Last of All, He Sent His Son
We have God's forgiveness through His Son.
A light bulb
"The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son,' he said. "But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.' So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Matthew 21:35-39 (NIV)
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Electric lights are so common today that we never even give them a thought. If I were changing a light bulb and I dropped one and broke it, I wouldn't worry about it. I would just go and get another one. That hasn't always been true.
I heard a story about when Thomas Edison was working to invent this crazy contraption called a "light bulb." It took a whole team of men working for twenty-four hours to put just one light bulb together. The story goes that when Edison's team was finished with one light bulb, he gave it to a young boy to carry upstairs. Step by step he carefully carried it, afraid that he might drop this priceless piece of work. You can probably guess what happened; the poor boy dropped the bulb at the top of the stairs. It took the team of men twenty-four more hours to make another bulb. Finally, tired and ready for a break, Edison was ready to have his bulb carried upstairs. He gave it to the same young boy who dropped the first one. That's true forgiveness. Mr. Edison gave the boy another chance!1
God offers that same kind of forgiveness. He offers man a second chance -- and a third!
Jesus told a story about a man who owned some land. He planted some grapes on the land and then rented it to some other men to take care of it for him while he was away.
When it came time to harvest the crop, the landowner sent some of his servants to collect his share of the harvest. The men who had leased the land beat the man's servants and even killed one of them. They refused to give the landowner what was due him.
A second time the landowner sent his servants to collect what was due to him. Once again the servants were treated the same way.
Finally, the landowner sent his own son to the tenants. He thought surely they would listen to his own son. But when they saw the son, they said, "This is the landowner's son, let's kill him and take his inheritance."
Jesus asked the men listening to his story, "What do you think the landowner will do to those men?"
"He will destroy those wicked men, and rent his land to someone else, who will give him his share of the fruit at harvest time" answered his listeners.
In this story that Jesus told, the landowner was God. God first sent men such as Noah, Moses, David, the prophet Isaiah, and others to tell the people of his love for them and to call them to turn from their wicked ways, but many would not listen. Finally, he sent His own Son, Jesus. You know what they did to him, don't you? That's right, they crucified him. God gave them a chance. He even gave them a second chance -- and a third. But when they rejected His Son, that was their last chance. He is our last chance too -- he is our only chance.
Dear Father, we thank you for sending us Jesus, your only Son. Help us to remember that he is our only chance to receive eternal life. Amen.
1. James Newton, Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel and Charles Lindbergh, 1989, p.22.