I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old. Psalm 78:2.
Today your LORD (יהוה) God (אלהים) says:
When Jesus began His public ministry as a Rabbi, He was thirty years old, Luke 3:23, but He actually first discussed My Word with the Jewish elders when He was only twelve years old, if you recall from out prior Life Lessons, Life Lesson No. 15 to be exact.
And if you recall, the way Jesus taught them was by respectfully listening to them and the asking them questions. Luke 2:46. Which is often the way I teach you as well since the time of Adam. It is to help you arrive at the correct answer on your own by evaluation in the light of revelation which comes from pondering on the questions I give until the light goes on, the rhema, that is your answer. Often the question, as Jesus was doing in His teaching, gives you the answer or at least leads you on the right road to it.
When you know Me personally from spending time in My Word and in the fellowship of prayer, it makes a huge difference in the way you think and talk about Me. You can speak with confidence and authority when you know Me and what I have told you or shown you. My Son knew Me, Matthew 11:27; John 10:15, and could talk about Me with authority. Mark 1:22. Not like the scribes, who did not know Me or even try to. Matthew 7:29; John 8:55. To them it was all about an intellectual knowledge of traditional rules but they did not seek a personal relationship with Me, or even think they could. Isaiah 29:13. This grieved Me for I am calling to each one of you to join with Me in My Covenant of Love. Jeremiah 31:33-34. Remember, I have espoused you to Me forever, Hosea 2:19, and I will never divorce you. Isaiah 50:1. I hate divorce. Malachi 2:16.
After He returned from that time in the Temple when He was twelve years old, Jesus was obedient to His parents and He did not begin teaching and preaching after that until He was baptized by John in the Jordan River and filled with the Holy Spirit. He then began preaching, teaching and healing. Matthew 4:23. And what did He preach? The good news of My Kingdom. Which consists of many facets, but can all be summed up in three words: “I love you.” Yes, I love you and delight in doing good to you.
I love you with an everlasting love, I made the earth and everything in it and surrounding it for you, I gave you dominion over all the works of My hands, and I want you united with Me to rule and reign with My authority for all eternity.
And the result of this love is that when you turned away and rejected My authority and lost yours to the devil I would not let you go but put My plan of salvation into motion. And that is the good news that I sent My Son to save the world and not to condemn it, that He won back man’s dominion authority over the earth and freed mankind from the devil’s control, that He redeemed you from the curse of the law, and that through His sufferings and death He reconciled you with Me and saved you by His life. Most important of all, you can now be reconciled to Me and linked back up with My life and grace which gives you access to the provisions of My heavenly Kingdom.
In My Son you become a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17, so that you can be indwelt by My Holy Spirit! 1 Corinthians 6:19.
Recall the passage from Isaiah that Jesus read in the synagogue in Nazareth when He first began His ministry. In this passage My prophet Isaiah tells you what to look for in the preaching of the Messiah. It states:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to give sight to the blind, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor. Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 61:1-2.
Jesus preached the good news of reconciliation and forgiveness of sins to everyone in Israel, including known sinners, such as prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners. He told them “Do not live in fear, little flock, it has pleased the Father to give you the Kingdom.” Luke 12:32. He told the poor that I would give them good things if they just asked Me, and that if they would seek My Kingdom first and My righteousness, all the things they needed would be supplied. He told the sick that they had a covenant of healing with Me and that I willed them to be healed and whole. Luke 13:10-17; Matthew 8:3.
My Son often taught the crowds who came to hear Him by way of parables that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Psalm 78:2. The first such parable He told concerned My Word. Mark 4:1-20. He likened it unto seed, as I had also spoken to My prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 55:10. Let Me share that first parable with you, for if you do not understand this one you will not understand the others. Mark 4:13. Remember, My Son only spoke that which He heard from Me. John 12:50.
One day Jesus began to teach by the Sea of Galilee. The crowd that gathered around Him was so large that He got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in His teaching He said: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” Mark 4:3-8.
When the crowds were dismissed and Jesus was alone with His disciples, they asked about the parable. He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” Isaiah 6:9-10. You probably noticed here that Jesus was referring to a passage foretold by My prophet Isaiah. Not one Word of all I have spoken fails. Joshua 23:14; 1 Kings 8:56. I watch over My Word to perform it. Jeremiah 1:12. All I have revealed to My prophets comes to pass.
Then Jesus said to them, “This is the meaning of the parable: the seed is the word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.” Luke 8:11-12.
Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.” Luke 8:14.
But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” Luke 8:15; Mark 4:15-20.
This parable is the basis of spiritual law, Genesis 8:22; Mark 4:26, My Word is like seed. Isaiah 55:10; Luke 8:11. A seed, unless it is planted and watered, just remains a seed and never produces. If you receive My Word into your heart with faith and grow and guard it, it will produce a wonderful harvest in your life– a harvest of prosperity, health, peace, and joy.
But if you reject the Word and give it no place in your heart, that is, if you sow only in the flesh, you will reap corruption and death. Jeremiah 17:5; Galatians 6:8. Your life will not be fruitful. It will have no lasting value. Do not waste your precious life like that. A life lived without knowing Me and the One I sent, Jesus Christ, Who is My Word incarnate, is a life without love, and a life lived without love is a wasted, barren life without lasting fruit.
Another parable that I would like you to consider was spoken by My Son in the temple area in Jerusalem to the chief priests and the elders of your people. See if you understand it. Those who first heard it understood its meaning very well. My Son began it this way: “There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and went away on a journey. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.” Matthew 21:33-34.
I own the earth and prepared all that is in it to prosper you and give you blessed productive lives. Your ownership of the earth, however, is a leasehold interest and when the lease term expires, I will take back the fee, and that is what the second coming and the tribulation is about. But then, as you will see in the revelations I gave to Daniel, I give all back to the believers forever. Daniel 7:27.
There is another meaning here too. The earth is Mine and all the fullness therein and all the earth is leasehold to man, but I particularly have My eyes on the nation of Israel and I call it My vineyard. For I am the keeper of the vineyard, My Son is the vine and you who have attached to Him by faith are the fruitful branches filled with My life flowing through Jesus to you by the Holy Spirit. And the first vineyard was Israel, the line of the Messiah according to the flesh.
When Jesus told this parable it was addressed to the religious leaders of the day and they would have recognized that He was speaking a parable similar to one I had spoken to My prophet Isaiah about eight hundred years before, but My Son revealed its true meaning. I tell you that everything in Scripture is really a foreshadowing of the Messiah, the Christ. He is My Covenant with you. He is the promised Savior, Messiah and Lord, that sealed the everlasting Covenant between you and Me that I had foretold through My prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel and promised to Adam and the patriarchs.
Now you may have already recognized which passage of the Book of Isaiah Jesus is drawing upon here, and the chief priests and elders would have been familiar with this too, but let Me repeat it for you here:
Let me sing now for my well-beloved, a song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. He dug it all around, removed its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine and He built a tower in the middle of it and also hewed out a wine vat in it; then He expected it to produce good grapes. Isaiah 5:1-2.
So we see that I am now expecting to find Israel walking in My ways, abiding in Me, and producing good fruit, that is, godly deeds that prosper, bless and increase lives. Well, My Son then went further. He describes what happened when I sent My servants, the prophets, looking for fruit from the people of Israel. Did you give Him good fruit in return for all He had done for you in the promised land? No, instead, “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.” Matthew 21:35-37.
Yes, sadly this is true. My people often persecuted and killed My prophets. Ultimately, they did this to My Son. My Son would later bring the Pharisees, priests and scribes to task for this when He told them:
Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. Luke 11:47-51.
This has deeply grieved My Heart over the years but I have not stopped sending prophets to you. I still send you prophets bringing you the good news of great joy. But I still am grieved by those of you who will not listen. Jesus once looked over Jerusalem and expressed My sentiments to you, He said: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37. I cannot shield and protect you from your enemies, from evil, from the curse, unless you are willing to come to Me and authorize Me to act in your life. Jesus added a warning but also the solution that you should take to heart also: “Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Matthew 23:38-39. Psalm 118:26. It is time to say this about My Son. Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation!
As Isaiah continued his parable it sounded similar, a word of wisdom I gave him about what would happen when I sent the redeemer:
Then He expected it to produce good grapes, but it produced only worthless ones. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah judge between Me and My vineyard. What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? Isaiah 5:2-4.
You see through the prophet Isaiah I ask “What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done for it?” And there was one more thing I could do, the ultimate sacrifice of My Son to make you righteous, to make you fruitful. My Son gave you My answer in His parable. He continued the parable as follows: “Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.” Matthew 21:38-39.
With this foretelling of His death on the cross, Jesus finished the parable. Just as the high priest of the old covenant law carried the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but then burned the bodies outside the camp, so too Jesus suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood. Hebrews 13:11-12.
He then asked the priests and the elders, “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They were quick to reply and show their knowledge. They knew the answer from the prophet Isaiah, Isaiah had answered this question as follows:
So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground. I will lay it waste; it will not be pruned or hoed, but briars and thorns will come up I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel and the men of Judah His delightful plant thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress. Isaiah 5:1-7.
So they condemned themselves unwittingly when they replied to Jesus’ question: “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” Matthew 21:41.
Jesus had made His point. He then linked up the parable with prophecy from the Psalms as He said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is wonderful in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23.
“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” Matthew 21:43-44.
There are two other prophecies alluded to here that are fulfilled in Jesus as Messiah and Lord. One I revealed through My prophet Isaiah, Isaiah 65:1-3, and the other I revealed it to My servant Daniel through a dream of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 2.
And those we will discuss in our next Life Lesson.
I love you. It has pleased Me to give you who are disciples of My Son the Kingdom. Do not take that lightly but live a life worthy of the calling you have received, for I have called you to My own Kingdom and glory.
Just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12.