In the passage surrounding our verse for today (Matthew 21:41), you could say that the chief priests and the Pharisees believed they had a corner on Judaism. They thought they owned it by some sort of squatter’s rights. So much so that when the Messiah showed up they were unwilling to relinquish control to the very Son of God! Ridiculous! Right???
I say ridiculous until I look around at what is happening in our Christian culture today. I come face to face with how the world and modern culture has affected my own thinking, and I realize I have a lot to lose - like my own “squatter’s rights” mentality. Through some form of “squatter’s rights'' we claim ownership of things like our money, our purity, our time and even our children. Here are just a few verses to ponder:
“THE EARTH IS THE LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and YE ARE NOT YOUR OWN? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1 Corithians 6:18-20
“Redeeming the TIME, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye PRESENT YOUR BODIES a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
“Lo, children are an HERITAGE OF THE LORD:” Psalm 127:3a
I was in 8th grade when I claimed my right, to a certain young man. I liked him so, keep away! Then I found out that he did not even know I existed and had set his eyes on a girl named Linda. Now the name Linda means beautiful, and Linda truly lived up to her name. She was beautiful inside and out. But that didn’t stop me from being angry with Linda.
I imagined that she knew, that I liked the young man. She did not. I imagined that she had viciously stolen him from me. She had not. I imagined so many things that, by the end of the day, I was speaking ill of Linda, a beautiful girl, for absolutely no reason at all. In chief-priest-like and pharisaical fashion I hated her without a cause and was ready to deliver her up for envy. Ridiculous! Right?!?
Later in the quiet of that evening I came to the truth. Linda had not done anything wrong. The young man (LOL! I cannot even remember his name!) had a right to like or dislike anyone he chose. And he chose to like Linda.
When we, as Christians, claim squatter’s rights to things like our time, our money, our children and our purity we position ourselves to look utterly ridiculous before God and others. Not only that, we set ourselves up for misery and loss.
“They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” Matthew 21:41
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” Mark 8:35
“Lose” from the Greek word “Apollymi” means “to destroy fully.” It is translated “destroy” in Matthew 21:41, our verse for today.