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Rob God, pay the price. Luke 20.9-16

Luke 20 (2)

Pray Psalm 52.1, 2.
Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The goodness of God endures continually.
Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.

Sing Psalm 52.1, 2.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Why do the mighty boast in sin? God’s love endures, it knows no end!
They with their tongues vain boasts repeat, and like a razor, work deceit.

Read Luke 20.1-16; meditate on verses 9-16.

1. Who is the “certain man” in this parable?

2. Who are the wicked servants?

We note to begin with that it is the “chief priests and scribes” (v. 19) who objected to the idea that the “certain man” would return and destroy them for dealing so treacherously with him, his servants, and his son. Jesus is coming again. When He does, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord (Phil. 2.5-11). But not every bowed knee or confessing tongue will be doing so gladly and lovingly. And those who yet rebel against Him can expect the same fate Jesus set forth in this parable. They chose to reject Him all their lives, and when He returns, they shall have what they always wanted.

We must pray for the lost, weep for their danger, and bear witness to the grace of God in Jesus.

The parable is about expectations, what God expects of those to whom He shows so much grace and patience. So it brings forward all that we saw from Luke 19. The grace of God reaches to all people, that all might give Him thanks and praise (2 Cor. 4.15). He does good even to His enemies (Matt. 5.45-48) so that His good works will bear witness to His faithfulness and love (Acts 14.17) and encourage people to seek Him (Acts 17.24-27). The love of God for all people endures (Ps. 52.1), even though many of them refuse to acknowledge Him, take advantage of His grace, and would, if they could, take all glory to themselves and be done with God (Rom. 1.18-32).

Even when God showed the most amazing, the clearest, and the most convincing evidence of His grace by sending Jesus to the world, those who hate God determined to destroy Him and rob God of His glory. Our duty is to give God the fruit of obedience by keeping His Word, praising and thanking Him daily, and bearing witness to the world concerning His grace. Every day God is seeking “some of the fruit” which He expects. Let us so labor as to always have something of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit to offer Him.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The anguish of this story is palpable. Jesus is telling a story about Himself, about His heavenly Father, and about being despised, rejected, and killed by those He came to save. “What shall I do?”, the certain man asks.
I know. “I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him” (Lk. 20.13). 

And the guilty said when confronted with this sin, “Certainly not!” (Lk. 20.16)

Thus it always was, and thus it always will be. But hopefully, not with us.

The prophet Samuel confronted King Saul when he was found disobedient. What Saul had been commanded to do, and what he did, were not aligned. He had been told to kill all the livestock of warfare. What he did was keep them alive for himself. Hear his, “Certainly not!” “I have performed the commandment of the LORD”, said Saul. But Samuel responded, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” (1 Sam. 15.13, 14). Caught red-handed.

Then the prophet Nathan came to David with a heart-wrenching story of the theft of a little lamb, a beloved pet, taken cruelly from the family that raised it. This story was told after David had adulterously taken Bathsheba away from her husband, and then had her husband treacherously killed. David’s “Certainly not!”?
“So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!’” And Nathan’s response to David? Ooops. But “You are the man!” (2 Sam. 12.1-7).

“His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin.
He shall die for lack of instruction and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray” (Prov. 5.22, 23).
“The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against the LORD” (Prov. 19.3).

Do we ever have that tendency? To do something disobedient and then blame God for the results?

Or, when confronted through the Word of God for our own sins, do we ever say, “Certainly not!”?
And are we even in the Word of God enough that the Holy Spirit can warn and convict us of sin? (Gen. 4.7)

We might be tempted to think that our sin is not as egregious or outlandish as the chief priests and scribes, but that would be dangerous and cavalier thinking. The Bible clearly says, “So be careful. If you are thinking, ‘Oh, I would never behave like that’—let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin” (1 Cor. 10.12 TLB).

God sent His dear Son to us; shouldn’t we make every effort known to us, to “respect Him when we see Him”? Certainly Yes! It is what Jesus hoped all people would do.

For reflection
1. What “fruit” from His investment is God looking for in you today?

2. What keeps us from bearing consistent fruit in our lives and our Personal Mission Field?

3. What would Jesus tell us if we sought to be more fruitful for Him? How can we become more consistently fruitful for the honor and glory of God?

Awful will be the doom, both of those who reject the Son, and of those who profess to reverence Him, yet render not the fruits in due season. Though they could not but own that for such a sin, such a punishment was just, yet they could not bear to hear of it. It is the folly of sinners, that they persevere in sinful ways, though they dread the destruction at the end of those ways.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 20.9-16

Pray Psalm 52.3-9.
Pray for the lost, all those who scorn the grace of God, and especially those who are in your Personal Mission Field. Call on the Lord to give you joy in serving as His witness and ambassador today.

Sing Psalm 52.3-9.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Men more than good in evil delight, and lies prefer to what is right.
They utter words, both harsh and strong, with their devouring, deceitful tongue.

God will forever break them down, uproot, and cast them to the ground!
He from their safety tears them away, no more to know the light of day.

The righteous see and laugh and fear, and say, “Behold, what have we here?
Such are all who at God conspire, and wealth and evil ways desire.”

But as for me may I be seen in God an olive ever green!
Ever in God, most kind and just, shall I with joy and gladness trust!

Thanks evermore to our Savior be raised! His faithfulness be ever praised!
Here with Your people, loving God, I wait upon Your Name, so good!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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