PART VII: THE MISCELLANEOUS PARABLES
IntroductionHe [Jesus] went on to tell the
The Parable of the Wicked Sharecroppers is found in all
three synoptic Gospels: Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; and
Luke 20:9-19. It has variously been called The Wicked
Husbandmen (Trench), The Parable of the Tenants (New
International Version), and God's Vineyard (Beck).
people this parable: "A man planted a
vineyard, rented it to some farmers and
went away for a long time. At harvest
time he sent a servant to the tenants so
they would give him some of the fruit of
the vineyard. But the tenants beat him
and sent him away empty-handed. He sent
another servant, but that one also they
beat and treated shamefully and sent away
empty-handed. He sent still a third, and
they wounded him and threw him out.
"Then the owner of the vineyard
said, `What shall I do? I will send my
son, whom I love; perhaps they will
"But when the tenants saw him, they
talked the matter over. `This is the
heir,' they said. `Let's kill him, and
the inheritance will be ours.' So they
threw him out of the vineyard and killed
"What then will the owner of the
vineyard do to them? He will come and
kill those tenants and give the vineyard
When the people heard this, they
said, "May this never be!"
Jesus looked directly at them and
asked, "Then what is the meaning of that
which is written:
"`The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone?'
Everyone who falls on that stone will be
broken in pieces, but he on whom it falls
will be crushed."
The teachers of the law and the
chief priests looked for a way to arrest
him immediately, because they knew he had
spoken this parable against them, But
they were afraid of the people. (Luke
20:9-19, New International Version).
This is the second parable that Jesus gave in response
to Jewish leaders' questions. "Tell us by what authority you
are doing these things," they said. "Who gave you this
authority?" (Luke 20:2, New International Version). The
chief priests, scribes and elders made up the Sanhedrin, the
Supreme Court of the Jewish nation. In their minds, they had
the authority to control the Temple, not Jesus. (Turnbull, Gen. ed.,
PROCLAIMING THE NEW TESTAMENT, THE GOSPEL OF LUKE,
by Ralph Earle, p. 89).
Jesus tells the crowd, which included the Jewish
leaders, this parable. The arrangement of a landowner with
sharecroppers or tenants was understood both by the people
then and by people now.
The hedge was a thick-set thorn hedge, planted to keep
out wild pigs and thieves. The winepress was two troughs
hollowed out of rock or made of brick, one higher than the
other. Grapes were pressed in the higher part and the juice
ran to the lower end. The tower was a watchtower and a place
of lodging for those working in the vineyard. (Barclay,
DAILY STUDY BIBLE SERIES, MATTHEW, p. ?).Barclay comments on this parable:The Interpretation
In interpreting a parable it is normally a first
principle that every parable has only one point,
and that point has to be seized, and that details
are not to be stressed. But in the case of
this parable it is different. the details do
have meaning. (Barclay, DAILY STUDY BIBLE SERIES, MATTHEW, p. ?).The characters and symbols of the story and theConclusion
persons and things that they represent in reality are:
1. Owner of the Vineyard GOD
2. Three Servants Jewish Prophets
3. Owner's Son Jesus the Messiah
4. Tenants (Sharecroppers) Jewish Leaders
5. Others Gentile Church
6. The Capstone Jesus the Messiah
7. The Vineyard The Kingdom of God
8. Builders Jewish Leaders
9. Fruit of the Vineyard Heart Repentance
Earle gives an excellent outline of the story and
interpretation (Turnbull, Gen. ed., PROCLAIMING THE NEW
TESTAMENT, THE GOSPEL OF LUKE, by Ralph Earle, pp. 90-91).
Below is his outline with other content along with mine:
1. THE SERVANTS. The vineyard owner sent three servants to
the sharecroppers: The first they beat and sent away,
empty-handed. The second they beat, insulted, and sent away
empty-handed. The third, they wounded and threw out of the
vineyard. The servants were prophets that God sent to the
Jewish leaders. Jewish tradition states that the Prophet
Jeremiah was stoned by the exiles in Egypt and Isaiah was
sawn in two by king Manasseh. (Trench, NOTES ON THE PARABLES
OF OUR LORD, p. 71).
2. THE SON. God finally sent his Son to the religious
leaders. "Let us kill the heir and the inheritance will be
ours" is not only morally wrong, but logically flawed. The
religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus to retain their
temporal hold on power for self-aggrandisement and to gain
more wealth. They, of all people, should know that no one
can fight God and win. However, they persisted and had Jesus
3. THE SUBSTITUTION. He will "kill those tenants and give
the vineyard to others." (v. 16). This prophecy was
partially fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
It will be completely fulfilled in the Second Coming of
Christ. Paul explains the passing of the vineyard to the
Gentiles in Romans 11. Please note that there is a Remnant
of Israel and that Israel has not been forsaken by God.
Jesus identifies himself as the "stone the builders
rejected" that became the "capstone" of the new church.
(Turnbull, Gen. ed., PROCLAIMING THE NEW TESTAMENT, THE
GOSPEL OF LUKE, by Ralph Earle, p. 89). Barclay notes that
that Jesus quoted from a composite of three Old Testament
prophecies: Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16; and Daniel 2:34-35,
44-45. (Barclay, DAILY STUDY BIBLE SERIES, MATTHEW, p. ?).
Trench further comments:
The reason why He leaves for a moment the image of
the vineyard, is because of its inadequacy to set forth one important
part of the truth, that the malice of the Pharisees should not
defeat the purpose of God,--that the Son should yet be Heir.
THIS is distinctly declared by the respected stone
becoming the head of the corner, on which the
builders stumbled and fell, and were broken, and
which if they set themselves against it to the end,
would fall upon them, and crush and destroy them
utterly. THEY fall on the stone, who are offended
at Christ in His low estate (Isaiah viii. 14; Luke
ii. 34); of this sin His hearers were already
He warns them against a worse sin which
they were on the point of committing, and which
would be followed by a heavier punishment; they on
whom the stone falls, are they who deliberately set
themselves in opposition against the Lord--knowing
who He is. They shall not merely fall and be
broken, for one might, although suffering some
harm, recover himself,--but on them the stone shall
fall and grind them to powder [This refers to the
judgment day for all unbelievers]. (Trench, NOTES
ON THE PARABLES OF OUR LORD, pp. 73-74).
This is the way it is for those who reject
Jesus Christ and wish to hold on to themselves.
They seek to save themselves and are lost forever.
To find the best and highest in life one has to
accept God's way and do his will. (Turnbull, Gen. ed.,
PROCLAIMING THE NEW TESTAMENT, THE GOSPEL OF
LUKE, by Ralph Earle, p. 91).
IT IS FUTILE TO FIGHT GOD.
IT IS LOGICAL TO JOIN GOD.The wisest decision one can make is to accept Christ as
Lord and Savior. The most foolish decision one can make is
to reject Christ as Lord and Savior. Let us present the
truth in love. END.