Past Issues

Jesus -- the Guru #42

Parables of Confrontation


As Jesus entered His confrontation with His enemies, He continued to teach in parables. However, these parables were intended not for His disciples but for His enemies. Jesus tried to help them realize what they were doing. Jesus loved even His enemies and wanted to call them also to repentance.


Read the parables below and identify the warning Jesus is giving His enemies:


Parable of the Two Sons: Matthew 21:28-32



28“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’


29“ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.


30“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.


31“Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.



Which son represented the religious leaders? Which son represented the tax collectors and prostitutes? How do you think the religious leaders felt about the comparison?


Parable of the Tenants: Matthew 21:33-46



33“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey.34When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.


35“The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.36Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.37Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.


38“But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’39So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.


40“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”


41“He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”


42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’ ?


43“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.44He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”


45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.46They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.



Note: “vineyard” = people of Israel in Old Testament imagery


Who is the landowner? Who are the servants that were killed and stoned? Who is the son that the tenants conspired to kill? Who are the tenants? (see v. 45)


Note in v. 43 that Jesus also explains that the future disciples of the Kingdom of God would be Gentiles, anyone who accepted His call.


 


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