THE LANDLORD & THE TENANTS
I. Background of the Parable
††††††† 1. Context
a.†††† Jesus had just cleansed the temple, when he found sellers taking advantage of the common people.† It was a den of robbers,† Lk 19:45-48.
b.†† Jesus was teaching the common people in the temple area, 20:1.
c.†† The chief priests and experts in the law wanted to know Jesusí authority for cleansing the temple and teaching, 20:2.
d.†† Jesus would not answer them until they answered his question about the origin of Johnís baptism (also about authority), 20:3-8.
e.†† The chief priests and experts in the law knew Jesus had spoken the parable against them, 20:19.
††††††† 2. Definitions/Cultural Insights
a.†† The question and answer dialogue Jesus used in his teaching was common due to Greek influence.
b.†† Vineyard: a garden when grape vines for making wine were being grown.
c.†† Tenants: those who leased property.† Payment for leasing a garden/field was usually a† portion of the produce.
d.†† Heir: the one who would inherit the property.
e.†† Cornerstone: the perfect stone laid at the corner so the building would be true/straight.
II. Understanding the Parable
1. The owner had planted a vineyard, but due to an extended absence, he leased the garden to tenants.† Later, he thought they would respect his son, so sent him to collect the ďrent.Ē
††††††† 2. The tenants were supposed to pay for their lease by giving the owner a portion of the fruit at harvest.†††††††
a.†† They refused to pay for their lease and they treated the ownerís servants with harm and shame.
b.†† They later presumed that if they killed the son who was the heir that they would inherit the vineyard.
c.†† They thought wrong!† The owner would kill those tenants and give the inheritance to others.
3. Those listening to the parable were shocked by the ownerís response, so Jesus quoted Psalms about the cornerstone to convince them.
††††††† 4. The chief priests and the experts in the law knew correctly that the parable was spoken against them.
III. Consideration and Application of the Parable
1. The Jews Were TenantsÖ not owners!!
As tenants, the Jews with their leaders were supposed to care for Godís kingdom as tenants would care for a garden/field. †The Jews did not care for the kingdom properly, but they thought they would gain Godís inheritance through their own self-righteousness, rather than through the righteousness of Godís son, Jesus. They killed Godís son and God rejected them as evidenced in Jerusalemís destruction in A.D. 70.
2. What About Us???
We, the church, have the potential to become like those tenants.† We can reject the message of Godís servants and become more interested in keeping the produce of Godís vineyard for ourselves.† How? †We can mistakenly think that the produce of this world is the inheritance we have from God.† Our inheritance is above, Rom 8:17-18; Col 3:1-4.† We can forget that we are supposed to share the message of Godís inheritance (the gospel) with others.† Our service is to be ambassadors of God, 2 Cor 5:17-21.† We can also reject the righteousness of Jesus, Godís son, thinking that our own righteousness is sufficient to gain Godís inheritance, Gal 2:15-21.
3. God Is Good And Just
We must see God completely.† The people were shocked that the owner would kill the tenants but Jesus looked at them intently as he explained that one stone would be both the perfect cornerstone for the building and at the same time, be a stone rejected by the builders upon which people would become broken and crushed, :17-18. Itís the same stone!† Our perception and response allows it to be a cornerstone or a crushing stone.† God/Jesus is this way.† Will you accept him and let his death become a cornerstone, or reject him and his righteousness and face crushing, 1 Pt 2:6-8; Rom 11:22; Phil 3:9?
4. God Is The AuthorityÖ no one else
The final authority over the vineyard belongs to the owner, not to the tenants.† God is sovereign!† He can and will make his own decisions about the good of his kingdom.† Preachers and teachers are not the final authority.† How might you take Godís authority for yourself?
IV. Memory Verse - Lk 20:13