Patient Grace

Matthew 21:36-37
Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

One of the most amazing things about the grace of God is that He allows us to do the wrong thing over and over in hopes that we will eventually do the right thing.  In other words, He doesn’t cast us aside at our first sin or mistake.  He doesn’t immediately destroy us the first time we disobey or do something wrong.  Our God is a longsuffering God.  He is patient with us.  He gives us time and multiple chances.  He extends this grace to us because He loves us and He wants us to eventually make that right decision to surrender to Him.

In this parable, the householder gives his husbandmen chance after chance.  He sends servant after servant, but the husbandmen never submit to the will of the householder.  They hold the fruit of his vineyard hostage and desire it all for themselves.  Similarly, God sent His prophets to the nation of Israel.  He sent His servants, and they rejected them over and over.  They refused to submit to the will of God.  And then He sent His Son, and they responded to Him with more violence and hate than they had the others.  He gives them chance after chance to do the right thing, to repent, to change their hearts, but they never do, so they face the end that Jesus tells them will befall them.

Jesus is not as quick to write off the Pharisees as they are to write Him off, but their continual rejection of Him forces God to take action against them.  He leaves them to their own decision, even though it won’t end well for them.  But what about us?  Maybe we’ve already accepted Jesus as our Savior and truly believe on Him and desire to follow His ways.  But is there an area of our lives where we’re responding like the husbandmen in the parable?  Have we stubbornly refused to obey God and insisted on our own way no matter the cost?

Let’s not take advantage of the grace of God.  He is patient with us because He wants us to eventually get it right.  He wants us to learn and grow and gain understanding so that we can see the error of our past choices and start to make right ones.  But if we refuse that over and over, our hearts get hard.  Their obstinance cost many of the Pharisees an opportunity to be part of the kingdom of God.  They refused Him as their Savior and so faced their due punishment.  But may we cultivate hearts that will respond to the leading of God and leave behind those old attitudes and truly reverence God and His Son that He sent for us.

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