Summary: Matthew 21:33-44 - When God sends messages our way, we are faced with a decision: shoot the messenger, or, with an open heart, accept the message.
ii. Vinedressers’ Reaction → The landowner had made every provision for the vinedressers to use his vineyard. He had prepared the land, placed a hedge and built a tower for their protection, and even dug out the winepress for them. But once again Jesus uses an all too common reality to make His spiritual point: the vinedressers were abusing the rights of the master of the vineyard because he had been absent for a long time.
1. Vinedressers’ Rejection → The vinedressers took the representatives of the landowner and abused them. When all that the master sought was his rightful payment, the wicked vinedressers spit in his face by rejecting his messengers. (READ v. 35-36)
a. They took the 1st servant and beat him, sending him away shamefully, but the master sent another.
b. They took the 2nd servant and stoned him until he was severely wounded, and they sent him away empty-handed, but again, even knowing how they had treated the first 2, the master sent another representative.
c. When the 3rd servant was sent, he must have known the fate of the two before him, but still he went to the vinedressers, asking only that they hold up their end of the bargain. But this time the tenants took it one step farther and brutally killed the innocent servant and cast him out of the vineyard. But even then the master did not give up.
d. He sent even more servants to them, hoping that the evil vinedressers would change their ways and do what was right, but just like they had with the three servants before, the vinedressers beat and stoned and killed these men too. Yet even after all of this, the master of the vineyard graciously decided to make one last effort, to give his tenants one last chance.
2. The Landowner’s Son → So we look to verse 37 (READ v. 37). The lord of the vineyard thinks, “Even though they rejected me by killing my servants, surely they accept my son!”
a. But when the vinedressers saw the only son of the master coming down the road to meet them, what they saw was not a chance to change their ways. What they saw was not someone who they should respect as the master’s own flesh and blood. What they saw was an opportunity, an opportunity to seize control of what they viewed as their vineyard.
i. Let’s go on in the passage (READ v. 38-39).
b. So even at the point when the master had sent his own son as a messenger to his workers, they cruelly rejected him and killed him.
2. Parable Explained – Jesus’ Message to the Jews
• But now let’s take a closer look at the parable and realize that the story that Jesus tells here is really the story of God’s dealings with the children of Israel.
a. Israelite Nation → From the time that God promised to make Abraham “the father of many nations” to the time Jesus walked this earth the Israelites had been God’s chosen people, but just as they had so many times throughout their history, the Jews failed to obey God’s commandments over and over again. So in the last days of His earthly ministry, Jesus makes this point to the Jewish leaders by telling them “The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers.”