Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-18
Our Lord’s Prophesies the Re-Creation of His Church
There is a very significant verse just after the fall that the rest of the Bible unfolds. It is the place where God curses the serpent and says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise [or crush] your head, and you shall bruise his heal” (Genesis 3:15). From the beginning of the Church’s history, her Teachers have understood this verse to be the protoevangelium, or the first prophecy of the good news that one day the seed of the woman (Christ) would conquer the devil. The rest of the Bible is the unfolding of this divine plan.
Today, we read where Jesus revealed another development in that plan. The Jewish nation of his day was the creation of Almighty God through the loins of Abraham, the account of which people begins in Genesis 12 and the history of which people spans the Old Testament. It was the ancient Hebrews, then called Israelites, then called the Jews, that the Lord gave his laws, ordinances, the covenant, and the rest. They were to be a light to the Gentiles, a people proclaiming by example the excellencies of the Lord. But, as Jesus indicates in this parable, they failed. And why did they fail? As with all of us, through disobedience, which we have seen of them throughout our Lord’s ministry in the gospels. But then there is an even greater reason that harkens back to the mystery of God’s inscrutable will, which Paul explains to us: “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way, all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:25-26). This was all God’s plan, and we can only marvel.
So here, Jesus relates a parable that explains just this. The parable is the story of Israel’s disobedience to the Law (not rendering the owner his fruits), killing of the prophets (the servants sent by the owner to retrieve the fruits), and finally killing the Son of God (the son sent by the owner to do the same). Therefore, the Kingdom will be taken away from those tenants and given to other tenants producing its fruits; that is, the Church, made up of all the nations, Jew and Gentile, God’s plan to begin with (Genesis 3:15). Thus, the Jews have not been rejected but incorporated into a new Kingdom (Romans 11:1-6). We are not qualified to question God (Romans 9:20). Paul says that “the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). Those who have been born from above understand this: We had to be shown our failure that we may embrace Christ – the One who crushed the serpent’s head for us.