Promise in the Garden

    October 01, 2020 | Stories

    Greetings in Jesus,

     

    We are confident that God's Word is powerful and effective when it is heard and read. This devotion is based off of the weekend sermon. As you continue to grow in God's Word and His love for you, we pray this will strengthen your discipleship.

     

    A Scripture Reading from Matthew 21:33-46

     

    “Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers grabbed his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. So the landowner sent a larger group of his servants to collect for him, but the results were the same.

     

    “Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’

     

    “But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and murdered him.

     

    “When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?”

     

    The religious leaders replied, “He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.”

     

    Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures?

     

    ‘The stone that the builders rejected

        has now become the cornerstone.

    This is the Lord’s doing,

        and it is wonderful to see.’

    I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”

     

    When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.

     

    Devotion:

     

    Jesus is the one who is promised from long ago. When God created humans in the Garden of Eden everything was good. But those first humans ate from the forbidden tree. And since then things are not what they should be. God quickly punished the snake for tempting the humans. God punished Adam and Eve as well. And since then we have been stuck in sin. The entire creation has been bound to sin and corruption.

     

    But there is a promise from long ago. Already in Genesis 3:15 God promised to send one who would crush Satan's head. This defeat would overcome the temptation in the Garden. This defeat would right the wrong that had first occurred. This defeat would undo the corruption of sin forever.

     

    But then we waited. And waited. And waited. The one who was promised to defeat Satan took longer than perhaps first expected. But this was always part of God's greater plan. He knew the path of redemption and how He would defeat sin. And in this reality, God always was working for our good and the defeat of Satan. In-between the Garden and the sending of Jesus, God still sent many holy prophets to help his people. There was seasons of obedience and disobedience. But through it all God was working for the good of His people.

     

    When the people rejected enough of the holy prophets, God finally sent His Son, thinking to himself that they would certainly obey Him. However, just the opposite happened. They put the Son to death for speaking the truth. He died a death that was unjust. Evil circumstances snuffed out His life and all of creation held its breath.

     

    But this Son did not stay dead. God used His death to defeat the serpent and as proof of His victory He raised Jesus from the dead. And because this Son of God lives, all who believe in Him shall live too. Finally, the serpent’s work had been undone and the wrong had been righted.

     

    And now we live in the now and not yet. We know that the serpent is defeated, and death is no more. And yet loved ones still slip away from us. We know that we are free from sin, and yet we experience temptation daily and see the struggle of those around us. We know that right now we are a holy creation and yet we see the filth and chaos of this world.

     

    And this is what our Bible reading is getting at for today. Jesus tells the basic story of salvation. And then walks with His disciples in a life that is still marked by sin even though they live in grace. We know that right now Christians are heirs of the God's kingdom. And yet we cannot fully see this reality on this side of glory.

     

    But thanks be to God that one day we will see this fully. Because of the promise in the Garden. Because of a Son of God. Because of the faith He has given to you. Because of the forgiveness showered upon you. You are a citizen of heaven.

     

    May our God always keep us mindful of this we pray in His mercy and peace, both now and forevermore. Amen.

     

    Blessings,

    Pastor Jacob Schultz

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