Scripture: Luke 20:9-18
9 And he began to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while.
10 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
11 And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.
12 And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out.
13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.'
14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.'
15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?
16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When they heard this, they said, "Surely not!"
17 But he looked directly at them and said, "What then is this that is written: "'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'? 
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him."

Sermon: "The Stone the Builders Rejected"
We've spent many weeks on parables.  And the Gospel of Luke is about parables; it contains more parables than the other gospels.

Jesus told stories.  Why?  Yes, there is an appeal to stories.  It may drive home a point better than lectures.  But it also serves to address the diversity of his audience, which includes those who are out to "get him."  

Today's parable comes right after he does something that would offend many.  What's more, it reveals something about who he is and how he calls people to respond.

First, let's unpack the parable.  When it comes to understanding parables, we need to understand the characters.  

You have a man who plants a vineyard.  That man is God.  The imagery of a vineyard often represents Israel. 

Isaiah 5:1-7:
1 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 
2 He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. 
3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? 
5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. 
6 I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 
7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry! 

Who are the tenants?  They are the Israelites. 

And the servants?  They are the messengers of God, prophets.  

What is going on here?  The man who owns the vineyard wants some fruit from his tenants.  Sounds reasonable enough.  He sends messengers to call them to give this fruit.  However, they don't give.  This isn't just, "Sorry, I don't have the money to pay the rent."  It's "Get out of here."

So does the man give up?  No!  He gives the tenant another chance.  He sends someone special, his son.  He is basically sending himself.  But what happens?  They kill him, thinking they could get an inheritance.

And what does the man do.  At this point, he is ready to kill the tenants.

This is the picture of the rebellion of Israel and their unfruitfulness before God.  They did not bear the fruit of obedience to God; they refused to do so.  Israel continuously received and rejected the message of God.  God gave them the Law, Psalms, and Prophets.  God acted in miraculous ways.  Yet, as a people, they rejected his call to obedience.  It is one thing to struggle to obey.  Here, you just get a flat-out why should I obey?

This is a picture of Jesus and his ministry.  Jesus is claiming to be God's Son.  Did God give up?  No!  He sent his son, whom he cherishes.  He sends someone valuable.  He cares to see his people bear fruit.  But what happens?  He is rejected and in fact killed.  Jesus is at the end of his earthly ministry, as he has entered Jerusalem.  He predicts what is going to happen to him.  How do we receive Jesus?

This is also a picture of the fulfillment of the kingdom of God.  Parables generally have one main meaning, and it is often about the kingdom of God.  Those who reject Jesus will be judged.

We are living on borrowed capital.  Everything we have comes from God.  The time we have on earth is borrowed.  Even your talents are finite.

Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22 in declaring the meaning of the parable.  The Son of God has come.  Yet, people will reject him.  "Not me," you say.

Some will deny and reject God.  That rejection may come in a couple forms.  One is a rejection of Jesus as God.  You don't believe God.  You don't need God.  Still others reject Jesus by refusing to obey and live for him.

A subtle reason for that rejection is deception.  We deceive ourselves into thinking that we are right with God.  The audience did.  We may think that we are religious.  Two forms that manifests itself is that we do the right things (coming to church).  The other is that we are "spiritual, "

However, the good news is that others will build their lives upon Jesus as the cornerstone.  It doesn't matter that you grew up in the church or not.  As much as I worry about this generation - already been churched, corrupted by this world, etc., I also do labor with hope. And I ask that you do, too.  

Paul Tripp: "We live each day in a house that is terribly broken, where nothing works exactly as intended.  But we do not live in this house by ourselves.  Emmanuel lives here as well, and he is at work returning his house to its former beauty... Someday you will live forever in a fully restored house.  But right now you are called to live with peace, joy, and productivity in a place that has been sadly damaged by sin."

Jesus will bring his people together to build the church, a people called out, those who will be fruitful.

Colossians 2:6-7: "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,
rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving."

As Jesus confronts us today, do not reject his call.  Rather, build your live and align your life to him.  At the same time, let us be a church build up in him.