Matthew 21:33-46 (The Parable of the Wicked Tenants, Part 8)

Consider again the remorse that at various instances after the fact must have panged those who confronted Jesus and heard this parable and yet because of the political expedience of the circumstances carried out exactly what He said they would do to Him.  Because the truth, like light, is self-evident so it is not easily denied, by what means do the wicked attempt to suppress such thoughts that twinge their conscience?  See 2Pe 3:5 in the NIV, KJV, or NAS text note.  What does this help us to understand about why drug and alcohol abuse as well as other forms of self-deception are so prevalent in our world, and why people so harden their hearts against the light and hope against all hope that the lie they believe in must be true against all rational evidence to the contrary?  Think: if the consequences of being wrong are unthinkable, what must people do to keep from thinking about them?  Can any sort of self-delusion ever be a good thing, whether individually or collectively?  Think: where only can it lead when people refuse to acknowledge the undeniable reality of where their choices are leading them and not only willfully ignore, but unplug the warning signals of conscience that God has given them for their preservation?  What does this help us to understand about the deeper danger of drug and alcohol abuse to an entire society where it is prevalent?  Think: how much worse must a nation be when instead of facing the fearful consequences of their sin—which fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom that would lead to repentance and true deliverance—its people delude themselves instead?  Again, where only can it lead?  In what way has people’s dependence today upon even legal drugs resulted in the same self-delusion?  In what way is the self-deception of rabid evolutionists, atheists, feminists, abortionists, and homosexuals similar to the effects of those who abuse drugs and alcohol?  See Isa 19:13-14, 29:9-10, 63:6, Jer 25:15-16,27-28, 51:7.  In what way has that same spirit of drunken stupor overtaken our entire nation in regard to its profligacy?  What does this teach us about the self-destructive nature and downward spiral of resisting the truth and hardening our hearts?  What does it again teach us about the necessity of embracing the truth with a broken spirit and contrite heart as the only means of salvation?

How might the thoughts of the religious leaders have been alarmed as judgment was completely overtaking them in 70 a.d. when the armies of Rome surrounded Jerusalem and eventually utterly destroyed both it and the temple?  Cf. 1Sa 3:11-14, 4:10-18.  Consider that no matter how much a person or nation may harden their hearts against the truth and delude themselves, eventually they must come face to face with the truth that can no longer be denied.  Eventually they must have an epiphany (lit., a shining upon), as the light of the truth, the very presence of Christ who is the embodiment of light and truth, more brilliant than the flaming fire of ten thousand suns, scatters every shadow of their darkness and deception as they face the reality and consequences of their sinful rebellion; cf. 2Th 1:7-9, 2:8, Psa 44:3, 94:1.  Again, in that day and for all eternity, what remorse, what weeping and gnashing of teeth, must be theirs for so willfully denying what was undeniable and for so stubbornly resisting the irresistible truth?

What does the terrifying epiphany that the religious leaders sought to suppress but must eventually have overtaken them teach us about how important it is to never harden our hearts in such manner?  See Heb 3:7-8,15, 4:6-7.  Whenever we feel that twinge of conscience as God’s Spirit convicts us of sin and righteousness and judgment (Joh 16:8), should we delude ourselves from fear of the just consequences of our sins that we cannot be wrong, or should we rather embrace the truth, humble ourselves and confess that God is just and that we are sinners, and plead His mercy and grace and forgiveness?  Should we ever add to our sins by denying them or deceive ourselves that they are not as serious as they are or that the circumstances justify them?  Although God may test our hearts by such circumstances, is there any such temptation we may face for which God will not provide some means of escape?  See 1Co 10:13.  How then should we regard the patience of the Lord as His just wrath tarries and His judgment has not yet fallen?  See 2Pe 3:3-10,14-15, Rom 2:4-5.  What examples do we have that even for those whom we might suppose are beyond any hope of salvation the Lord is yet full of mercy and ready to forgive if they will but humble their hearts and repent?  See 2Ch 33:1-17, Act 9:1-22, 1Ti 1:15-17; cf. Exo 34:6-7, Num 14:18-19, Psa 78:36-38, 86:5,15, Joe 2:11b-14.

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