The Cruel Vineyard Tenants

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This parable continues to make a statement against the Jewish religious authorities. Perhaps the rulers of the Jews thought they had heard enough, but Jesus continued to give them warning in another parable. He told about a landowner (God) who planted a vineyard (Israel). He builds a wall to keep out animals, a watchtower to keep out thieves and a winepress to squeeze grapes in. Finally, he leased the vineyard to vine growers (Rulers of Israel) and he went into a far country (v. 33).

These tenant farmers were expected to pay a certain percentage of the crop to the landlord at the harvest time. At this time he sent out his servants (The prophets) to receive his share of the crop (v. 34).  Instead of sharing the fruits, the vineyard keepers handled the servants terribly (vv. 35-39). One they beat to a bloody pulp, another they murdered and a third one they stoned. As time went on the owner sent many others who received the same kind of treatment. As a last and final appeal to these vine growers, the landlord sent his son (Jesus) but they plotted among themselves how they could kill him and claim his inheritance. Finally, they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

At this point Jesus asked this crowd what they thought the owner should do to those tenants (v. 40). With indignation they replied that he should put the scoundrels to death and rent the vineyard to other tenants (v. 41). Jesus asked them if they had ever read the Scriptures as to how the kingdom will be taken from them and given to those who produce the proper fruit (vv. 42-44). The Pharisees got the point, but instead of heeding the warning, they were stirred with anger and would have seized Jesus on the spot if it had not been for their fear of the crowds (vv. 45-46).


The crux of this story is that God created this earth and He is the landowner and we are just tenants. I should never feel that I am the owner but try to be a good tenant or care taker of His property.

Matthew 21:33-46 (English Standard Version)

"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.

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