Mark 12:1
Then Jesus began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a wine vat, and built a watchtower. Then he rented it out to some tenants and went away on a journey.
Sermons
Dishonest TenantsAlexander MaclarenMark 12:1
A Guilty ConscienceMark 12:1-12
Christ Ungratefully TreatedMark 12:1-12
Cruelty to ChristD. L. Moody.Mark 12:1-12
God the Proprietor of AllH. W. Beecher.Mark 12:1-12
God's Care of His ChurchG. Petter.Mark 12:1-12
God's Dealings with the Jews are Signified in This ParableG. Petter.Mark 12:1-12
God's ForbearanceOtto Funcke.Mark 12:1-12
God's LongsufferingC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 12:1-12
God's Love in Sending His SonH. W. Beecher.Mark 12:1-12
Obligation to GodMark 12:1-12
Parable of the VineyardJ.J. Given Mark 12:1-12
Pursued by God's MercyMother's TreasuryMark 12:1-12
Rejected and ChosenThe Preacher's MonthlyMark 12:1-12
Rejection of Christ a Common, But Most Unreasonable IniquityPresident Davies.Mark 12:1-12
Reverence Claimed for ChristJ. Burns, D. D.Mark 12:1-12
The Builders Overruled by the Great ArchitectR. Finlayson, B. A.Mark 12:1-12
The Church Divinely ProtectedH. M. Luckock, D. D.Mark 12:1-12
The Evil HusbandmenE. Johnson Mark 12:1-12
The Head of the CornerC. S. Robinson, D. D.Mark 12:1-12
The Headstone of the CornerAnon.Mark 12:1-12
The Parable of the VineyardH. M. Luckock, D. D.Mark 12:1-12
The Parable of the VineyardA.F. Muir Mark 12:1-12
The Parable of the Vineyard; Or, Unfaithfulness and its RewardR. Green Mark 12:1-12
The Pleading of the Last MessengerC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 12:1-12
The Rejected StoneM. F. Sadler, M. A.Mark 12:1-12
The Reverence Due to the Son of GodG. Phillips.Mark 12:1-12
The Son RejectedC. M. Southgate.Mark 12:1-12
The Stream of Mercy Directed into Another CourseWilliam Arnot.Mark 12:1-12
The Vineyard, or the Visible Church Transferred to the GentilesE. N. Kirk, D. D.Mark 12:1-12
The World's IngratitudeM. Denton.Mark 12:1-12
They Will Reverence My SonH. Clay Trumbull.Mark 12:1-12
The imagery adopted would at once address itself to the understanding of the hearers. Palestine pre-eminently a land of the grape. The prophetic writings are full of symbols and figures from the vine. This was spoken in continuation of his dispute with the Sanhedrim, and in the presence of all the people in the temple. The historical allusions to the prophets and the personal one to himself must have been only too clear. It was a detailed and crescent indictment of the most solemn and awful character.

I. GOD'S LOVING PROVISION FOR THE SPIRITUAL INTERESTS OF HIS PEOPLE INVOLVED CORRESPONDING OBLIGATION.

II. INSTEAD OF SERVING GOD, THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF ISRAEL SOUGHT THEIR OWN ADVANTAGE.

III. SELFISHNESS AND UNBELIEF LED TO THE REJECTION OF THE PROPHETS, AND EVEN OF THE SON OF GOD HIMSELF.

IV. SUCH CONDUCT ENTAILS A JUDGMENT, WHICH, ALTHOUGH DELAYED, IS NEVERTHELESS SURE AND TERRIBLE.

V. THE LOVING PURPOSE OF GOD, ALTHOUGH HINDERED BY SUCH MEANS, WILL HE ULTIMATELY AND GLORIOUSLY FULFILLED. - M.







A certain man planted a vineyard and set an hedge about it.
I. THE CHURCH IS GOD'S PECULIAR TREASURE.

II. THE JEWISH PEOPLE WERE APPOINTED ITS GUARDIANS.

III. THE JEWISH NATION WAS UNFAITHFUL TO ITS TRUST.

1. They rejected the moral government of Jehovah.

2. They rejected His political control as the head of their theocracy.

IV. THE SACRED TRUST WAS TRANSFERRED TO OTHER PEOPLES AND NATIONS.

V. THEY WERE FEARFULLY PUNISHED AS A NATION.

1. We are now led to admire the sublime features of the scheme of Providence.

2. That there is a great responsibility on the nations, communities, and individuals, to which God commits His Church.

3. We are the husbandmen.

(E. N. Kirk, D. D.)

The manufacturer in his office knows that through building after building filled with machinery, running out to the very first and rudest processes, every single act of every single operative, down to the last and lowest boy, has its direct commercial connection with him and his interest. There is not one of the wheels that revolve of the ten thousand; there is not a thread spun or woven; there is not a colour mixed nor employed; there is not a thing done by any of the hands working in his vast establishment of whom there may be hundreds or even thousands, that is not related directly to his interest. The whole economy of the globe is, as it were, but a small manufactory under the direction of God; and there is not a single act performed in it which has not some relation to the thought, the feelings, the purpose of God. And He declares Himself to be in a wonderful sense identified with everything that is going on in life, in one way or another.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Horace Bushnell tells us that a few years before his death, Daniel Webster, having a large party of friends dining with him at Marshfield, was called on by one of the party as they became seated at the table to specify what one thing he had met with in his life which had done most for him, or had contributed most to the success of his personal history. After a moment he replied: "The most fruitful and elevating influence I have ever seemed to meet with has been my impression of obligation to God."

Socrates, one of the wisest and noblest men of his time, after a long career of service in denouncing the wrongs of his age, and trying to improve the morals of the people, was condemned to death and obliged to drink poison. Dante, when Italy was torn by political factions, each ambitious of power, and all entirely unscrupulous as to the means employed to attain it, laboured with untiring zeal to bring about Italian unity, and yet his patriotism met no other reward than exile. "Florence for Italy, and Italy for the world," were his words when he heard his sentence of banishment. Columbus was sent home in irons from the country he had discovered. The last two years of his life present a picture of black ingratitude on the part of the Crown to this distinguished benefactor of the kingdom, which it is truly painful to contemplate. He died, perhaps, the poorest man in the whole kingdom he had spent his lifetime to enrich. Bruno, of Nola, for his advocacy of the Copernican system, was seized by the Inquisition and burned alive at Rome in 1600, in the presence of an immense concourse. Scioppus, the Latinist, who was present at the execution, with a sarcastic allusion to one of Bruno's heresies, the infinity of worlds, wrote, "The flames carried him to those worlds."

(M. Denton.)

The Macedonian king, Alexander the Great, who, as in one triumphal march, conquered the world, observed a very singular custom in his method of carrying on war. Whenever he encamped with his army before a fortified city and laid siege to it, he caused to be set up a great lantern, which was kept lighted by day and night. This was a signal to the besieged, and what it meant was that as long as the lamp burned they had time to save themselves by surrender, but that when once the light should be extinguished, the city, and all that were in it, would be irrevocably given over to destruction. And the conqueror kept his word with terrible consistency. When the light was put out, and the city was not given up, all hope of mercy was over. The Macedonians stormed the place, and if it was taken all were cut to pieces who were capable of bearing arms, and there was no quarter or forgiveness possible. Now, it is the good pleasure of our God to have compassion and to show mercy. But a city or a people can arrive at such a pitch of moral corruption that the moral order of the world can only be saved by its destruction. It was so with the whole race of men at the time of the flood, with Sodom and Gomorrah at a later period, and with the Jewish people in our Saviour's time. But before the impending stroke of judgment fell, God always, so to speak, set up the lamp of grace, which was not only a signal of mercy, but also a light to show men that they were in the way of death, and a power to turn them from it.

(Otto Funcke.)

Mother's Treasury.
"Saved at the bottom of the sea!" So said one of our Sydney divers to a city missionary. In his house, in one of our suburbs, might be seen lately what would probably strike the visitor as a very strange chimney ornament; the shells of an oyster holding fast a piece of printed paper. But devoutly do I wish that every chimney ornament could tell such a tale of usefulness. The possessor of this ornament might well value it. He was diving amongst wrecks on our coast, when he observed at the bottom of the sea this oyster on a rock, with this piece of paper in his mouth, which he detached, and commenced to read through the goggles of his head dress. It was a tract, and, coming to him thus strangely and unexpectedly, so impressed his unconverted heart, that he said, "I can hold out against God's mercy in Christ no longer, since it pursues me thus." He tells us that he became, whilst in the ocean's depth, a repentant, converted, and (as he was assured) sin-forgiven man — "saved at the bottom of the sea!"

(Mother's Treasury.)

The axe carried before the Roman consuls was always bound up in a bundle of rods. An old author tells us that "the rods were tied up with knotted cords, and that when an offender was condemned to be punished the executioner would untie the knots, one by one, and meanwhile the magistrate would look the culprit in the face, to observe any signs of repentance and watch his words, to see if he could find a motive for mercy; and thus justice went to its work deliberately and without passion." The axe was enclosed in rods to show that the extreme penalty was never inflicted till milder means had failed; first the rod, and the axe only as a terrible necessity.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

What would tempt you to give the baby out of your cradle? Is there anyone you love on earth, mother, that would tempt you to give your baby for that? But what if the child had grown up and had come to man's estate? Say it had bloomed into fruition and all your hope was on it. What do you love in this world that would tempt you to give this child up as a sacrifice? You might for the country in hours of heroism. Many and many a mother has done a work that was divine when she consecrated her only son and sent him forth into the war, believing that she should never see him again. How many hearts are touched with the thought of this remembrance. But, oh, is there language that can expound such heroism, such zeal, such enthusiasm, as must inhere in the hearts of everyone that can do such work as that? And yet our hearts are small comparatively, and pulseless and shallow, and our human senses, as compared with God, are like a drop of water in comparison with the ocean. And what is the love of God, the Infinite, whose flowings are like the Gulf Stream? What are the depths, and the breadths, and the lengths of the love of God in Christ Jesus, when, looking upon a world that was so degraded and animal like, He gave His only begotten Son to die for it that there might be an interpretation of the love of God to the world.

(H. W. Beecher.)

A.
Surely a servant of the government may risk himself in the very heart of a convict prison alone, if he is the bearer of a royal pardon for all the inmates. In such a ease it would not be necessary to look out for a man of rare courage who might dare to carry the proclamation to the convicts. Give him but the message of free pardon, and he may go in unarmed, with all safety, like Daniel in the den of lions. When Christ Himself came to the world — the great convict prison of the universe — came the Ambassador from God, bringing peace — they said: "This is the heir; come, let us kill Him!" He came unto His own, and His own received Him not; and the servant is not greater than his Lord.

(A.)

Some time ago a father had a son who had broken his mother's heart. After her death he went on from bad to worse. One night he was going out to spend it in vice, and the old man went to the door as the young one was going out, and said, "My son, I want to ask a favour of you tonight. You have not spent one night with me since your mother was buried, and I have been so lonesome without her and without you, and now I want to have you spend tonight with me; I want to have a talk with you about the future." The young man said, "No, father, I do not want to stay; it is gloomy here at home." He said, "Won't you stay for my sake?" and the son said he would not. At last, the old man said, "If I cannot persuade you to stay, if you are determined to go down to ruin, and to break my heart, as you have your mother's — for these grey hairs cannot stand it much longer — you shall not go without my making one more effort to save you;" and the old man threw open the door, and laid himself upon the threshold, and said, "If you go out tonight you must go over this old body of mine;" and what did he do? Why, that young man leaped over the father, and on to ruin he went. Did you ever think that God has given His Son? Yes, He has laid Him, as it were, right across your path that you might not go down to hell; and if there is a soul in this assembly that goes to hell, you must go over the murdered body of God's Son.

(D. L. Moody.)

In the channel through which a running stream is directed upon a mill wheel, the same turning of a valve that shuts the water out of one course throws it into another, Thus the Jews, by rejecting the counsel of God, shut themselves out, and at the same moment opened a way whereby mercy might flow to us who were afar off.

(William Arnot.)

One who was wont to illustrate His teaching by imagery drawn from the objects which surrounded Him, could hardly fail in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem to speak of vineyards. The hills and table-lands of Judah were the home of the vine. Five times our Lord availed Himself of this figure for His parables (St. Matthew 20:1; Matthew 21:28, 33; St. Luke 13:6; St. John 15:1); and though it is doubtful in what locality He spoke that of the labourers in the vineyard, it is almost certain that the remaining four are intimately associated with Jerusalem. In many places in Southern Palestine the features of this parable may still be traced. The loose stone fences, like the walls so familiar to the eye in Wales or Derbyshire; the remains of the old watchtowers, generally in one corner of the enclosure; and the cisterns hewn in the solid rock in which the grapes were pressed — all remain to the present day. It was the custom in our Lord's time for the owner in leasing a vineyard to tenants, to arrange for the rent to be paid, not in money but in kind — a certain portion of the produce being set apart as "a first charge" for the landlord. The system prevails in modern times in some parts of France, and more widely under the name of "ryot-rent" in India.

(H. M. Luckock, D. D.)

I. He did by His special providence protect and defend the Jewish Church, against all enemies and dangers both bodily and spiritual, which might annoy them and so hinder their fruitfulness.

II. He afforded them all necessary helps and means to further them in grace, and to make them spiritually fruitful.

1. The Ministry of the Word and Sacraments, together with the whole true worship of God prescribed in the moral and ceremonial Law.

2. Godly discipline.

3. Afflictions and chastisements.

4. Mercies and deliverances.

5. Miracles.

(G. Petter.)

Where God plants a true church, He does not so leave it, but is further careful to furnish it with all things needful for a church; and not only for the being, but also for the well-being of it; that it may not only be a church, but a happy and prosperous church, growing and flourishing in grace, and bringing forth plentiful fruits of grace, such as God requires and are acceptable to Him by Jesus Christ. As a careful and wise householder, having planted a vineyard for his use, doth not so leave it, and do no more to it; but is at further care and cost to furnish it with such things as are necessary and commodious, to the end it may grow, flourish, and prosper, and that it may bring forth much fruit and profit to the owner of it. So here, the Lord having planted a church in any place or amongst any people, doth not so leave it, but is careful to use all further means for the good of His church; especially for the spiritual good and prosperity of it, that it may grow, and increase, and prosper spiritually, and bring forth much spiritual fruit to God who planted it. Thus He did to the church of the Jews: He did not only plant His vineyard amongst them, by adopting and calling them to be His people, but withal He hedged about that vineyard, and set up a winepress, and built a watchtower in it, i.e., He furnished the Jews with all things needful to make them happy and prosperous, truly growing, thriving, and prospering in grace, and bringing forth plentiful fruits thereof, to the glory of God, the good of others, and the furtherance of their own salvation. To this end, He compassed them about with His special providence, as with a strong and sure hedge, to defend and keep them safe from all enemies and dangers bodily and spiritual which might annoy them; He gave and continued to them all spiritual helps and means of grace, and a government of His own appointing; He corrected them with afflictions, bestowed on them great mercies and deliverances, and wrought miracles for their benefit, to further their spiritual good and prosperity. And this is but a sample of how He treats every true church that He plants.

(G. Petter.)

Whether in the parable the hedge and winefat and tower had each a special application in the system of God's providential care for His ancient people, we cannot say; but at least in one particular we may trace a peculiar fitness in the figure of "the hedge." What was it that protected the land of Israel year by year during the three Great Festivals, when by the Divine Law the country was denuded of its male population; when every man from north, south, east, and west, from the most unguarded districts, leaving their flocks and herds, their wives and little ones, totally unprotected from their bitterest enemies, went up to Jerusalem, the centre of religious worship? What was it that held in check the Moabite and Ammonite, and the robber tribes of Arabia? It was the fence of Divine protection, which, like a wall of fire, God in His providence had built up, so that no one dared to pass it.

(H. M. Luckock, D. D.)

The coming of the Son of God in human form, as Emmanuel, is love's great plea for reconciliation. Who can resist so powerful an argument?

I. THE AMAZING MISSION.

1. He comes after many rejections of Divine love. None have been left without admonitions and expostulations from God. From childhood upwards He has called us by most earnest entreaties of faithful men and affectionate women; and, in spite of our obstinate resistance, He still sends to us His Son to plead with us and urge us to go to our Father.

2. He comes for no personal ends. It is for our own sake that He strives with us. Nothing but tender regard for our well-being makes Him warn us.

3. See who this Messenger is.

(1)He is One greatly beloved of His Father.

(2)In Himself He is of surpassing excellence.

(3)His graciousness is as conspicuous as His glory.

(4)His manner is most winning.

(5)He is God's ultimatum.Nothing remains when Christ is refused. Heaven contains no further Messenger. Rejecting Christ you reject all, and shut against yourself the only possible door of hope.

II. THE ASTOUNDING CRIME. There are many ways of killing the Son of God.

1. Denying His deity.

2. Denying His atonement.

3. Remaining indifferent to His claims.

4. Refusing to obey His gospel.Thus you may virtually put Him away, and so be guilty of His blood, and crucify Him afresh.

III. THE APPROPRIATE PUNISHMENT. Our Lord leaves our own consciences to depict the overwhelming misery of those who carry their rebellion to its full length. He leaves our imagination to prescribe a doom sufficient for a crime so base, so daring, so cruel.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE OWNER'S CLAIM. His right and authority are complete. God presses His right to our love and service. Blessings are privileges, and privileges are obligations. We owe Him more than Israel owed. The human will has a natural repugnance to submission to absolute authority. But God never presents His claim as grounded on this alone. He tells of His love before He declares His laws. Only a bad heart can resent the authority or refuse the service.

II. THE OWNER'S LOVING PATIENCE. There never was an earthly employer who showed such persistent kindness towards such persistent rebellion. This is a faint picture of God's forbearance towards Israel. Mercies, deliverances, revelations, gather around their history.

III. THE REJECTION. Rejection of the prophets leads up to the rejection of Christ. Privilege and place do not lessen the danger.

IV. THE JUDGMENT. It was just, necessary, complete, remediless.

V. THE FINAL EXALTATION OF THE SON. The kingdom is not to perish, only the rebellious.

(C. M. Southgate.)

I. The picture suggested by the scene which Christ calls up into imagination would be likely to cause surprise, or be termed an exaggeration, if it were laid anywhere outside of Palestine. Down even to the present time customs remain very much the same as in Christ's day in that oppressed country.

1. The insecurity of property and person is proverbial. The Scripture record might be incorporated into the ordinary guide books.

2. There has been in all ages a special confusion of iniquitous dealing in respect to real estate. Thievery and violence seem to be the rule in the east, peace and possession the exception. Something is to be charged to the government; the laws are indefinite, and bribery is rife; indeed, the government sets the example of systematized crime. In all history of the Holy Land, from Christ's time to ours, the rulers have been organized for official robbery and outrage. No titles are secure, even when one has paid for his vineyard or his building plot.

3. Then, too, the custom of committing all oversight and control of farms and orchards to underlings makes the matter a great deal worse. Absenteeism is a fruitful reason for crime (Mark 12:1). Those men left in charge of the vineyard, to whom messenger after messenger had been sent, and who now were peremptorily addressed by the owner with a final demand in the august person of his son, are represented as communing with each other, and saying, as they laid the wiles of their conspiracy, what might be construed into an utterance of their belief that, if this one inheritor were only dead, all heirship would be extinguished (Mark 12:7).

4. Still, so far as we can learn, there was no ground for hope of success in this plot. No enactment has come down to us which would sustain such an entailment or division or heirship as those infamous creatures assumed. Luke's language (Luke 20:14) agrees with Mark's; but Matthew (Matthew 21:38) says, "Let us seize on his inheritance." This suggests the true interpretation. The husbandmen had no countenance in the common law; they intended to say that they would make the vineyard theirs by violence, and hold it by any extremities of force. It was a singularly stupid plan; it could not have even a plausible look anywhere but in that wretched region. It assumed an absence of justice, an insecurity of possession, an immunity from the worst crime, positively oriental in its toleration of rapine and murder.

5. Add to this the fact that in those early days, when invention had not yet brought firearms into use, the measures taken for homicide were brutal and hard beyond description. Not even spears or daggers or knives are used there for assassination now any more than they used to be. The coarse, rude weapon for murder is a club or bludgeon of the roughest sort; the Bedawin will have a gun on their shoulders, but will knock their victim on the head with a knotted stick all the same. The description, left on record by the Psalmist, is true to this day: "He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor. He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones. He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: He hideth His face; He will never see it."

6. Hence, this frightful picture was a tremendous invective as well as a vivid illustration when employed by our Lord. He used it for a similitude in one of His most direct and forcible arraignments of the Jewish nation for their blind, dull, coarse, criminal rejection of God's only-begotten Son, despatched then from high heaven to secure His Father's rights from those who had grasped after heirship by murder.

II. We turn now to the second branch of the story. Our Lord suddenly drops His figure, and leaves the parable altogether, finishing His application with a quotation from one of the most familiar of the psalms (Psalm 118:22).

1. Thus He illustrates His position. He claims a Messianic psalm for Himself. Matthew (Matthew 21:43) tells us He said to those hearers of His in plain words that He was speaking this parable concerning them. And He chooses to show them that, for Himself, there was no fear of the future. The "son" of the story, who got murder instead of "reverence," is heard of no more. But the Son of God, though "rejected" now, should one day come to His place of honour. They understood Him very well, for in an alarmed sort of murmur they said, "God forbid!" (Luke 20:16).

2. Thus He predicts His eventual triumph. There is a tradition of the Jewish Rabbis which relates the history of a wonderful stone, prepared, as they say, for use in the building of Solomon's temple. Each block for that matchless edifice was shaped and fitted for its particular place, and came away from the distant quarry marked for the masons. But this one was so different from any other that no one knew what to do with it. Beautiful indeed it was; carved with figures of exquisite loveliness and grace; but it had no fellow; it fitted nowhere; and at last the impatient and perplexed workmen flung it aside as only a splendid piece of folly. Years passed, while the proud structure was going up without the sound of axe or hammer. During all the time this despised fragment of rock was lying in the valley of Jehoshaphat covered with dirt and moss. Then came the day of dedication; the vast throng arrived to see what the Israelites were wont to call "the noblest fabric under the sun." There it stood crowning the mountain's ridge, and shining with whiteness of silver and yellowness of gold. The wondering multitudes gazed admiringly upon its magnificent proportions, grand in their splendour of marble. But when one said that the east tower was unfinished, or at least looked so, the chief architect grew impatient again, and replied that Solomon was wise, but a builder must admit there was a gap in his plans. By and by the king drew near in person; with his retinue he rode directly to the incomplete spot, as if he there expected most to be pleased. "Why is this neglect?" he asked in tones of indignant surprise: "where is the piece I sent for the head of this corner?" Then suddenly the frightened workmen bethought themselves of that rejected stone which they had been spurning as worthless. They sought it again, cleared it from its defilement, swung it fairly up into its place, and found it was indeed the top stone fitted so as to give the last grace to the whole.

3. Thus Jesus also clinches His argument. He made His audience see that He was fulfilling every necessity of the Messiah's office, and answering to every prediction made of Him, even down to the receiving of the "rejection" at their hands as they were now giving it to Him. They were educated in the ancient oracles of God, and were wont to admit the bearing of every sentence and verse of prophecy. And when this strange, intrepid Galilean asked them, "Did ye never read in the Scripture?" they saw that He knew His vantage with the people, and would be strong enough to hold it against their violence or treachery. There was force in argument when one brought up a text inspired.

4. Thus, likewise, our Lord enlightened their consciences. There is something more than logical defeat in their manner after this conversation: there is spiritual dismay and consternation. "They know that He had spoken the parable against them." It was necessary to silence this terrible voice of denunciation.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

A father may be sure that his son will be counted as standing for himself in a peculiar sense; and that all there is of gratitude or affection or reverence toward himself will indicate itself in the reception and treatment of that son, wherever the son goes as the father's representative. When the Grand Duke Alexis visited America after our civil war, he was greeted with the liveliest expressions of interest by young and old throughout the North, because of his father's sympathy with our government in the hour of its need. The Prince of Wales, on his visit to this country, was honoured as the representative of his royal mother; and the admiration for her character as a woman was commingled with the respect for her as a sovereign, in all the honours that were tendered to him wherever he moved. Any father or any mother may always be sure that a real friend will be true to the interests of a child of that parent, keenly alive to that child's welfare, and tenderly sensitive to its comfort and good name, because it is that parent's child. God recognized this truth when He sent His only Son into this world as His representative. Whatever of real love for the Father there was among the sons of men, would be cure to show itself wherever the Son was recognized.

(H. Clay Trumbull.)

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?

(President Davies.)

The Saviour here applies an ancient prediction to Himself (ver. 10), "And have ye not read," etc. Our present design is the consideration of the words of our text as they will properly apply to us.

I. THE DIGNIFIED CHARACTER OF CHRIST. "God's well-beloved Son." This representation presents Jesus to us.

1. In His divine nature.

2. As the object of the Father's delight (Isaiah 13:1; John 17:24).

II. THE MISSION OF CHRIST. "He sent Him also." God had sent His prophets and ministering servants to teach, to warn, and reveal His will to His people; but, last of all, He sent His Son.

1. From whence? From His own bosom (John 1:18).

2. To whom was He sent? To a world of sinners.

3. For what was He sent? To be the Saviour of the world; to restore men to the favour, image, and enjoyment of God.

(1)He came to destroy the works of the devil and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth.

(2)He was sent to illumine a dark world by the doctrines of the gospel.

(3)To recover an alienated world by His power and grace.

(4)To redeem an accursed world by His death upon the cross.

(5)To purify a polluted world by His spirit and blood.

III. THE REVERENCE GOD DEMANDS ON BEHALF OF HIS SON. Let us ascertain —

1. The manner in which this reverence should be evinced.

(1)By adoring love of His person.

(2)By cheerful obedience to His authority.

(3)By studious imitation of His example.

(4)By ardent zeal for His glory; making Christ's interest our own; living to spread His name.

2. The grounds of this reverence.

(1)Think of the glory of His person.

(2)The purity of His character.

(3)The riches of His grace.

(4)The preciousness of His benefits.

(5)The terribleness of His wrath.Application:

1. Address sinners. Rejection of Christ will involve you in endless wrath and ruin.

2. Saints. Aver your reverence for Christ. Not only cherish it, but exhibit it. Fearlessly profess Him before men, and ever live to the glory of His name.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

I. IT IS REASONABLE HE SHOULD BE REVERENCED on account of —

1. The dignity and authority of His Father.

2. His inherent excellencies.

3. His actual achievements.

II. THE RECEPTION WHICH HE MET WITH.

III. THE DOOM OF THOSE WHO DISREGARD THE SON. The ancient Jews who persisted in their rebellion did not escape punishment. So all those who now reject the offers of mercy and disregard the Son of God, will not escape punishment.

IV. CHRIST SHALL BE REVERENCED.

(G. Phillips.)

This is a striking though homely image applied to the most wonderful of events.

I. THE BLINDNESS OF THE BUILDERS. The position which the Jewish leaders occupied was a very honourable one. They were appointed to build — to build up the Church. They have to deliberate and devise regarding all that greatly pertained to the ecclesiastical life of the nation. But there also lay their great responsibility. They might do a great service, putting Christ into the place intended for Him; or they might do a great disservice, setting Him aside, and putting Him in a false light before the nation. It unhappily turned out in the latter way. And their crime is represented as a refusing of Him whom God meant to be a chief cornerstone. And what made their conduct so criminal was that they acted against the light.

II. THE BUILDERS AS OVERRULED BY THE GREAT ARCHITECT. It has always been matter for surprise how bad men get into power. Never was human liberty brought into such antagonism to the Divine sovereignty. It would have been a sad thing if their conduct had prevented the building up of a Church. That, we know, could never be. This may be put on the ground of the Divine purpose. Christ was the living stone, chosen of God, But deeper than the purpose itself is the ground of the purpose in the character of God, and the fitness of the stone for the place. He was a stone refused, disallowed. But God was independent of them, and got others more humble than they, but more in sympathy with the purpose. Ay, even they are taken up into the purpose as unconscious, involuntary instruments. For it was in the very refusing of Him in His death that He became chief cornerstone. They were thus doing what they did not intend to do. And He rose triumphant out of their hands when they thought they had effectually secured Him in the tomb.

III. LET US DRAW SOME LESSONS FROM THE THEME.

1. Let us beware of self-deception, of blinding ourselves. These rulers thought they were doing God service in what they did to Christ. If they could so far deceive themselves who occupied so prominent a position in the Church, have we not reason to be on our guard?

2. Let us beware of leaving out Christ.

3. Let us admire the placing of Christ as chief cornerstone.

4. Let us remember the way and glory of becoming living stones in the spiritual temple.

5. Let us consider the loss of not being living stones in this building. Our Lord has a comment on these words, than which there is nothing more fearful: "Whosoever shall fall," etc.

(R. Finlayson, B. A.)

The Preacher's Monthly.
I. THE PRINCIPLE HERE ASSERTED. The quotation is from Psalm 118:22, 23.

1. The intrinsic excellence of a thing is not at all affected by its non-recognition.

2. The intrinsic excellence of true principles enables them to become, in spite of human contempt, true rulers of the world and of life.

3. In their opposition to the true and the good, men know not what they do.

4. We see now how God must make use of what seem the unlikeliest instruments for the realization of His gracious purposes.

5. The processes of spiritual regeneration and new life are carried on by means of rejected powers.

II. THE REACTION OF THIS PRINCIPLE UPON THE MEN OF CHRIST'S TIME. "They knew that He had spoken the parable against them." They lost the Christ they rejected. "To him that hath shall be given," etc.

III. THERE ARE SPECIAL LESSONS HERE FOR THE MEN OF THE PRESENT AGE.

1. The possession of great privileges and advantages is not to be regarded as excluding moral abuses and dangers.

2. Faithfulness to spiritual truth is the true life giving and conservative force in individual and national life. What is morally wrong can never be safe.

3. Personal relations to the Christ determine destiny. "Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall it will grind him to powder."

(The Preacher's Monthly.)

God's truth overcoming human opposition: — There is a legend which I have seen somewhere, which describes the origin of the figure in this way: That at the building of the temple a stone was cut and shaped in the quarries, of which the builders could make no use. It lay about daring the period of the building, held by all to be a hindrance (a stone of stumbling), but at the very last its place was found to be at the head of the corner, binding the two sides together. And so the Father explains Christ the cornerstone, as binding Jew and Gentile in one Church of God. It is very remarkable how often this has been repeated in the history of the Church — how great religious movements have been frowned down, if not actively opposed, by those in high places, which have afterwards subdued all opposition. In our own times, in this very century, this has occurred twice. First, the great evangelical movement in our Church was set at naught by the builders, though it was the assertion of the primary truth of personal religion — that each soul must have a personal apprehension of Christ, and look to Him with the eye of a living faith; and then the great Church movement was almost unanimously rejected by the bishops between 1810 and 1850, though it was the assertion of the truths patent through all the New Testament, that the Church, though a visible organization, is the mystical body of Christ — that it is a supernatural system of grace, and that its sacraments are the signs of grace actually given in and with the outward sign. In neither of these cases did "the builders" discern the strength of the principles asserted, and foresee that they must win their way; though the formularies of the Church, of which these builders were the exponents and guardians, assert very unmistakably both these truths in conjunction, viz., spiritual apprehension of Christ, and sacramental union in His body.

(M. F. Sadler, M. A.)

The Lord Jesus is —

I. A STONE: No firmness but in Him.

II. A FUNDAMENTAL stone: No building but on Him.

III. A CORNER stone: No piecing, or reconciliation, but in Him.

(Anon.)

They knew that He had spoken.
During the Protectorate, a certain knight in the county of Surrey had a lawsuit with the minister of his parish; and, whilst the dispute was pending, Sir John imagined that the sermons which were delivered in church were preached at him. He, therefore, complained against the minister to Oliver Cromwell, who inquired of the preacher concerning it; and, having found that he merely reproved common sins, he dismissed the complaining knight, saying, "Go home, Sir John, and hereafter live in good friendship with your minister; the Word of the Lord is a searching word, and it seems as if it had found you out!"

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