Manage episode 378206351 series 3023172
The Searching Landowner
Jesus is talking about the kingdom of God today. What does the kingdom of God look like?
Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a landowner.
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. (Matthew 20:1)
A landowner who went out early in the morning That's what the kingdom of God is like.
The kingdom of God is like the landowner who is searching. He was searching from early in the morning. But not just in the morning, he was searching all day.
When he went out again about noon and about three o'clock, he did the same. And about five o'clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, Why are you standing here idle all day? (Matthew 20:5, 6)
That's what the kingdom of God is like. God who searches for us. A woman who searches for the lost coin. A father who searches for the lost son.
That is what our God is like.
This is what Christianity is all about. This is the core of our faith. Jesus, God's son, came in human form, to search for those who are lost.
We can see this in Jesus' parable of the lost sheep very clearly. This story comes out two chapters before today's story.
What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. (Matthew 18:12, 13)
You will never be left alone abandoned. Because there is God who searches for you. We will not be lost.
My friends, we don't always walk on a right path. We don't always walk straight. Sometimes we wander. Sometimes, we get lost.
When I was a child, I went to this palace called in Seoul. At that time, there was a zoo in the palace. So many people. So crowded.
I went with my mother and I got lost. I followed balloons and after a while, I realized that I was all alone in the crowd. My mother wasn't there. I looked around everywhere and I couldn't see my mom. The feeling of panic I got at that time is still vivid to me. But soon, I saw my mother who was searching everywhere to find me.
God Searches for His People
Life is not always good. It doesn't matter how hard you try, sometimes things don't work out. Even the most capable people can fall.
The prophet Isaiah knew about this very well. So he said,
Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted. (Isaiah 40:30)
Even youths will faint. The young will fall exhausted.
Sometimes we see no solution for our problems. We feel that even God cannot help us. We cannot see any clear path to take.
Isaiah knew our troubled heart so well.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God'? (Isaiah 40:27)
But Isaiah did not give up. When there was no hope, when there was no power left in him, and even when he felt that his way was hidden from God, he didn't give up. Because he knew that there was God who would search for him and his people.
Even when Israelites abandoned God and went their own separate ways, God did not abandon his people. And Isaiah knew that.
This was his confession.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
The landowner did not go out to search for the best of the best. He went out at the 11th hour. 11th hour means the one hour before the end of the day. Even at that hour, he went out to look for people.
This is what they said when the landowner asked why they were not working.
Because no one has hired us. (Matthew 20:7)
Nobody wanted them. That is mercy. That is how mercy works in our life. That is what grace is like. That is the kingdom of God. We have to experience this mercy in our lives.
God is not with us only when everything goes well. When you experience difficulties, when you feel powerless and helpless, when you don't know what to do, even then, God is searching for you.
If you can see that, you can see the kingdom of God.
Mend a Broken Society
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners. (Matthew 9:12, 13)
The measure of a society is how it treats its weakest members.
When we have the vision of the kingdom of God, our society will not collapse.
When our society is only filled with competitiveness and when our society is only for those who are capable and powerful, when that society loses the vision of the kingdom of God, it will not be able to sustain. There will a lot of sorrow, frustration, and darkness.
The birth rate of Korea is the lowest in the world. Young couples don't want children. Because there are few jobs they want. Also because there is a high cost of education. They call it Edupoor (Neologism from Education and poor.) 0.78 – well below Japan's 1.26. OECD countries' average: 1.58.
They may have to receive immigration to sustain the economy. Does that society have the infrastructure to be able to accommodate the weak and poor immigrants?
That was what Jesus did. Jesus' whole life was like a metaphor. Metaphor that shows what the kingdom of God is like.
He spent time with those who were rejected and alienated and gave them hope for the new life and a new opportunity. He restored their dignity. They felt loved for the first time.
From the society, they constantly experienced judgment and discrimination. But for the first time, they felt valued.
The Kingdom of God
Most people might have followed Jesus because they saw the miracles he performed. But there were also people who followed Jesus because they experienced what the people who came at the 11th hour experienced. They experienced the kingdom of God.
When Jesus said to Zacchaeus, I would stay at your house, he felt so welcomed and honored because no one wanted to associate with him. So, he gave away all of his possessions. He experienced the kingdom of God.
When Mary felt deep love from Jesus, she poured her most expensive perfume with tears. She experienced the kingdom of God.
When the disciples experienced the kingdom of God, they gave up their lives.
The kingdom of God is hidden to those who think they can handle their lives well on their own, who don't need anybody's help. The kingdom of God is revealed to those who desperately need God's help. The kingdom of God is not what we can create for ourselves.
The kingdom of God is a gift given to us. It is to get a new opportunity to start again even though we have failed. That's why there is joy. That's why there is gratitude. People who experienced the kingdom of God live with joy and thankfulness.
The fact that they worked at the vineyard was by the grace of the owner. On top of that, receiving a full day's wage was also the grace that they received. Especially people who came one hour before knew that clearly. To them, 1 denarion was not a wage but a gift.
Our life is not a wage but a gift. If you understand that, your life will be brightened up.
When you are down, depressed When you feel that nothing goes well in your life You are not alone. Remember: God is searching for you. Don't forget that.