Then Jesus began teaching them with stories: “A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, until there was only one left—his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’
“But the tenant farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard.
“What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures?
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.’ ”
The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.
The vineyard was built, prepared and given. God created the earth, prepared it with good things and left it in the hands of mankind. Those left in charge of his creation began to elevate themselves to ownership status. This caused the mistreatment of the ones sent to collect what was due the true owner. The Jewish nation was given the responsibility to care for God’s message to mankind. They began to elevate themselves to a status of equality with God through the creation of many of the legalistic requirements they added to God’s contract with them. They killed the prophets who came to require an explanation of their actions.
We are given the care of the message God is sending to mankind. His message of love and salvation. Are we aware of the responsibility given to us? Are we faithful in its execution? Or do we ‘kill’ the messengers who attempt to correct and place us back in line with His commands? We are not ‘owners’ of the Word, we did not create it. We are the keepers of the Word and are responsible to share it and show it in our lives. We give back what God has given to us when we give in service to those around us, when we live and act in love.
The vineyard was not given to the tenants without responsibility. They abused the gift and it was taken from them. Do we hear a warning here? Are we hoarding the gift God has given us? Will we lose it if so? Are we listening to Him? We have a work to do in sharing and spreading the Word of God. Are we found faithful? Is His Word alive and active in us in such a way others can see Him?