Jesus gave us a parable about some wicked sharecroppers (caretakers of a vineyard) who had the idea of stealing their owner’s land and its produce for themselves. (Luke 20:9-19, Mark 12:1-12, Matthew 21:33-46) The parable’s storyline was simple: The vineyard’s renters kept chasing off, abusing and even killing the owner’s agents who’d been sent to collect the owner’s share of his property. Ultimately, the owner said to himself, “I know … I will send my son. Surely, they will revere him at least enough to take care of business, catch up on payments and generally keep things straight.” But, instead, the greedy and rebellious vineyard keepers, upon seeing the owner’s son, decided to kill him in order to keep everything for themselves. Obviously, they hadn’t given much thought to tomorrow or the fact that they were all destined to eventually give an answer to the owner for their behavior.
For those of you who are just tuning in, the powerful man who owns the vineyard is God. The vineyard is an allegorical piece of real estate we call home: the earth – and it contains everything its owner (God) holds as valuable (you and me – everyone). The owner’s agents or representatives were the Old Testament prophets who were sent by God to maintain the express interests of the owner and promote the best welfare of the sharecroppers (you and me – everyone). Sending his Son (Jesus) was God’s last-ditch effort to try to revive and preserve the relationship between himself and the churlish, not-so-bright inhabitants of his vineyard (for whom he cares very much).
Of course we all know the punch line of the story, which was in the process of playing out when Jesus first told it. Being the owner’s son, he then knew that he was slated to die and fully understood the motivation of his rebel killers. They really believed that removing the owner and his son from the equation would guarantee them unlimited happiness in their imagined autonomy. Again, they weren’t real bright, and they obviously hadn’t thought everything through. Nevertheless, the owner cared for them (you and me – everyone) immeasurably – so much so, that he was willing to send even his only son to die in the process of balancing the books on our behalf.
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That story was told and happened about two millennia ago. And now, in the 21st century, it’s happening again. Much of the modern world really believes that in eliminating Jesus and his father, we can absolutely have this place to ourselves without the hindrance of a nuisance conscience and the CONSERVATIVE people who listen to that and obey its promptings. [It’s natural to call them conservatives because they work to conserve the biblical standards that helped found our nation, and they look to conserve the hard earned money of working Americans whenever possible. Today’s liberals work at conserving nothing except their own comfort levels.]
That’s why the atheist fights, tooth and nail, against the knowledge of God. It’s why the politics of contemporary science have pronounced its anathema upon any scientist who is brave enough to defend the solid corroborative (good science) evidence of God’s creation. It’s the reason that any mention of God is chiseled off the stone of beautiful old courthouses that were built when we had better sense. It especially explains why our children are prevented by law from even mentioning their faith in the public schoolroom. “So help me, God,” has been removed from our oaths of veracity. At every opportunity, God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is once again being ‘put to death’ and for the same reason it happened the first time. The enemy of our souls wants God out of the picture – because then, formerly free people must become slaves to his darkness. The moment we acknowledge God’s existence, we immediately become morally responsible and accountable before Him – and satan wants that prospect out of his way.
Today, the philosophical differences that form the political ‘aisle’ between liberals and conservatives and the demands placed upon the people who must fight either for or against the truth, are totally attributable to the ‘Jesus Factor.’ The sooner we realize that a real spiritual war is in progress, and that the preservation or loss of true godliness constitutes the crux of the conflict, the easier it is to see the battles as they happen (and better sense is made as to why the battle is happening in the first place.)
In Jesus’ day, Caesar, Herod, the scribes, and Pharisees all saw Jesus as a threat to their unquestioned authority. The mob wanted nothing to do with him as well, since his words interfered with them doing as they pleased. When Jesus was on the Stone Pavement before Pilate, the Jewish leaders were busy reminding the people that laws were easier to follow and manipulate than would be the maintenance involved in a living relationship with the man who claimed to be God’s son. Freeing Barabbas guaranteed a continued status quo in the lives of the cowardly, unregenerate people who liked things just as they were. The very same concepts still exist today.
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Now we have a group in power who wants to stay that way, and an amoral mob that will give up God and breathing free in order to have drive-through abortions, easy access to controlled substances, gay marriage, and state-subsidized everything, complete with free phones and cable tv. Both factions agree that God and His people are the persistent speed-bumps that stand between them and the achievement of their respective fantasies. That’s why so many politicians are today selling out and promising legislative muscle and guaranteed consensual validation to every evil thing that’s found a home under the protective umbrella of the DNC (and the caving ‘RINOs’, of course). The devil’s lying bargain remains the same: ‘You keep me on the throne, and together we can do whatever we like.’
Years ago, it looked like Bob Dylan torpedoed his career by releasing what appeared to be his first ‘Christian’ album. One of his songs was entitled “Gotta Serve Somebody.” And he was right in saying that. He was paraphrasing Jesus (Matthew 6: 24) who said that one either serves Christ or the devil – there’s no middle ground. I thought it was interesting that Bob Dylan, the poet laureate of two entire decades, who wrote songs that were recorded by every music group – from ‘The Byrds’, to ‘The New York Philharmonic Orchestra’ – effectively disappeared after he even seemed to make a statement for Christ. And Jesus warned of that as well. He said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18-25)
And, indeed, it did – and today it certainly does – and that isn’t going to change as long as we stand our ground and defend what is right.
Photo credit: Art4TheGlryOfGod (Creative Commons)
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