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From Heaven With Love

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    Priests and Rulers Silenced

    Baffled and disappointed, scribes, priests, and rulers all stood with lowering brows, not daring to press further questions on Christ. The people stood by, amused to see these proud, self-righteous men defeated.HLv 395.3

    All these sayings and doings of Christ were important, and their influence was to be felt in an ever-increasing degree after His crucifixion and ascension. Many were finally to become His disciples, first drawn by His words on that eventful day. The contrast between Jesus and the high priest as they talked together was marked. The proud dignitary of the temple was clothed in rich and costly garments. Upon his head was a glittering tiara, his bearing majestic, his hair and beard silvered by age. Before this august person stood the Majesty of heaven, without adornment or display, His garments travel-stained, His face pale, expressing a patient sadness. Yet written there were dignity and benevolence. Many who witnessed the words and deeds of Jesus in the temple from that time enshrined Him in their hearts as a prophet of God. But as the popular feeling turned in His favor, the hatred of the priests toward Jesus increased.HLv 395.4

    It was not Christ's purpose to humiliate His opponents. He had an important lesson to teach. The acknowledged ignorance of His enemies in regard to John's baptism gave Him opportunity to speak, presenting before them their real position, and adding another warning to the many already given:HLv 396.1

    “What think ye?” He said. “A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whither of them twain did the will of his father?”HLv 396.2

    This abrupt question threw His hearers off their guard. They immediately answered, “The first.” Fixing His steady eye on them, Jesus responded in stern and solemn tones: “Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”HLv 396.3

    The priests and rulers could not but give a correct answer to Christ's question, and thus He obtained their opinion in favor of the first son, who represented the publicans. When John came, preaching repentance and baptism, the publicans received his message and were baptized.HLv 396.4

    The second son represented the leading men of the Jewish nation who would not acknowledge that John came from God. They “rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” Luke 7:30. Like the second son, the priests and rulers professed obedience, but acted disobedience.HLv 396.5

    The priests and rulers remained silent. But Christ said: “Hear another parable. There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?”HLv 397.1

    The priests and rulers answered, “He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” The speakers now saw that they had pronounced their own condemnation. As the husbandmen were to return to the lord a due proportion of the fruits of the vineyard, so God's people were to honor Him by a life corresponding to their sacred privileges. But as the husbandmen had killed the servants whom the master sent to them for fruit, so the Jews had put to death the prophets whom God sent to call them to repentance.HLv 397.2

    Thus far the application of the parable could not be questioned, and in what followed it was no less evident. In the beloved son whom the lord of the vineyard finally sent to his disobedient servants, and whom they seized and slew, the priests and rulers saw a distinct picture of Jesus and His impending fate. In the retribution inflicted on the ungrateful husbandmen was portrayed the doom of those who should put Christ to death.HLv 397.3

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