May 20. Jesus Teaches a Series of Parables

Mt. 21:28-22:14; Mk. 12:1-12; Lk. 20:9-19

As a means to regain their attention, Jesus asked the authorities another question. “What do you think?”

He then began to relate a parable about two sons. Their father asked each of them to go into the vineyard and work.

The first said, “I will not.” He realized his mistake later, repented and went.

After the second son had said, “I go, sir,” he did not go.

Jesus asked the members of the Sanhedrin which son had done the will of the father. They replied, “The first.”

Tax collectors and harlots, who were the scum of the earth in the eyes of these leaders had believed and obeyed the teaching of John the Baptist. Jesus told these rulers, who were pleasing to God in their own eyes that they had refused to believe John.

In another parable, Jesus presented God as the owner of a vineyard. The vineyard was His chosen people, the Jewish nation.

As time went by, the owner leased the vineyard out to vinedressers and went into a far country for a long time. The price of the lease was a portion of the fruit of the vineyard. When the time for fruit drew near, servants were sent to collect the lease payment. Instead of giving fruit to the servants, the vinedressers killed some and beat others.

The owner, thinking that they would respect his son, sent him to collect the payment. In a society of crooked judges, the vinedressers reasoned that if they killed the heir, they could inherit the vineyard. When he arrived, they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

Some of these leaders did not understand that this story applied to them and said that these men should be destroyed and the vineyard leased to others. Others did grasp what Jesus was talking about and said, “Certainly not!”

In this parable, the vinedressers represented the Jewish leaders and the servants were the prophets that God had sent before the coming of Christ.

Jesus, representing Himself as the son prophesied that He would be killed outside the walls of Jerusalem. This came true later in that same week.

The Jews were eager to build the Messianic kingdom, but they were too blind to see that this kingdom could not be set up without resting upon Jesus as the chief cornerstone. They were unskilled laborers, who rejected the cornerstone of the building they were trying to erect.

Jesus prophesied that many would fall over this stone and be broken. All who face Him in the judgment and are lost will be ground up by this stone.

When the chief priests and scribes understood that Jesus was talking about them, they wanted to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the people because they were highly outnumbered.

Jesus presented a third parable, regarding the marriage of a king’s son, which also showed the Jews refusing to accept Him.

A more detailed application of this parable shows God inviting the Jews into the eternal home in heaven. Prophets, apostles and teachers were sent to deliver the message of salvation. Many of them were mistreated and some of them were even killed. They refused to accept the invitation and God destroyed their city, Jerusalem. Gentiles were then invited.

When Christ comes at the judgment, many will be present, but some will not be prepared because they have not put on Christ, their “wedding garment” as their savior. Since they had opportunities to prepare, they will have no excuse for their neglect.

These people will be bound to prevent the possibility of escape and thrown into eternal punishment where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.