What Shall I Do?
I Will Send My Beloved Son
Elder Jeff Winfrey, Pastor
Dawson Springs Primitive Baptist Church
101 East Walnut Street
Dawson Springs, KY 42408
Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.
And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.
So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?
He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written,
The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.
And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Just pause and wonder at those words, I will send my beloved son. And as our minds ponder the words, we might wonder if the words can be applied to someone greater than the lord of the vineyard of the parable. Could these words be the words of the LORD of heaven and earth? May we without going too far allow these words to be words from our Father which art in heaven? Can these words be applied to what God in His grace committed to in the covenant of grace before the foundation of the world? In a sense did the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ at one time ask the question, What shall I do? And then perhaps He answered Himself with the commitment, I will send my beloved Son.
But before we consider these things and for the sake of fairness to God’s word let us briefly describe the context surrounding these words found in Luke 20:13. I never want to take a verse out of its context and try to use it to say something that the Holy Spirit did not intend. So when we look at the setting we find that Jesus spoke the words in the midst of a parable. And it is fairly apparent that Jesus was upbraiding the Jews and condemning their rejection of Him with this parable. This parable was not a hard one to interpret. The Jews apparently saw in the pictures presented in the parable that the lord of the vineyard represented God. They understood that the oft sent and much abused servants represented the prophets of old. And they even knew that the one telling the story was presenting Himself as the beloved Son of God. They likewise realized the meaning of Jesus’ prophecies, as He spoke of the Jew’s rejection and killing of this beloved Son of God that had been sent. And finally they heard His prophecy concerning God’s rejection of the nation of Israel. For the most part the Jews did not understand the meanings of the parables, but it is seen from their reaction that they very well understood the meaning of this one. The passage even declared the same: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them. And it is amazing that they immediately set out to do exactly what He had just prophesied. Upon hearing His words they set a plan into motion whereby they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. I do not believe that they were going to deliver Him to the governor so that He might receive some honor from Rome. They were going to deliver Him to the governor so that He would be crucified. And that is exactly what Jesus had just said concerning them.
Now many things could be and perhaps should be discussed concerning the parable, but the thought that we want from the passage is found in the words, “What shall I do? I will send my beloved son….” (Luke 20:13) The lord of the vineyard faced the rebellion of vile sin. And what should the lord of the vineyard do in response to this sin? And furthermore, since this lord of the vineyard in the parable represents God the Father in heaven, the question becomes a question of what God should do in response to the sinfulness and rebellion of men.
Some might think that God was caught off guard when He sent His Son into the vineyard of this wicked world. But God knew exactly what He was doing when He sent His Son. God knew why He sent His Son. Just as in the parable it is certain from other places in God’s word that the Son of God was sent in response to sin. Listen to these words. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. (Ro 8:3) [Emphasis added.] In this statement two important things are established. First of all, we are again told that God did send His own Son. And secondly, God sent Him for a reason. The verse says that He sent Him for sin or that means because of sin. God looked at sinful man and the sins of sinful man and asked, “What shall I do?” And in answer to His question God replied, “I will send my beloved Son.”
Even at the time that sin entered into the world, God already knew what He would eventually do in response to the sin. God spoke these words to Satan in the Garden of Eden. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15) God’s response to sin at that time was to declare the coming of the Son of God. “What shall I do? I will send my beloved Son.” And that beloved Son did come at God’s appointed time. And the Son’s heel was bruised when the Jews, and the Romans, and ultimately the sins of God’s people shared in the responsibility of nailing the Son of God to the cross and killing Him. But through the bruising of the Son’s heel, the head of Satan received a fatal blow. I suppose that Jesus will for eternity carry the glorious battle scars of those bruised heels from that nails through His feet. From His conversation with Thomas after His resurrection we can be sure that Jesus still had the scars in His hands and in His side. So I assume that the same would be true of His feet. It is to Christ’s glory that He forever lives and bears the battle scars of victory. And it is to the glory of Christ that the eternally bruised head of Satan will anguish forever in torment.
So let me ask you a question. If you had been the lord of this vineyard, what would you have done to these wicked people that had killed your servants? Would you have dared to send your son all alone into such a scene as this? I feel certain that the idea of sending my beloved son would have never crossed my mind. If I had been a powerful lord of that day I might have sent a host of armored soldiers to retake what was mine. If the scene were today I might send the police to apprehend such murderers. And if I were the Father in heaven that was surely represented by the lord of the vineyard in this parable I might have rained fire and brimstone upon the entire scene.
And if we are able to apply the parable to the Lord of heaven, we can be thankful that He did not respond to this situation of sinfulness and rebellion the way I would have. I believe that we have pictured in this parable God’s response to the vileness of rebellious sin and the rejection of His word. To that God asked a question, “What shall I do?” And the answer to His question, “I will send my beloved Son.” And perhaps these same Jews that heard the words of Jesus in this parable would later hear the merciful words of Jesus from the cross when He declared, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Wow! Is that a picture of grace or what?
At this point the scoffer with a lack of understanding might say, “What is the point? All God did was get His Son killed by sending Him. What good did that do? If God is so smart as you say that He is, He would have known better than to do such a thing.” Oh, but the scoffer does not know the rest of the story. In the story of the salvation of sinners God did not decide on the spur of the moment as a reaction to the Jews that He would send His Son. The fact is that God had known and even planned to send His Son before any Jews ever rebelled. The plan to send that beloved Son existed before there were any such things as Jews, or Gentiles, or sin, or rebellion. In a very real sense the question about God’s response to sin was asked before the foundation of the world, when God contemplated the creation of mankind. Before God made man He knew that man would be a rebel. And before man ever sinned and rebelled against God, God knew the answer to the problem of sin and rebellion. And even before the beginning of time God knew the answer to His question, “What shall I do?” In the covenant of grace before time began God declared, “I will send my beloved Son.” What a Father there is in heaven!
And at this point perhaps the scoffer mocks God again by saying, “Well look what sending the Son accomplished. He got killed just like He said He would in the prophecy in the parable.” Oh, I want to tell you that the killing of the Son as He said He would be killed in the prophecy of the parable does not make God a failure. The killing of the Son and the resurrection of that same Son three days later is what makes God the victor. And yes indeed, I will freely admit that the context of the passage is primarily concerned with the rejection of the nation of Israel. But there is still much that is said about our gracious God in the words, “What shall I do? I will send my beloved son….”
As we consider the thought expressed by the words, “What shall I do? I will send my beloved son,” just pause and ponder these tremendous words of prophecy spoken by Isaiah. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. (Isaiah 9:6) [Emphasis added.] Indeed, a child was born, a beloved Son was sent, and a precious Son was given. The thought that God would send His Son to sinners and even give His Son for sinners boggles my mind. It is beyond imagination and almost unbelievable that the all-powerful heavenly Father, who is complete and needs nothing, would willingly give His Son in response to man’s rebellion against Him. Sinners did not deserve the giving of the Son of God. We deserved fire and brimstone. We deserved eternal punishment. But instead of getting what was coming to us, unto us a Son was given. Instead of getting what we deserved, we received the gift of God’s Son in order that He might suffer in our place. Instead of receiving what our wicked works demanded, we received God’s amazing grace.
And please think for a moment about God’s amazing plan of salvation by grace. To the praise of the glory of God’s grace, God gave His Son for sinners. God even delivered His Son into the hands of sinners. And God delivered His Son into sinner’s hands so that those sinners might kill the very Son of God. And finally consider that through the killing of that God-given Son would be God’s way of eternal life even for the sinners that killed Him. What a thought! God gave His Son to save sinners from their sins. And the way the Son of God did it was by being killed; even by being killed by the people He was saving. I do not understand why God designed such a plan. I cannot reason out the concepts of grace. I do not comprehend the God revealed in the Bible, but I sure do like the God of the Bible. And eternity is not long enough to praise such a God and to give glory to such a one that gave His Son to save sinners by grace and only by grace.
Why would God do such a thing as to send His Son to die for sinners? Even those that closely followed Jesus and knew the most about Him struggled with that question. Think about these words from the writings of Matthew. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matthew 16:21-23) Peter questioned God’s perfect plan of salvation and was strongly rebuked for such a thing. But in all honesty, God’s plan to send His beloved Son in order for that Son to be killed in the place of sinners makes us all wonder.
But perhaps we have the answer as to why God sent His Son in the words of Jesus, for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. (John 3:16) Moved by love, God gave the most beloved thing that He had. Because of God’s unexplainable love for those that would seem to be unlovable, He willingly gave the Son that He loved without measure. And it was not our goodness that moved God to give His Son for us. We were vile and seemingly unlovable sinners. Think about Paul’s inspired words, but God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Yes, while we were yet sinners and while we were among those that would have gladly killed the beloved God-sent Son, God commended His love toward us by sending His Son to die for us. What wondrous love is this!
A love like that is beyond my imagination. I cannot fathom giving my son to die for anybody. And I especially cannot visualize giving my son to die for people that by nature would hate both my son and me. As I ponder such a thought I say to myself that I love my son too much to consider such a thing. But then I must admit that God, who is love, surely loves His beloved Son much more deeply and more perfectly than I with a carnal nature could ever love my son. So as I come to the point of trying to understand the extent of God’s love for His Son, and as I confess that God’s love for His Son surely goes beyond any love experienced in this world, the question of why God gave His Son to die for sinners becomes even more difficult to answer.
So I am now back to the question of what motivated God to give His Son to die for someone like me and I again come back to the words of Jesus, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. Surely the love that God had for sinners in a world filled with sin is what motivated God to give His Son. It must be that God, even the same God that loved His Son beyond measure, must have loved a world of sinners as much as He loved His Son. And beyond considering a world of sinners, I ponder and wonder at the love of God personally toward me. As I think of a love for me that would move God to give His beloved Son for me, I am overwhelmed beyond what words can express.
Oh, I try to imagine how much God loves His Son, but I cannot comprehend the depth of such a heavenly love. And I try to grasp the idea that God gave His beloved Son to die for sinners like me, but it is beyond my reasoning to really get a grip on such a thing. And I try to think about such a great love of God for a world of sinners like me, but I am unable to visualize a love that would inspire God to give His much-loved Son. So after much effort, I still must confess that I cannot comprehend, nor can I explain, why God would purposely design to save sinners through the giving of the life of His beloved Son. Jesus said that God loved the world and the Bible declares the Son to be the beloved of God. But how God could love a wicked world enough to choose to give His beloved Son for that world is still beyond me. But I sure am humbled at the thought of a real God that would really do such a thing as this. And I certainly want to personally and powerfully praise God the Father for giving His most beloved Son for a sinner like me!
Yes, in eternity past God had a plan of the ages. Before the world began there was a covenant of grace. In the long ago as God talked with God, He might have formed the question, “What shall I do?” And then as God answered God, the words might have been heard, “I will send my beloved Son.” And when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5) [Emphasis added.] Oh the wonder of redemption! “What shall I do?” I will send my beloved Son to redeem them that were under the law, that they might receive the adoption of sons. Let God be praised forever for the giving of His only begotten Son!