Luke – Wide Open Doors!
“Undercover Boss” is a show that depicts CEO’s of chain businesses going undercover to their own stores in various locations, doing various jobs around the store while interacting with the employees. Depending on the employee’s impression, it will prove to the boss how important the job is to them. Originally, the show was created in response to corporate distrust, as echoed in the introduction of the first two seasons.
Each episode features a high-positioned executive or the owner of a corporation going undercover as an entry-level employee in his or her own company. The executive changes appearance and assumes an alias and fictional back-story. The fictitious explanation for the accompanying camera crew is that the executive is being filmed as part of a documentary about entry-level workers in a particular industry.
They spend approximately one week undercover, working in various areas of the company’s operations, with a different job and in most cases a different location each day. The boss is exposed to a series of predicaments with amusing results and invariably spends time getting to know selected company employees, learning about their professional and personal challenges.
At the end of the undercover week, the boss returns to his or her true identity and calls in the selected employees to the corporate headquarters. The boss rewards hardworking employees through campaign, promotion, material, and/or financial rewards. Other employees are given training or better working conditions.
Tears flood (oh, is that just me?) when employees who served well are rewarded beyond their wildest dreams.
Mm, isn’t that close to what Jesus is talking about in our next passage? Jesus, Son of God, did not go undercover. He was who He said He was while walking the earth, seeking and saving the lost, restoring hope to the hopeless, healing the sick, serving instead of being served and yet the religious elite only saw the importance of themselves. They did not recognize the One they had been waiting for as Messiah because their blinded eyes to Truth stopped looking. They were no longer servants of God but people who wanted to be served, to be gods seeking power, position and prestige. They cheated people charging temple taxes beyond what the people could afford in order to line their own pockets.
So, they had no respect for Jesus. They criticized Him, refuted his authority and plotted to kill Him. They forgot God. Left God. When reminded of God by His One and Only Son, their hardened hearts, closed minds and sick souls plotted to kill the One sent from the Father.
“I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.”
But they did not.
Luke 20, New Living Translation
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
One day as Jesus was teaching the people and preaching the Good News in the Temple, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 2 They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”
3 “Let me ask you a question first,” he replied. 4 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?”
5 They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. 6 But if we say it was merely human, the people will stone us because they are convinced John was a prophet.” 7 So they finally replied that they didn’t know.
8 And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Parable of the Evil Farmers
9 Now Jesus turned to the people again and told them this story: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and moved to another country to live for several years. 10 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers attacked the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. 11 So the owner sent another servant, but they also insulted him, beat him up, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 A third man was sent, and they wounded him and chased him away.
13 “‘What will I do?’ the owner asked himself. ‘I know! I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.’
14 “But when the tenant farmers saw his son, they said to each other, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ 15 So they dragged him out of the vineyard and murdered him.
“What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do to them?” Jesus asked. 16 “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.”
“How terrible that such a thing should ever happen,” his listeners protested.
17 Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this Scripture mean?
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.’
18 Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”
19 The teachers of religious law and the leading priests wanted to arrest Jesus immediately because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the people’s reaction.
THINK ABOUT IT…
Jesus had already told the Twelve to expect conflict and suffering when they arrived in the Holy City. “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day” (Luke 9:22). Jesus knew fully what was coming, and He was not afraid.
They challenged Him because He had cleansed the temple and called them “thieves.” They tried to catch Him in His words so they could trump up some charge against Him and have Him arrested as an enemy of the state.
But there was more to this series of questions than mere guile. The word translated “rejected” in Luke 9:22 (and also Luke 20:17) means “to reject after investigation.” It was required that the Jews carefully examine the Passover lambs from the tenth day to the fourteenth day to make sure they had no blemishes (Ex. 12:1–6). Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), was watched and tested by His enemies during that final week, and yet in spite of what they saw and learned, they rejected Him.
However, Jesus was also examining them! For as they questioned Him, He questioned them, and their responses revealed the ignorance, hatred, and unbelief of their hearts.
In this parable, Jesus illustrated the insidious nature of sin: the more we sin, the worse it becomes.The tenants started off beating some of the servants and wounding others, but they ended up becoming murderers! The Jewish leaders permitted John the Baptist to be killed, they asked for Jesus to be crucified, and then they themselves stoned Stephen.
They sinned against the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and that was the end of God’s witness to them. It is a serious thing to reject the message of God and the messengers of God (see John 12:35–43; Heb. 2:1–4).
Do we reject/disrespect God by our behavior?
Do we seek power and prestige over being a servant of God?
Lord, examine my heart. See if there is anything offensive to you in me. Cleanse my heart. Restore the joy of YOUR salvation in my soul. Renew a right Spirit of pure, holy motivation in me that comes from you and returns to You. To you be the glory, honor and praise! You are God and i am not.
In Jesus Name, Amen