Even within communities of faith, the best of intentions can get sidetracked by our sinful natures. Self-gratification or promotion, politics, and appearances can override the purpose of ecclesia, the Church. We, like the Pharisees, point our index fingers accusingly elsewhere, without the realization that at least three fingers are simultaneously positioned toward ourselves.
God will always receive good fruit, whether those who produce it are the ones we expect or not (Matt 21:43). The Pharisees were much more concerned about religious image than dedication to God and care of others. Jesus bluntly explained to them that he understood betrayal was coming, and from whom. They silenced the prophets; they planned to silence Jesus; their control envy would not permit them to produce good fruit.
Jesus first addresses the Pharisees, but groups together the chief priests and the Pharisees in verse 45, clearly addressing all those for whom piety had surpassed faith. His message is clear: our lives and motives are transparent to the Master of the vineyard, and fruit always grows toward the Son.
Prayer: Gracious Master, forgive me for my self-righteousness, and help me to yield good fruit in your vineyard. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Tonya Brittain,
Intern at Joy Lutheran Church, in Richmond, TX.