And he began to speak to them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and dig a place for the winefat…
There is no sin more common or more pernicious in the Christian world than an unsuitable reception of Jesus Christ and the gospel. A soul that has the offer of Christ and the gospel, and yet neglects Him, is certainly in a perishing condition, whatever good works, whatever amiable qualities or appearances of virtue it may be adorned with. This was the sin of the Jews in Christ's time, and this brought temporal and eternal ruin upon them. To represent this sin in a convictive light is the primary design of this parable. But it will admit of a more extensive application. It reaches us in these ends of the earth. However likely it be from appearances that the Son of God will universally meet with an affectionate reception from creatures that stand in such absolute need of Him, yet it is a melancholy, notorious fact that Jesus Christ has but little of the reverence and love of mankind. The prophetical character given of Him long ago by Isaiah still holds true. This is a most melancholy and astonishing thing; it may spread amazement and horror through the whole universe, but, alas! it is a plain fact.
I. TO SHOW YOU WHAT KIND OF RECEPTION WE MAY REASONABLE BE EXPECTED TO GIVE TO THE SON OF GOD.
1. We should give Him a reception agreeable to the character which He sustains.
(1) A Saviour in a desperate case, a relief for the remediless, a helper for the helpless.
(2) A great high priest making atonement for sin.
(3) A mediatorial king, invested with all the power in heaven and earth, and demanding universal homage.
(4) The publisher and the brightest demonstration of the Father's love. And has He not discovered His own love by the many labours of His life, and by the agonies and tortures of His cross?
(5) As able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God through Him, and as willing as able, as gracious as powerful.
(6) A great prophet sent to publish His Father's will, to reveal the deep things of God, and to show the way in which guilty sinners may be reconciled to God. A way which all the philosophers and sages of antiquity, after all their perplexing searches, could never discover.
(7) The august character of supreme Judge of the quick and dead. Do not imagine that none are concerned to give Him a proper reception but those with whom Be conversed in the days of His flesh. He is an ever-present Saviour, and He left His gospel on earth in His stead, when He went to heaven. It is with the motion of the mind and not of the body that sinners must come to Him; and in this sense we may come to Him as properly as those that conversed with Him.
II. THE SEASONABLENESS OF THE EXPECTATION THAT WE SHOULD GIVE THE SON OF GOD A WELCOME RECEPTION. Here full evidence must strike the mind at first sight. Is there not infinite reason that infinite beauty and excellence should be esteemed and loved? that supreme authority should be obeyed, and the highest character revered? Is it not reasonable that the most amazing display of love and mercy should meet with the most affectionate returns of gratitude from the party obliged, etc.? In short, no man can deny the reasonableness of this expectation without denying himself to be a creature.
III. To show HOW DIFFERENT A RECEPTION THE SON OF GOD GENERALLY MEETS WITH IN OUR WORLD, FROM WHAT MIGHT REASONABLE BE EXPECTED.
1. Let me put you all upon a serious search, what kind of reception you have given to Jesus Christ. It is high time for you to inquire into your behaviour.
2. Is it not evident that Jesus Christ has had but little share in your thoughts and affections?
3. Is Jesus Christ the favourite subject of your conversation?
4. Are not your hearts destitute of His love? If you deny the charge and profess that you love Him, where are the inseparable fruits and effects of His love?
5. Have you learned to entrust your souls in His hands, to be saved by Him entirely in His own way? Or, do you not depend, in part at least, upon your own imaginary goodness? etc.Conclusion: —
1. Do you not think that by thus neglecting the Lord Jesus, you contract the most aggravated guilt?
2. Must not your punishment be peculiarly aggravated, since it will be proportioned to your guilt?
3. How do you expect to escape this signal vengeance, if you still continue to neglect the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 2:8)?
4. If your guilt and danger be so great, and if in your present condition you are ready every moment to be engulfed in everlasting destruction, does it become you to be so easy and careless, so merry and gay?
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.