Matthew 21:33-46 – Kingdom fruit

As we saw yesterday from his strong words and actions in the temple, Jesus is on a collision course with the religious leaders in Jerusalem. Here he tells a parable about a landowner who cultivated a vineyard and then rented it to some tenants. At the due time, the landowner sends his servants to collect the rent in the form of a portion of the fruit harvested but they attack and kill them. Eventually, the landowner sends his son and heir, hoping that they will afford him more respect; however, the tenants kill him too.

You may remember the song of lament from Isaiah 5 about the bad fruit produced by the vineyard and how the vineyard is a common metaphor for Israel. Where the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and before have been entrusted with the spiritual leadership of the nation – being given oversight of the vineyard as it were – they have proven themselves time and again to be reprehensible in their attitude and conduct. As the parable tells us, historically Israel’s leaders have rejected those sent by God to call them to repentance and faith – prophets like Isaiah – and even had them put to death. Obviously the tenants’ murder of the landowner’s son anticipates the way the very religious leaders hearing Jesus’s words here will set about having him killed.

Let’s be a people who produce what Jesus calls in this passage “the fruit of the kingdom”. What might this fruit be? Try and think of three vital things that could be said to constitute such fruit.

Prayer: Take a piece of fruit to eat (tinned is fine, or a few raisins J) Before you eat it, think about the work taken to grow it, the time it has taken to ripen, those who picked it and got it to where you could buy it. Think about the sweetness of it and the goodness it will bring to you. As you then eat, pray, thanking God, praising him that, as his child, he supplies your needs, that he is growing spiritual fruit in you through Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Where you feel lacking, ask the Lord to grow you.

SONG: O God of love