For 400 years, no one heard a single word from God. Not even a whisper of a clue was given.
A cold case is when the trail of evidence has vanished and a detective’s search comes to a dead end. The once-obvious clues and tips abruptly stop.
That’s what happened in the Bible. The once-hot hunt for the Messiah turned ice cold.
For thousands of years clues about the Messiah were blatantly obvious, like bread crumbs sprinkled along the path. Those who believed in Him and waited anxiously on His arrival felt they were getting warmer and warmer, closer and closer. Then suddenly, silence.
Then, on the darkest of days, an angel broke the canopy of space and announced, “This shall be a sign for you.” For the few who the angels addressed, the clues began to connect like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle.
But Bethlehem was so obscure. No one was looking for the Messiah there, of all places. For the next three decades the answer to the Messiah mystery was walking around in plain sight, and no one even knew.
When Jesus of Nazareth turned thirty years old, He began giving clues, connecting the dots between all the clues God had given in the Old Testament. He was saying, YES! I’m the one who you’ve been waiting for all this time! I am God’s answer to everything that is broken. I am the promised Messiah!
In solving any mystery, what a person says about himself is always considered key evidence. Jesus told lots of stories—which were full of clues—clues that were, closer and closer, warmer and warmer, even burning hot.
Here is an important story in Matthew 21 about two kinds of grapes. “There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country” (v.33).
In this story, the master owns the vineyard and he does the work to plant the vines and ensure they produce good fruit. He employs tenants who water the vines and pull the weeds. The Master of the vineyard is God. He created the earth, created people, and then planted them to tend the earth and to live for Him.
“When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them.”
Remember that the fruit belongs to the Master, God, because He owns the whole earth. The people who work for and came on the Master’s behalf are the servants. This is a clue. The servants were those sent to serve God in the Old Testament, His prophets.
“Finally the master sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”
Did you catch the clue? The tenants killed the master’s son. Since God is the master, the son is Jesus. By killing Him they thought they would be in charge, but there is a deeper mystery still at work. Jesus was talking about something that was soon to unravel. His innocent death at the hands of power-hungry mankind was imminent.
As Holy Week begins soon, on Palm Sunday, the remembrance of Jesus’ gruesome death is upon us too. So as you finish Lent, begin preparing your house and your heart to celebrate the greatest miracle, the pinnacle event of all time, Resurrection Day! Plan a grand party for your family or your neighborhood or your church. There is no greater moment for all who believe in Jesus than His resurrection. Make this Resurrection Day reflect the majesty of the Messiah, our hope of eternal glory!
Our Father in heaven, You are the Master and we are your vineyard, your children. Loving parent that You are we thank You that you want us to produce sweet flavorful fruit that brings You and others joy. But like the wicked tenants we, too, treat Your Son badly. We do not deserve Your favor. Yet Your arms are always open to welcome us, and so we come to You and we say, help us follow Your ways, graft us into Jesus, make us fruitful vines. Thank You that when we come, in Your presence we find peace and rest.
Because of Jesus, Whose victory we will soon celebrate.