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October 4th, 2020

Matthew 21:33-46

Pastor Jenny Lee, Ph.D.



  “What Holds Your Life Together?” 

There are two sorts of people in the world. Those who have a dream; and those who do not have a dream. Do you know the difference between those who have a dream and those who do not have a dream? Those who have a dream are vital in daily life and outstanding in confidence. Furthermore, they grow, develop, and evolve toward their dreams every day because their dreams help them to grow.

How about those who do not have a dream? They often lose vitality and confidence in daily life. Furthermore, they might be suffer from depression, addiction, and weakness. Perhaps they look for something to hold their lives together instead of a dream. Most of those who do not have a dream more easily fall into addiction. Take a look at each of your family members. Do they seem to like they have a dream? Ask each other if you have a dream.

You may say, “Well, I had a dream when I was a teenager, in my twenties or thirties, but I don’t know now. Even though I have a dream, what can I do about it?  I am too old to have a dream.” However, remember what your dream was. And, remember how you were vital when you had a dream. I know that most of you hold prayers in God, instead of saying having a dream.

The prophet Joel says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28).  The reason the dreamer is vital is that they hold their dreams in the Holy Spirit. In other words, their dreams and prayers are given by God in the Holy Spirit. I have confidence that your prayers help hold your life together. Your prayers are probably for your children and grandchildren, family, and the kin(g)dom of God. Perhaps you hope that your prayers are your dreams coming into your lives. But, sometimes your dream or your prayers seem like they may never come true. Sometimes your dreams get blocked and don’t come true. But, do not give them up. Even though you gave up your dream or your prayers, God who gave you the dream and prayers, never gives up on you. The Apostle Paul says, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Remember, God gives you your dream and prayers. God will make it happen sooner or later. It’s just a matter of time.

I know a man who had a dream when he was forty. He, one day, saw his country’s people were suffering in an unjust system. He wanted to help them, and he was vital and confident toward his dream to help the people under the exploited system. However, mistakenly he became a murderer while he tried to help the weak. He became afraid and ran away. He lost his dream and became a fugitive. He gave up being a leader who could help the weak. He lived in a rural area as a shepherd without any vitality day by day in a boring life. One day, he met God in a burning bush. He restored confidence and returned to Egypt to be a leader who could help the weak who were exploited. He was 80 years old. Guess who he was? Yes, he was Moses. Like that, even though we give up our dreams, God never gives up our dreams and prayers because God may still be working on them. It’s just a matter of time. Remember, your dreams and prayers hold your life together in God because the prayers are the breath of the spirit to connect with God.

Those who have a dream shine because they are vital and outstanding in confidence. The dreamers sometimes have trouble with enemies who are jealous of them. I know the One who had a dream about the kingdom of God. His name is Jesus Christ. He was shining all the time. His dream about the kingdom of God held his life together. He perhaps was one of the people who had the most enemies throughout the history of the world. His enemies still argue about who Jesus is from two thousand years ago until now.

In today’s scripture, his enemies challenge Jesus Christ, “by what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23). The leaders -the chief priests and the elders of the people- have jealousy of Jesus Christ because they like Jesus and follow him instead of following them. When Jesus was challenged, he gave challenges back to them in the parable stories. Jesus already talked to them about two sons in a parable story. But, they did not accept it, and never changed their minds. So, Jesus tells them another parable. It is about the wicked tenants.

According to the story, “There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other slaves, more than the first; they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘this is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance. So they killed him” (21:33-40). Jesus asked the leaders when the landowner coms back, what will he do to those tenants? They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time” (21:41).

As you may guess, the landowner represents God; his slaves are the prophets God sent; the wicked tenants are the leaders; and the son, of course, is Jesus. The leaders knew that the tenants are wicked, and they will be in a miserable death when the landowner comes back.  However, they did not know that the parable was about them. But, later on, when Jesus talked about the scripture, they realized that he was speaking about them (21:45). The wicked tenants killed the son because they believe that the landowner died, and then the son came instead of the owner. So, they wanted to get his inheritance. It is not usual that the owner sent his son after his slaves were killed. The owner will probably come if he hears that his slaves are killed and punish them. But, this landowner did not come even though his many slaves were killed. Instead, his son arrived. That’s why the wicked tenants regarded that the owner died. In other words, the leaders do not believe in the living God because even though they live in a hypocritical life, nothing happened in their lives. However, God is “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (Psalms 145:8).

The scripture Jesus quoted is from Psalm 118:22-23; “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes?” They knew about the scriptures well because they were teachers and leaders of the people, but they did not know themselves. They were upset with the jealousy and challenge of Jesus. Jesus predicted them that they would throw him out like the stone and kill him. But God will use the stone (Jesus) as the cornerstone of the church and the kingdom of God.

The enemies would think they got victory when Jesus died on the cross. But, God, who gave Jesus the dream about the kingdom of God, raised him from death. Finally, Jesus became the living stone of the church and kingdom of God as the prophecy.

If you have a dream and prayers, sometimes you will have difficulties, obstacles, and enemies around them. Sometimes you feel like that your dream and prayers may never come to true. But do not give up. You may say, ‘well, I pray for my children and family from a long time ago, but it never came into my life.’ But, even though it did not come into your life a long time ago, it will come sooner or a little later. Do not give it up because it holds your life together in God. The God who gave you the dream and prayers will accomplish it in the Lord. As long as you hold the dreams and prayers, you may experience how God works on them. Even though you cannot make things happen, God can make things happen. If your dreams or prayers do not hold your life together, what does? Jesus Christ is the living cornerstone of our life, of the church, and all nations. Hold the Lord in your life together. Thanks be to God. Amen!