Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 17
Friday in Second Week of Lent
“Bear fruit that keeps with the kingdom”
Authority has become an unpleasant word in our day and age, hasn’t it? We don’t like to think that anyone has authority over us. But this isn’t a new cultural phenomenon. When the chief priests demand of Jesus “by what authority are you doing these things?” (Mt 21:23), Jesus responds with today’s parable of the wicked tenants. Notice how this parable has many of the same plot elements as Joseph and his brothers—an innocent son is betrayed by his peers, because they couldn’t stand him. And just like the chief priests and the Pharisees betray Jesus because they can’t submit to his authority, Joseph’s brothers betray him because Joseph’s dreams are about them submitting to his authority (Gen 37:5-11). But there are some authorities we like, don’t we? The authority of oncologists to administer radiation; the authority of pilots to safely land an airplane; the authority of firefighters to rescue us from a burning building. If it’s a question of life and death, we have no qualms submitting to these experts. But if Jesus died and rose and conquered sin and death, are we willing to submit to his authority regarding sin? The chief priests didn’t, and the kingdom of God was taken away from them. Theirs is a cautionary tale that provokes us to ask ourselves, “Are we going to bear fruit in keeping with the kingdom?”
Grant, O Lord, that as thy Son Jesus Christ prayed for his enemies on the cross, so we may have grace to forgive those who wrongfully or scornfully use us, that we ourselves may be able to receive thy forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.