Using parables, Jesus went on to say, “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a hole for the wine press and built a watch tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenants and went abroad.
In due time he sent a servant to receive from the tenants the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized the servant, struck him and sent him back empty-handed. Again the man sent another servant. They also struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent another and they killed him. In the same way they treated many others: some they beat up and others they killed. One was still left, his beloved son. And so, last of all, he sent him to the tenants, for he said, ‘They will respect my son.’
But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the one who is to inherit the vineyard. Let’s kill him and the property will be ours.’ So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. Now what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”
And Jesus added, “Have you not read this text of the Scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected has become the keystone; this is the Lord’s doing, and we marvel at it?”
They wanted to arrest him, for they realized that Jesus meant this parable for them, but they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.
The tenant did violence to the messengers of the owner out of malice, but they killed the son out of selfishness. They wanted to appropriate an entitlement to the vineyard. Both the religious leaders and public officials were condemned by Jesus, because they betrayed the trust the people placed on them. The religious leaders knew the laws and commandments, they were supposed to use their knowledge to lead people to God, but they are blind leaders who pursued only their personal interests. This is a rehash of Old Testament’s indictment of Israel’s prophets, “I will make them eat bitter food and drink poisoned water, because from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.” (Jer 23:15)
The same situation is still true today in countries where corruption and bribery are rampant and corrupt officials “claim” personal ownership (example, Phil. political dynasty) of elected public positions and some religious leaders are in cahoots with them for privileges and dole-outs. They follow their depraved rule, “Do as I say, not as I do.” By stepping on his critics’ toes, Jesus brought into open their pestilential disease. Evil men want to stay always in darkness. Holy men stay with the “Light.”
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