‘Only By Grace’
a series of reflections for Easter in the form of monologues by Judas Iscariot
This series of reflections take a different stance on grace than you may have experienced previously – this is grace through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Written as a dramatic presentation, these posts during holy week 2017 are adapted from the original script. If you are joining part way through the journey, do head back to the introduction before continuing with the actual monologues.
PART 4 – A STORY OF GOD’S GRACE
We didn’t stay in the city, instead Jesus choose to sleep in a village by the Mount of Olives. Each morning, Jesus would go into town and join with the festival crowds, we’d follow as he’d make his way towards the magnificent temple. Being there made me wonder how long it would be before the Rabbi’s new temple would be built?
There were stones lying around which the builders had rejected. Jesus picked one up and began to sing one of the psalms ‘The stone that the builders tossed aside is now the most important stone of all.’
I wouldn’t have guessed but Jesus began to tell a story, a story I know now was about grace…
There was once as a landowner who planted a vineyard. He wanted grapes to grow so he could make some fine wine. He called in the builders to make a strong wall right around his land to keep the vineyard safe. He got his men to dig a ditch to keep out the wild animals. He even prepared a great vat in which they could collect the grapes once they’d grown, to crush them for the juice to make the wine. This was his own vineyard; his special place. Finally, he had one more building put up. On the edge of the vineyard he built a great tower, a watchtower to make sure no enemies came to steal the grapes. He did everything possible to make sure of a good harvest. But then the landowner had to go on a journey. So he left some hired servants to look after the vineyard in his absence. But he had to be away longer than he planned and he couldn’t be there when the harvest time came. The landowner sent some messengers to go and bring back a share of the harvest so he could at least taste the fine grapes that he had planted. When those messengers arrived at the vineyard, the hired servants decided that they would not give up what they’d been looking after. They wanted the vineyard for themselves. Instead of giving the messengers some of the harvest, they told them to go away. They beat them up, chased them away and sent them packing. When the owner got to hear what was happening, he sent some more messengers but they too were badly treated. They even killed one of the messengers and threw stones at the others so that none dared go near the vineyard. Every group that the owner sent was treated in the same terrible way.
Finally, the owner decided to send his own son to the vineyard. They won’t dare to treat him badly, he thought. They will respect him. They will hand over some of the grapes to him so he can bring them back to me. When the hired servants saw the son coming, they began to plot. This is the owner’s son, they thought. It will all be his one day. But, if we got rid of him, then the vineyard could truly be ours. So they ganged up on him. They grabbed him. They dragged him outside the vineyard
The crowds near Jesus gasped but he continued with a question “When the owner of that vineyard comes, what do you suppose he will do to those tenants?” Many suggested they should be put to death – you’re right, they deserve to be put to death, the vineyard doesn’t belong to the likes of them. They have rejected the owner’s only son.
The stone that the builders tossed aside is now the most important.