Tim Keller | August 28, 1994
In Luke 20:9-19, the parable of the wicked tenants reveals how our hearts can hide feelings and attitudes that affect our actions. Today’s psychology talks about hidden feelings like attraction or self-dislike, but the Bible points to a deeper hidden feeling: a secret anger towards God. The story shows this through how the religious leaders reacted to Jesus, and it highlights three important relationships: the tenants with the owner, the messengers, and the son.
1. The tenants’ relationship to the owner
The tenants in the vineyard parable show how important it is to be good caretakers and to see God’s hand in everything. The story shows the struggle between our wish to be in charge and the often ignored need to admit that there is a higher power. If we don’t accept that we are like those tenants and resist the idea of a greater force, it can lead to confusion and trouble.
2. The tenants’ relationship to the messengers
The part of the story where the owner sends messengers who get treated badly reminds us of the risk of ignoring God’s Word and choosing our own ideas and traditions instead. It also shows God’s kindness in giving us many chances to see how much we need Him, through different messengers like parents, friends, church activities, and things that happen in our lives. The important question is whether we listen to these messengers or ignore them, and if we are ready to let God be in control.
3. The tenants’ relationship to the son
Resisting God’s control is something we all do, and it can show up as hidden anger, doubts, or wanting to be in control. This resistance can even make us more religious, as we use being good to stay in control and avoid admitting God’s authority. But because of Jesus’ sacrifice, God has made peace with us, and acknowledging this sacrifice is the key to stop denying, let go of control, and base our lives on trust and surrender to God.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
February Book Offer