33 “Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 34 Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit.
The parable of the landowner is probably one of the most violent and least masked parables of Jesus. It is a shocking truth of God’s people throughout history and how they violently mistreated God’s workers and his institution. In contrast, the landowner is seem as loving, meticulous and pure. The way he prepared the vineyard with everything it would need to prosper shows us how much God wants to improve and grow his church. His only apparent mistake is hiring others to take care. Those unfortunately represent us. He put the importance of his church in human hands and what was the result?
35 And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them.
The servants represent the prophets who went to God’s people to try and steer them to God, only to have them be killed and beaten. Prophets rarely are accepted even to this day. But the story gets worse when the landlord comes up with a new idea.
37 Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.
Here we have Jesus talking about himself. He knew what was in store for himself. He knew the evil that rested in men’s hearts, even those claiming to be sons of God. The son is killed outside of the vineyard just as Jesus is killed just outside of the city of Jerusalem. How painful must it have been for Jesus to tell this parable?
40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” 41 They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”
And the story ends with the Jews condemning themselves. May we be different in our days…
Pr. Steven Couto