The Tenants and the Vineyard

The Tenants and the Vineyard brings the three Pharisees from Galilee, Ezra, Nathan and Obed, to Jerusalem for the Passover. In terms of sequence, it would be helpful if the congregation has already met these three in at least one of the earlier dramas - Matthew, Washing Hands or On the Sabbath Day. Once again, Nathan is the mildest in his opposition to Jesus. We often don't appreciate the friction that existed between different Jewish groups. This particular story told by Jesus certainly served to unite the opposition in their scheming to get rid of him.

Ezra, Nathan and Obed are three Pharisees from Galilee. They have been "keeping an eye" on Jesus for some time now. Now they have followed him to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.
EZRA:Just as well we're here. The local Pharisees have heard about Jesus, but we've got the details.
NATHAN:Right, Ezra! Mighty suspicious when he came into Jerusalem on a donkey!
OBED:But, Nathan, it was more than suspicious when he went into the Temple and turned out the money changers and drove out the birds and animals!
NATHAN:That funny business has worried a few of us, Obed. I wonder that we let the Sadducees get away with it!
EZRA:Careful now, Nathan! As Pharisees we have never got on well with the Sadducees. But together we face a common - er - enemy!
NATHAN:You mean Jesus?
OBED:Hadn't you noticed, Nathan? Have you been checking him out as long as this and failed to hear and see?
EZRA:"I tell you," Jesus says, "the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God ahead of you!"
OBED:That does it!
NATHAN:That was after a curly question from the chief priests and elders. I don't really trust them myself!
OBED:But was it just against them?
EZRA:Quiet! He's going to tell another story.
Reader:Matthew 21.33-43.
OBED:He's talking about us now!
EZRA:I think he was before, too!
NATHAN:I can see you're right! We'll have to join forces with the chief priests after all!
EZRA:He has to be stopped!
OBED:And soon!
Reader:Matthew 21.45-46.

From Between the Lines. Dialogues for Worship by Peter J. Blackburn published by Testimonium Fellowship 1992, © Peter J. Blackburn.
Permission is given for copying of this document for local use with this copyright notice intact. For any other proposed use the specific permission of Peter J. Blackburn must be sought.

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