Translations: Chinese GB Big5

The Parable of 
the Wicked Tenants

Matt 21:33-45; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19

Luke 20:9-19 He began to tell the people this parable. "A man planted a vineyard, and rented it out to some farmers, and went into another country for a long time. At the proper season, he sent a servant to the farmers to collect his share of the fruit of the vineyard. But the farmers beat him, and sent him away empty. He sent yet another servant, and they also beat him, and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. He sent yet a third, and they also wounded him, and threw him out. The lord of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. It may be that seeing him, they will respect him.’ "But when the farmers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ They threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these farmers, and will give the vineyard to others." When they heard it, they said, "May it never be!" But he looked at them, and said, "Then what is this that is written, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the chief cornerstone?’ "Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, But it will crush whomever it falls on to dust." The chief priests and the scribes sought to lay hands on Him that very hour, but they feared the people—for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.  (web)

Discussion Questions

What is the vineyard? The tenants? The rejected servants? A capstone?
What was Jesus purpose in telling this parable?
Why didn't he care whether it would offend the religious leaders?
Why did the religious leaders plot against him?
How might this parable apply today?


The vineyard at the time was Biblical Judaism, which God planted through His Word, but was rented out to the Jewish religious leaders to take care of. The servants God sent were the prophets, whom the leaders of Israel persecuted and humiliated. Jesus was God's only Son whom the tenants put to death. But they were operating under the false assumption that by killing him they would receive the inheritance.

This parable was explicitly offensive to the Jewish leaders, as it implied that they were consciously conspiring against God. And it provoked them to do the very thing that Jesus said they were going to do in the parable. Thus this parable is also prophetic. In fact it is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Psalm 118:22 "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone." This stone is also mentioned in Isaiah 28:16 See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.

Some time after Jesus death, resurrection and ascension, the Apostle Peter once again speaks to these same leaders.

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. ' Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:8-12
As for its application today, many institutional church leaders seem to assume they own the church and even put their own labels of ownership on their institutions. Thus we have denominationalism. And if someone comes preaching what is Biblical but someone who doesn't belong to their particular institution, they often see such a person as a threat to their "authority"as if he were trying to "steal sheep" from them. Indeed Jesus himself would most likely be thrown out of the many modern instutional churches, and that by the leadership. Although not true in every particular case, the history of God's people has shown that its greatest enemies have been its own leadership. I think the reason behind this is that leadership positions both draw and create people lacking in humility. The few examples of godly leadership are dominated by men who have sources of humiliation in their life, and so are not as prone to the arrogance so characteristic of "spiritual leadership."

One other hand, you would think that proud, arrogant people wouldn't care what others thought of them. But just the opposite is true. It is the humble that don't care what others think of them, while the proud leaders are controlled by their concerns over their own popularity. Thus you find many church leaders deviating from Biblical Christianity to support simply what is popular and politically correct.


A man planted a vineyard which he did rent
To some tenants to care for, then he went
When harvest came he sent someone
To get some fruit, but they gave none.
Another he sent, they beat and mistreated
And sent him away, but again he repeated
To send yet another, but they hurt and threw out
This made the owner quite angry no doubt
But wait I'll send my son to collect
The son whom I love they'll surely respect
But then the tenants took the son
And put him to death thinking they've won
But the owner came and killed those men
And gave the vineyard to others again.
The former treated the vineyard as if their own
But then they rejected the chief cornerstone
If you're in charge of part of God's churches
Don't be like a bird which on a branch pirches
Thinking that he owns the whole tree
And eating its fruit as if it were free
For God owns the tree, you only rent.
And if you think different, you must repent.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jul 29,2015