“A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Mark 12:1-11
Listening to Jesus’s parable, we cannot help but feel anger (and disbelief?) at the tenants’ cruelty, violence, and warped thinking. We cry out for justice for all the servants they mistreated and killed. The final blow is their murder of the beloved son. It is all unfair and undeserved! But then Jesus says, this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. How can this be? When we step higher and see the long view- the servants as prophets, and the heir as Jesus- we see that their rejection of both precipitated the satisfaction of perfect justice on the cross. The heinous suffering was not for naught.
What is mysterious and sometimes even seems mistaken to us is indeed marvelous when it comes through the hand of God. What we would reject as wrong and agonizing, He establishes for eternal purposes that outlast, and are far better than, our ways of thinking. We face ravaging illness, innocent suffering, untimely death, and cannot see beyond the present and suffocating emotion. We are broken by destructive or fractured relationships, and cannot see any way for redemption and healing. We hit roadblocks in life and career plans and wonder that any good can come.
Enter our gracious Lord. Have you not read the Scripture? Our Savior was rejected by men, and through that very rejection and condemnation and anguish, carried all of it, and all that causes us horror and pain, to Calvary, for us. Because He suffered and died, we can live free and forgiven forever as part of the church of which He is Cornerstone. Now that is His marvelous doing! (Isaiah 53:3-12)
With what are we struggling? A grief or deep sorrow? Rejection, loneliness, despondency, or fear? It is difficult for eyes filled with tears to see clearly, yet for these present agonies to become marvelous in our eyes, we need to rise up and see God’s long view, with an eternal perspective. His way is perfect. (Psalm 18:30)
Lord, grant me the understanding and faith to believe that even heartbreaking hardship is Your doing, and the eyes to see Your sovereign will as marvelous.