The Vineyard revisited

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I was thinking about this text this A.M. Jesus spoke the parable in the context of being questioned by the religious leaders at the temple. They wanted to know who had given him the authority to speak and teach as he did. We know that Jesus threw the question right back at them by asking about John’s baptism. When they would not reply, Jesus proceeded:
Luk 20:9 He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time.
Luk 20:10 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
Luk 20:11 He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed.
Luk 20:12 He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.
Luk 20:13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’
Luk 20:14 “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’
Luk 20:15  So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?
Luk 20:16 He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”
We know that Jesus directed this to the leaders. Luke wrote in verse 19, “The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them.”
One of the things that modern evangelicals in particular like to do is appropriate scripture and try to apply a literalist interpretation to the world and culture today. In the case of this text, I’ve heard preachers and teachers state that the tenants can be represented today by those who are outside of the church, as they understand it. This would equate to the government, gays and lesbians, pro-choice advocates, or any other person or organization that they choose to anathematize. But, in the parable Jesus was addressing the religious leaders. Those who had set up their religious sensibilities to exclude anyone who believed, practiced, or tried to understand Torah in any way other than their particular party line. 
I think that a refreshing way to look at this text would be to challenge the so-called religious leaders to see that Jesus was seeking justice and righteousness in them. That the marginalized in our culture are not who he is speaking to. He is speaking to the people who dismiss and disregard the poor, hungry, homeless, gays and lesbians, handicapped, and I could go on listing others. Jesus came a redefined who is accepted…and who should be accepted by God. Who are called to take on Jesus’ yoke. Who have no voice of their own.

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