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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Amazing Love

He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all saying, “They will respect my son.” But the tenants said to one another, “This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him; and the inheritance will be ours.” So they took him, and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. (Mark 12:6-9, NIV)

How would you advise God? I would shout a warning to Him across the gulf of eternity: “Don’t do it! Don’t send Your Son, whom You love, to tenants who have killed Your servants!”

The best indicator of future behavior is past performance. Over the course of time, the vineyard tenants have demonstrated they will not give the owner what is due him, and instead will kill whomever the owner sends.

But the owner won’t give up! Last of all he sends his son — and this is no ordinary son.

The father did not send him to get rid of him. The son is not just a chief operating officer of the company, or a business representative of the father. Oh no, he is the “loved son.”

Surely the father knew the risk, because he was aware of how all his servants had been previously treated. And the son did not balk when the father chose to send him.

The tenants have not changed. They have no regard at all for the one who made possible their livelihood. They want ownership and control of what is not theirs.

Isn’t that the problem with all organized religion — the temptation to assume ownership of what is God’s? And even God himself is prevented from reclaiming His Church. Religious leaders and hierarchy too easily can assume that the Church is theirs. Not so!

Even in the New Testament era we have a picture of Jesus being locked outside His own Church, knocking to get entrance (Revelation 3:20). What is often true for organized Christianity is true also for the Israel to which Jesus came. The religious leaders loved their religion far more than they loved God. They loved their ceremonies, rituals and income more than the One who gave them all that.

This story of the vineyard tenants must have filled Jesus with much emotion as He told it. After all, He is the Son who comes after the tenants who, through the long history of Israel, have ignored, beaten or killed the prophets who preceded Him. Jesus knows also that in their heart of hearts they recognize He is the Son. They are not killing a pretender. They hate the Son because they hate the Owner.

The crucifixion of Jesus on the part of the religious establishment was not a case of mistaken identity. They knew deep down what they were doing. That is what Jesus is saying in this story.

But patience has its limits. The hope that someone will change lasts for a season, until a point of no return is reached.

Jesus knew that such a point had been reached with the religious leaders who opposed Him. They’ve had enough chances to say “yes” to God.

This story, though, has a personal application. We too can resist the grace of God for so long that a point of no return is reached. Let that never happen to you!

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, help me always to understand that my life is not my own. May I never want to possess for myself what is Yours by right.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years

2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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