Saturday, February 20, 2010

Longsuffering and Abundant in Mercy

In the parable of the vineyard (Matthew 21 and Luke 20), the owner of the vineyard sends messengers to his workers. But they refuse to listen. He says, "Surely they will hear my son." But when he sends his son, the workers kill him. The owner will certainly destroy the workers and give the vineyard to others.

Until the last few months, I had never engaged in a really good, deep study of The Acts of the Apostles. As I dug through Acts, one of the things that struck me is how many times God reached out to His people, calling them to repentance, loving them and giving them mercy.

The Jews refused to hear the prophets of the Old Testament and killed many of them. They killed God's Son. But the Father is even more patient than we might expect from the parable. He didn't stomp in and smash His people for killing His Son. Still He sent them prophets. Peter and John preached and were persecuted; Stephen was martyred right away; it wasn't long before James was killed. But still God sent them prophets. When He sent Paul to the Gentiles, Paul always went first to the synagogues, calling the chosen people to repentance, preaching God's love and mercy. But still they persecuted the prophets. They attempted to assassinate Paul. But even after that, it's ten more years before Jerusalem is leveled to the ground.

God gave them forty years [interesting number] after killing His Son.

Psalm 86: But You, o Lord,
are a God full of compassion
and gracious,
and abundant in mercy and truth!

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