Palm Sunday – Sermon 126

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ



Confronting someone about their faith is never easy – but – there are times when the situation demands it –

After the euphoria of His spectacular entrance into the city – Jesus knew it was time for some hard lessons to be taught –

The religious leaders refused to acknowledge Him as God’s Messiah – and He needed to expose their hard hearts – and bring them to repentance –

So Jesus spoke to them through a parable –

He used a story that the Jewish leaders were very familiar with – Isaiah’s – song of the vineyard – but with a different twist – to its end –

One that would foretell the events of the days to come-

First Point      Rejection of God and Jesus

Like any good story or drama – the first act introduces the main players –

God is still the vineyard owner – Israel the vineyard – the Jewish Authorities and the people -the vineyard workers – or vinedressers –

Jesus weaves into His story the idea that God – was waiting at a distance – sending His prophets – one by one – to remind His workers of their responsibility to Him – God’s prophets were rejected by the people – which many of His listeners – would have understood and believed

And then He tells them that the Owner sends His only Son –

“Surely they will respect my Son” – He said
But there is no happy ending to this story – because instead of the tenants realizing the error of their ways – they overreach themselves – and come to the conclusion – its either the Heir – or them – Either the Son will inherit – or they will – and they choose to kill Him

Throughout Jesus’ parable He shows the rejection of God’s grace – by those appointed to carry out His work

The placing of this story in Mark – just days before the crucifixion – shows the true purpose of its meaning

Jesus came to Jerusalem to bring God’s demand for repentance – to the religious leaders – so that Israel – could at last be what God had called it to be – the light of His World – sadly they understood too well what Jesus meant – and chose a different course –

Jesus’ final question and answer to them was confirmation – that by rejecting Him they had used up – the last of their many chances –

But there’s more – Jesus adds a further layer of explanation – to the story – A scriptural quotation taken from Psalm 118 – the same Psalm they would have been singing in the Temple just a few days earlier –

‘The stone that the builders reject – would become the main corner stone’

It’s a story – connected with the Temple – that was again well known in Jesus’ time – about – one of the building blocks – gathered during the building of Solomon’s Temple – that was rejected in the construction – because it didn’t fit in the walls – and – expected to be thrown out – on the rubbish heap – but when the builders had nearly finished the main arch of the porch – they realized it was just the stone that was required for the keystone – the stone that holds all the others in place – the rejected stone had been elevated to a key part of God’s Temple – and so – became an inspirational story for many of its worshippers

The rejected Stone – is the rejected Son – whom God will raise – to play a key part in His Kingdom – a part on which the standing of all others will depend –

There are many stories about stones in the Bible – building stones, pillars of stone, living stones, even throwing stones – but the most important one of all is the cornerstone – Jesus Christ

And – this story has a happy ending – because it reminds its hearers – of God’s transforming power and the resurrection – that the death of the Son – is not the end but the beginning – of a new – House of God – for which Jesus will become the main cornerstone

Point 2      what it means for us

So we’ve heard about grapes, vineyards, stones – what are the main messages for us:

The purpose of a vineyard is to produce good fruit – and to bring that harvest to its owner –

We are producing good fruit – when we live the way that God wants us to live – yes – we have to pay rent – but it’s a bit of a funny rent – because it benefits us the most –

Our rent is – about living lives that give God our praise and worship –

Its about growing in faith and in the Spirit and using the talents and skills – He has given us – for His world and for the benefit of His Kingdom

Its about welcoming Jesus Christ into our lives – to reject Jesus is to reject God – to build our lives on anything other than a relationship with Jesus – is to choose – a path that leads us – away from His Kingdom – and His promised salvation – if we reject Jesus we reject His offer of resurrection to everlasting life –

Its also about what happens when we challenge ourselves and others about our faith – like Jesus – we risk rejection and ridicule – being cast aside like the unwanted stone – but through the Holy Spirit God will transform our situation into something He can use – that will benefit us – and His Kingdom – and bring Him Glory



The last verse of the passage in Mark’s begins with the words –
“They saw that the parable was aimed at them”

Jesus’ parable is also aimed at us –

Despite Jesus’ teachings and warnings about what was ahead – the religious leaders didn’t change their story – And it ended in tragedy

We are still writing ours – and with Jesus’ help – have a chance to make it a happy ending – how will your story end?

Prayer to Finish

In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit