Matthew 21: The Two Sons and the Wicked Vinedressers
28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29 He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.I love the simplicity of this parable. I think He was directly aiming this at the Jewish rulers, based on the context. It seems absolutely clear that He is saying that it is always better for a man to be sincere about the intentions toward the Lord. A man who says he is seeking to do God's will - when he really has a mind to be independent and has no interest in God's plans- is not a true worker, but is pretending. He would rather have someone say they do not intend to go the Lord's way and then, change his mind, and become a true worker.
The chief priests and elders were like the lying son in the parable. They said they wished for God’s revelation of His kingdom and His Messiah, but when Jesus presened Himself with irrefutable proof of who He was, they scoffed in rebellion and hatred toward God. This is called "not doing the will of the Father." Yet, many of those who had been living in outwardly wicked ways turned to Christ when they saw who He was and that God was calling for belief in this Messiah. This is the work of God. (John 6:29)
The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers
33 “Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 34 Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. 35 And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. 37 Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” 41 They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘ The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. 44 And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”This is so awesome. Jesus takes the point He was making in the previous parable to a new level. Now, not only is He showing that the leaders are not genuine workers for God, but they are going to kill God’s Son because of their contempt for the Father. The vineyard and the winepress is the nation of Israel who God (the owner of the vineyard) had set apart to reveal Himself to mankind. The servants that were sent to receive fruit are the prophets. (O Jerulsalem, thou that killest the prophets and stoneth them that are sent unto thee…)
The owner’s son is, of course, Jesus himself, who is standing in their midst as He tells this parable. “He will lease His vineyard to other vinedressers…” Who else could the other vinedressers be but the church, those of every tribe and tongue who will come by faith to the Son. Jesus is the cornerstone of the church AND the kingdom of God.
I think in verse 44 He segues to His second coming.
The next verse is so telling:
45 Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.They knew exactly what He meant.
I really like these two parables because of their clarity!