“And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. 2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. 4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. 5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. 6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. 7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. 8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. 9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. 10 And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: 11 This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.” Mark 12:1-12 (KJV)
In the fifth chapter of Isaiah, the prophet likens the nation of Israel to a “Vineyard”. It to is a parable. It is the story of a man who plants the vineyard, builds a fence around it, cleaned up the rocks, even built a tower for the vineyard, but then the vineyard does not produce anything but “wild grapes” – that is “worthless grapes”. The vineyard brought forth no useful fruit for its owner.
It seems that these religious leaders were reminded that they were the vineyard. Jesus is showing them as a prosperous vineyard, producing much fruit, but not giving the “Owner” what is due Him. In this parable Jesus speaks of a “Landowner” who prepared the vineyard, and then “leased” it out to others. The idea was that the “Owner” would collect his due when the harvest was over.
The story is really one of Israel, and their trek down through about 1500 years – from the time of Abraham. They had had prophet after prophet come to them with the message of God and His Word, but would often refuse the word of the prophet, and beat, abuse him and drive him from their presence. Just as the people leasing the land would not give the “owner” his due, these so called “People of God” would not yield to the “Messengers” which God sent them.
The message Jesus gives through this parable is that since they would not give God what was due Him, then the Kingdom would be given to others.
We might should pause and think about that. Have we heard God and surrendered to His Word and His will? Have we sent away His “Messengers” without even a thought of what He said? Are we making a mess of God’s kingdom? Have we sent His “Messengers” away empty handed, injured and bleeding? Maybe not physically, but spiritually?
Jesus tells us in the parable that these “Husbandmen” would do the same with the “son” when he would come to collect his due. The prophets of God were rejected, and ultimately the Son would be rejected and put to death on Calvary’s cross.
-Tim A. Blankenship