“Hear another parable. 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. 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. Finally he 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. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.
(Matthew 21:33-46 ESV)
We come today to one of the most important of Jesus’ parables. Everything Jesus said was important, of course, but this parable is quite specific in its conviction of the Jewish leaders, to whom Jesus was speaking. By extension, it is very relevant to those of us alive today. We’re going to spend a few days studying it.
A review of the context will help to understand this passage. Just two days prior Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem while the crowds cheered Him. The next day He entered the Temple where he drove out the sinful buyers and sellers, healed the blind, and received worship from children.
The next day (the same day as this passage) Jesus was teaching in the Temple when the Jewish leaders brazenly confronted Him demanding to know on whose authority He was doing all these things [Matthew 21:23].
Jesus’ response, as usual, was to turn the conversation around. Rather than answering these leaders, He pointed out their sin by telling them a parable which we read yesterday. That parable convicted the religious leaders of Israel of being hypocrites. They claimed to follow God but they really didn’t.
The religious leaders knew exactly what Jesus was saying to them and about them when they heard that parable [Matthew 21:45]. Even so, Jesus turns up the heat by telling them another parable – one that is even more blunt and convicting – to let the unbelievers know exactly what God thinks of them.
These men were already angry and Jesus knew it. But they are about to get even more angry after hearing today’s parable. Notice Jesus doesn’t ask them if they want to hear what He has to say. They have no choice as Jesus commands them to hear another parable.
This is a great example for Christians today. As God’s ambassadors we are commanded to share the gospel with the people in our lives.
But the gospel offends people and hurts their pride as it convicts them of their sin. As such it will be met with indifference at best and hostility at worst. Regardless, people need to hear it. And we need to tell it no matter what their response might be.
When it comes to telling others about Jesus we are to be as bold as He was because the gospel is the only way for people to have their sins forgiven and to enter heaven [John 3:16, 14:6; Acts 4;12, 16:31 et. al]. This is the way all of us came to be saved. We believed because we were convicted of the truth about our sin.
People don’t want to hear the gospel because it exposes truth about them they don’t want to admit. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak it. Nor do we need permission to tell it.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.