Summary: Biblical parables reveal hidden truths concerning the Kingdom of God. Judgment, behavior, and/or Biblical principles. An interesting thing about the Parables that Christ taught is the fact that what He often seeks to reveal is hidden.
33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.
Biblical parables reveal hidden truths concerning the Kingdom of God. Judgment, behavior, and/or Biblical principles. An interesting thing about the Parables that Christ taught is the fact that what He often seeks to reveal is hidden. What might seem to be the obvious is not necessarily what Christ is saying.
What is the meaning of the Parable of the Vineyard/of the tenants?
Question: "What is the meaning of the Parable of the Vineyard?"
To get the context of what is happening, we need to look at Matthew 21:23-27:
The Authority of Jesus Questioned
23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
While He is teaching, the chief priest and elders confront Him, wanting to know by what authority He is teaching. Not allowing them to control the conversation, Jesus answers the question by first asking a question 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
What Jesus told them is that John the Baptist and Himself received their authority from the same source.
This exchange causes the leaders to become angry and puts them in opposition to Jesus. Jesus then further frustrates the priests by telling two parables: the first one is the Parable of the Two Sons, and the second is the Parable of the Vineyard, sometimes called the Parable of the Wicked Tenants.
In the Parable of the Two sons, Jesus tells the priests that they have claimed to accept the message from God, but they have failed to live up to it by being obedient.
Outwardly, they are devout, religious people and appear to be people of God, but God knows the heart, and there they have failed miserably.
The next parable (the Parable of the Vineyard) is like pouring salt on a wound.
Just in case they didn’t fully understand (which they did), Jesus gives a much clearer picture of what He means.
Obviously, this further infuriates the priests, but it also gives the others who were present an opportunity to hear Jesus fully explain the implications of the disobedience of the Jewish people throughout the ages.