A man once planted a vineyard
And built a high wall all around;
He leased it out to some tenants
Who paid rent when the harvest was done.
Every year at the end of the harvest,
When the tenants had money in hand,
The owner sent round a servant
To collect the fair share he was due.
But the tenants were selfish and stubborn;
They balked at the small debt they owed–
Till one year they beat up the servant
And said that they’d no longer pay.
The vineyard owner was patient,
But insisted the debt must be paid.
He sent one servant after another;
Each was battered and beaten or killed.
When the owner had no more servants,
He sent his own dear son instead.
But the tenants murdered him also
And thought the whole debt issue dead.
But some of the tenants were sorry
For the way they’d mistreated the son.
When they begged the father’s forgiveness,
He told them their whole debt had been paid.
The day and hour are soon coming
When the rest of the tenants will pay,
And the owner will have satisfaction:
Death to all who reject his son still.
The words to this song are based on Jesus’s parable of the tenants–Mark 12:1-12:
1 Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.
6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
9 “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:
“‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
11 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.
Throughout the Old Testament, God sent prophets to warn His people of the simple debt they owed Him: their love, loyalty, and obedience. Yet His people tended not only to reject the prophets, but to beat and even kill some of them. Like the vineyard owner in the parable, God finally sent His Own Son to collect the debt His people owed Him. And like tenants in the parable, they ultimately killed the Owner’s Son and thought all was well.
I used the word “satisfaction” in the sense of “satisfying a debt.” That is, squaring it away.
God forgives those who repent. Their repentance satisfies their debt to Him. People who continue to reject Him will find that death is the only acceptable payment for their continued rejection of His Son.
I hope your debt is satisfied. All comments are welcome.
Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.
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Links you might be interested in:
- Roger’s other blog, On Aging Gracelessly
- Roger’s website, RogerBruner.com
- Roger’s free Christian lead sheets
- Roger’s books on Amazon