The Joshua Victor Theory

Why did God become vulnerable?

March 18, 2013

Sermon on Luke 20:9-20 for the 5th Sunday in Lent, on the parable of the vineyard owner and the tenants, illustrating how God became vulnerable in His merciful appeal to sinful humanity.

Sermon Talking Points

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  1. What are the most astonishing things that happen in this parable? Who is the parable describing?
  2. What is the background of the vineyard imagery so common to Jesus’ parables? Isaiah 5:1-7; 27:2-6; Deut. 6:10-19; John 15. In what way was the vineyard prepared and ready for the people, without their effort? What was expected in return? How were God’s servants, the prophets, treated by the Israelites (tenants)? Jer. 26:20-21; 2 Chron 24:20-22; Mt. 23:34-37; Lk 13:34.
  3. What is so unbelievable about the master of the vineyard’s final plan to collect the fruits of his vineyard? How does this parallel the incredible love and vulnerability of God in sending His Son? In what way was it an appeal to both our sense of shame and honor?
  4. The tenants had the astonishing thought that they could take squatter’s rights of the vineyard if they killed the heir, the son. How does this parallel the thoughts of the Jewish leaders who recognized they were the subject of the parable? Matt. 21:45-46; John 11:45-53
  5. Though Jesus was rejected and killed, how did God honor Him and crown Him with glory? Matt. 21:42; Psalm 118:22-23. What is the consequence of rejecting God’s offered mercy in Christ? Mt. 21:43-44. Isaiah 8:14-15; Dan. 2:34-35. Why is the cross a stumbling block to people? 1 Cor. 1:18-25
  6. How did Jesus’ vulnerable self-sacrifice “pay off” in terms of what it accomplished? What was the result for Him? For us? For those who remain turned against Him?