Palm Sunday – Sermon 142

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



So April 1st – did you get caught out today –

The origin of our April fools day – or gawby (gobby) day – as its known in Cheshire – its not fully understood–

Some connect it with the first day of spring –others with the first day holiday – of the old Julian calendar – before it was changed to the 1st January by Pope Grergory in 1582.

In France – people who refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1 were labeled as "fools" by the rest of the populus – and sent on "fools errands or subject to practical jokes –

This day of merriment- became popular in England in the 1700’s – and practical jokes could only be played – on April Fools before midday – otherwise the joke backfired – on the trickster –

It was Mark Twain who wrote – ‘The first of April – is what we remember we are – the other 364 days of the year’-

First Point      Rejection of God and Jesus

In our readings this evening – we have stories about fools of a different kind –

The religious leaders had refused to acknowledge Jesus as God’s Messiah – and after the euphoria of His spectacular entrance into the city – Jesus knew He would need to exposed their hard hearts – and bring them to repentance –

Jesus told them a parable – and – used a story – that they would be – very familiar with – Isaiah’s – the song of the vineyard – but with a different twist – to its end – One that would foretell the events of the days to come

No first century Jew would have needed to be told – who the main players were – the owner – was God – the farmers – Israel – and the messengers – were the prophets-

Having no one left to send – the owner sends His own beloved Son –

In Jesus’ own understanding – He came as the rightful king to His Father’s tenants – but they were barring His way – determined to keep the vineyard for themselves-

Eventually they would throw Him out and kill Him

Placing this story – just days before the crucifixion – shows the true purpose of its meaning

Jesus came to complete the work of the ancient prophets – challenging Israel – one more time – to give God – the honour and obedience – that He is – due –

Israel had been given the charge – to bear the fruit of justice – and show God’s grace to the world – but instead – had decided to keep the grace for itself – resist the world around it – and reject the way of peace – and will now reject its final messenger –

But the story doesn’t stop there –

The vineyard owner will return at last – and the judgment Israel longed to see on the pagan nations around it – would be meted out on to her –

He will destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others-

The present regime in Jerusalem – were signing their own death warrants-

And the rejection of Jesus – would be taken up by God – as part of His – rebuilding plans –

The image switches from that of a vineyard – to one – of a builders yard-

The stone that the builders refused – in this case Jesus –who was – sent to Israel – but rejected – would become the corner stone – The key stone on which God’s temple would be built – the stone that holds all the others in place

By quoting this verse at this point – the message is rammed home – the workers may reject Jesus now – but they will find He will be vindicated – and seen as the true Messiah – He will build the true Temple – and set the standard by which everyone else will be judged –

The vineyard owner will have the last word

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 most important stone of all –

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 –

Its – about living lives that give God our praise and worship – 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 – as He comes with His offer of forgiveness – 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 – He will transform our situation into something He can use – that will benefit us – and His Kingdom – and bring Him Glory –



The last verse of this passage includes the words –
“They saw that the parable was aimed at them”

Jesus’ parable is also aimed at us –

There are many stories in the Bible about the wise and the foolish

The ten virgins – the rich fool –
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians – he calls us to become fools for Christ –

Despite Jesus’ teachings and warnings about what was ahead – the religious leaders didn’t see the need to change – and theirs ended in tragedy

Our story is still being written – and with Jesus’ help – on this April fools day – and everyday – we have a chance to make it a happy ending

Prayer to Finish

In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit