“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
Matthew 21: 43 – 46
Jesus had been teaching and teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven in the intense time as he approached his trial and death. He was in the centre of Jerusalem, in the temple, in the heart of Jewish life, with people all around him from all over the world. Jews and God-fearing people from everywhere, were hearing the Lord proclaim that the Kingdom of God was coming, but that it was not what they had been taught to expect. He tells a series of parables about the Kingdom, and they’re particularly directed towards the religious people around him – the priests and the Pharisees. You can imagine that he was desperate for them to believe, to see, to understand, but they didn’t. So, in the end, he says ‘the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to others’. How tragic, how heart-breaking for him and for them.
This is one of the mysteries of our faith – we can shut God out. We have been given such freedom of choice and life, that we can ignore the Creator of the universe. He can see what will come of our shutting him out, but He won’t stop us from doing it.
Prayer: Beloved Lord, thank you that you taught, and taught, and continue to teach us, always open to us even when we turn away from you and shut you out. King and Master, Creator God, thank you for the freedom of will you have given us. Help us to use it to turn to you, we pray, and turn again to you. Every time we turn away, give us grace to turn back into your ever-open arms. Amen
Action: try to be conscious of when you turn away from God, whether in small things or large ones, and catch yourself, pause, and open your heart and mind again to God.