Greetings Bonita, Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,
Nothing subtle or mysterious about this parable! How perfect it is, how direct and instructive. Obviously his hearers, even the common person, understood the Master's message in this simple story of the trusting vineyard owner who is cheated by his evil-minded, short-sighted, greedy tenants.
These may be the most chilling words in the book:
"...God forbid that we should go on doing these things....” (1894.1)173:4.3
This is the first time I can recall Jesus outright warning the priesthood that they are in danger of forfeiting their status as ambassadors to the spiritual kingdom of Urantia. From today's reading:
"...if you continue to reject this gospel, presently will the kingdom of God be taken away from you and be given to a people willing to receive the good news and to bring forth the fruits of the spirit...." (1894.2) 173:4.4
Jesus must have been referring to this verse, about a builders' stone, in Psalms 118:
22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
...when he said:
"...Did you never read in the Scripture about the stone which the builders rejected, and which, when the people had discovered it, was made into the cornerstone? (1894.2)173:4.4
He follows that up with a curious and crushing statement. Maybe it was a common theme in the minds of the people of that time and place. It seems to suggest that all will be broken, but survival depends on whether one lands under or on top of the cornerstone:
"...there is a mystery about this stone, seeing that whoso falls upon it, while he is thereby broken in pieces, shall be saved; but on whomsoever this stone falls, he will be ground to dust and his ashes scattered to the four winds....” (1894.2)173:4.4
Any group may be either good or evil, but nothing unites them for action like a common enemy, and Jesus certainly united them. Rather than take his warning to heart, they took it as a threat to their security, theology and status:
...that night both the Sadducees and the Pharisees joined hands in the plan to entrap him the next day.... (1894.3)173:4.5
The usual three Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, recorded these parables and warnings. And, as usual, John says nothing:
From Matthew 21:
33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
From Mark 12:
1 And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.
6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.'
8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.
10 And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:
11 This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
From Luke :
9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.
10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.
15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?
16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.
In tomorrow's reading (the last of Paper 173), Section 5. Parable of the Marriage Feast, the Master offers the story of a good king whose people rejected his invitation, and how the king replaced those who spurned his invitation. And Jesus decides to move their camp closer to Jerusalem.
Overview of Paper 173: Monday in Jerusalem
1. Cleansing the Temple
2. Challenging the Master’s Authority
3. Parable of the Two Sons
4. Parable of the Absent Landlord
5. Parable of the Marriage Feast
This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.
Listen to Paper 173 (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)
Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited.
Much love, Rick/OPAD host.