7713 - Parable of the Tenants


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Let’s discuss one of the parables of Jesus today. Listen as I real Luke 20:9-19:

He went on to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out. "Then the owner of the vineyard said, `What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.' "But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. `This is the heir,' they said. `Let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. "What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When the people heard this, they said, "May this never be!" Jesus looked directly at them and asked, "Then what is the meaning of that which is written: "`The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone' Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

This parable is given shortly after the Jewish leaders have confronted Jesus about the authority for his ministry.

These leaders were jealously protecting their power position in Israel. With callused hearts they refused to listen to the message Jesus was sharing regarding the Kingdom of God and its nearness to them. They even rejected the miracles which authenticated the truth of what Jesus claimed about his divinity.

It was different with the people. The work and message of Jesus thrilled the people and brought peace into their inter being; however, they thought Jesus was on the verge of establishing his own kingdom.

This parable, which Jesus told related to these truths. It was clear that the owner of the vineyard is God himself. The servants which the owner sent were the many prophets and priest God had sent to bring Israel to spiritual obedience. The tenant farmers represented these religious leaders.

The son Is Jesus, the Messiah, promised throughout their Scriptures. Others represented the Gentiles.

It was common to use a vineyard as a figure for nation Israel. It was God who had planted Israel and nurtured then to become a nation of significance. God had watched over this nation and rescued them from doom many times.

It was not uncommon that absentee owners would possess some of the land. He would hire qualified people as tenant farmers to tend the land and crops. Their payment to the owner was a share of the produce, which was to be sent to the owner at the end of harvest time.

In this parable the owner sent servants to collect his just due. The farmers rebelled and resisted the servants; beating one and sending him away empty handed, likewise with a second messenger servant. A third they wounded and threw him out without any reward.

The owner of the Land was perplexed. He finally decided these tenants would surely honor his son, so he sent him. The devious tenants schemed and thought: “If we kill the son the land will become ours.” So they killed him.

Jesus then asked these Jewish leaders and the others before him what the owner could be expected to do? Of course, He would come and kill these tenants, redeem the land, and turn it over to others.

It seemed the people certainly did not understand, especially that Jesus would be killed. But these hard-hearted leaders certainly understood the application of the parable, and it infuriated them. They wanted to arrest Jesus immediately and stop him from exposing their devious work. However, they were afraid the people would riot if they arrested Jesus, so they backed off.