, through us, transforming us, ministering to others that makes our lives. Without his spirit, we will only have bitter grapes. It’s God that produces the sweetness in us. We are completely barren without his spirit. We are completely hopeless without his Spirit. We need his spirit every moment. To be a christian, to walk with with him, to be righteous and pure and good. It’s God who produces the fruit in us And God produces fruit through us. love joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness, self-control That’s the fruit God is asking for! It’s the fruit that only he can produce. ______________BAND UP_________________________ This fruit comes from his spirit. Waiting, receiving, abiding. John 15;1-9
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. Abide in your car Abide with your friends Abide at the family bbq Abide at work Abide when you are stressed or angry Abide when you feel low Abide in your successes Abide in your failures Abide and you will bear fruit Abide in him, the fruit bearer.