Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Matthew 21: The Two Sons and the Wicked Vinedressers

The Parable of the Two Sons

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!


  • Great post.

    I love the way the Pharisees answer:

    "He will miserably destroy those wicked men."

    It just sounds cool.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 7/07/2006 3:48 AM  

  • Yes, great thoughts, Rose. I love the parable of the vineyard/wicked vinedressers.

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at 7/07/2006 7:02 AM  

  • Ha ha Rose,

    Looking for some non-controversial posts?

    I agree that these two parables are quite straight forward. Praise God that He had mercy on us, the gentiles!

    By Blogger Jim, at 7/07/2006 11:36 AM  

  • Very nice, Rose. Sorry I haven't been by in a while, it has really been a busy summer. I hope things are about to settle down though. God bless.

    By Blogger Gordon Cloud, at 7/07/2006 1:44 PM  

  • Thats when we begin to hear...when we perceive that he is talking to us. Praise God Jesus called out "Father forgive them, they know not what they do." Later after their sin had run its course and climaxed in their heart...they repented and believed in Him.

    Praise God even the Pharisee full of hatred even after the cross was converted...Paul.

    Praise God that he can open the ears of all of us legalists.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 7/07/2006 5:56 PM  

  • Hi Matthew,
    When I have read over this, it never occurred to me that the Pharisees were the ones who had given that answer. I figured it was from average people in the crowd. I guess it really doesn't say (or does it and I am missing something?). It is interesting how you and I could see that those two different ways. I imagined the Pharisees standing in the back, not interacting, with looks of disdain on their faces, while Jesus interacted with the average folk, "third-partying" the Pharisees.
    You're right though - it is an interesting response.

    Hi Angie! Thanks for reading.

    Is that what I am doing? ;~)
    This is a parable and I am doing a series on parables. Can I help it if it is non-controversial? haha
    There is at least one coming up that I know will generate some disagreement, so I enjoy the ones that are easy. I praise Him too, being a gentile.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 7/08/2006 8:25 AM  

  • Hello Mr. Cloud,
    It is good to see you back! God bless you too.

    That is a great comment. I am sure some of the Pharisees did believe after having been so full of disdain. (Paul being the most dramatic and visible example). Then again, some of them believed in him all along - Joseph of A. and Nicodemus, right? Also - I believe there were plenty who never would change their minds about him - who would stop their ears and harden their rebellious hearts.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 7/08/2006 8:29 AM  

  • Yes and let us never lose sight that the word of God opens up the cancer and the lust conceived within man. The word of God is good and mans heart is evil, but he cannot see that evil until it is conceived. The word opens up the birth of the flesh so that the new birth can occur. Paul said the word opened him up. Consider again Gamaliel..a Pharisee who was friendly towards Christianity...yet still view it from a skeptical position of "lets wait and see."

    Hearing involes seeing the cancer and coming to the only one who can heal it. This is why we as believers must endeavor to make sure we do everything in our power to bring about understanding of God's word as the teachers did in Nehemiah 8:8.

    His Spirit does the rest of the work

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 7/08/2006 11:55 AM  

  • Rose~, it is funny that you had not thought that, becuase I had always assumed that the answer came from the Pharisees.

    They were condemned out of their own mouth if this was their answer.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 7/08/2006 1:04 PM  

  • Many of them took it a step further Matthew and said, "His blood be on us and our children."

    Nevertheless 3000 of them were later saved in one day after they were pricked in their heart about this hatred they had for the Son of the Living God.

    Oh what Amazing Grace. Such amazing love. Who can love like this but God. Who can put this love into our hearts but God.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 7/08/2006 2:04 PM  

  • Rose,

    Interesting that you chose the parable of the two sons. Though this parable is speaking of decisions concerning salvation. By way of application from a discipleship perspective, I have always related to the first son. I recall that too many times my first impulse to many requests is to say no but upon reflection I will tend to honor the proper requests (I hope!). This parable is often in my mind as I reflect upon negative decisions.


    By Blogger Leo, at 7/08/2006 9:45 PM  

  • Good post Rose. Jesus was quite provocative wasn’t he? I almost said that he liked to “push the envelope,” as you would say.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 7/09/2006 9:16 PM  

  • DF,
    Yes, they certainly were condemned out of their own mouth if that was their answer. I think it is incredible the way Jesus would lead them towards eating their words ... like with the coin, when they asked him if the people should pay taxes. You are probably right that it was them. That is just not the way I had pictured it.

    Agreed. Only God our Creator.

    Hi Leo,
    I know what you mean about relating to the first son. I really think that the idea is to be honest with the Lord about what you intend ... He knows anyways! Being "fake" or "phony" with God ... how inane! Thanks for the visit.

    Hi Jonathan,
    Yes, I like that about Jesus. What makes it all the more incredible is when you consider that He could see right into the hearrts of those He spoke to, he didn't have to guess or use psycholgy to figure out where they were. So ... he could aim a light right at them to reveal to them what was really going on in themselves. Awesome.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 7/10/2006 8:29 AM  

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