Sep 12, 2007

Parable of the Evil Farmers

Matthew 21:33-45 (New Living Translation)

“Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers grabbed his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. So the landowner sent a larger group of his servants to collect for him, but the results were the same. “Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ “But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and murdered him. “When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?”

The religious leaders replied,
“He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.”
Then Jesus asked them, “
Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures?

‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’

I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”
When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers.
I just finished reading several other’s commentary on this passage. It is quite interesting how much can be obtained from this simple parable. But that doesn’t surprise me. Jesus has an amazing way of speaking to our hearts. Rather than me attempting to go into great detail here, as I sometimes do, I have opted to keep my interpretation of this parable as simplistic as possible. Some of the commentary I read broke down almost every word and related it to something spiritual or explained it by using other parts of scripture. There are some great explanations of this and other parables available on the net for those of you who might care to do some additional research. Also, for further understanding, this parable can also be found in Mark 12:1-2 and Luke 20:9-19.

Here is what I get from this message:
Jesus is once again, speaking to those religious leaders about their ways. Jesus has a real problem with religion!

God is of course the landowner who planted the vineyard. The earth is the vineyard. The wall could be considered the space that surrounds the earth. Some people seem to think that the pit represents hell but I don’t see it that way. The juice produced from the fruit is ultimately our final product. I see the pit as being that place of humbleness that brings us into the perfect will of God. Then he built a lookout tower. This could very well be speaking of his throne from which he observes his creation. “He leased the vineyard to tenant farmers”. I believe this is talking about the creation of mankind. He says clearly in Genesis that he gave us authority over all the earth.

He then goes on to teach about the harvest. His share of the crop is probably speaking of those who actually do his will and produce fruit. He sent many servants but they were all rejected. Here I believe he is speaking of some of the prophets who predicted the coming of Jesus, the Messiah! After it became apparent that he wasn’t getting through to the people, he finally sent his son. This is without a doubt Jesus himself. They just couldn’t accept the fact that he was the savior. They could not believe that he was the one. Ultimately, as you know, Jesus was killed because they stumbled so hard over the message he brought. It’s interesting to note that they dragged him out of the vineyard before murdering him. This is a very clear picture of Jesus being taken outside of the city gates to Skull Hill, the place of his crucifixion. It’s also interesting to note that Jesus spoke this before his death, obviously. He knew exactly what was going to happen. He knew why he came. He knew what his mission was.

Notice how the religious leaders answered him by saying that those farmers would be put to a horrible death. They understood the story but later became furious when they comprehended that it was them he was speaking about. How’s that for a picture of guilt and condemnation. If only they would have realized right then and there and repented.

Obviously the horrible death he is talking about is being sentenced to hell. He says that being religious is not going to get you into heaven. The ones that are going to heaven are the ones that accept him as the son, turn from their religious beliefs and false truths, and begin to bear good fruit. (See my blog entitled “Fruits of the Spirit”).

There are so many people in the world today that have had it with religion. They refuse to believe or even consider God’s plan because of what some of the “religious leaders” have taught them or implanted in them. I am here today to say to you that Jesus himself agrees with you. Religion in itself is not going to get you there. My hope and prayer is that you are reading these parables and beginning to understand the truth about who Jesus is and what he represents. He is love. He is your friend. He is always available. And through him, you will produce fruit. Coming into the Kingdom of God is easy my friends. Consider making that decision today!

That’s it for my time this morning. Once again, thanks for taking the time to read this message. Feel free to leave your comment.

May your roots grow down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love!

Michael

2 comments:

josh said...

I read the parable this morning and couldn't get my head around it.... To much coffee?? who knows. So your blog came up when I googled it's meaning. Thank you for the post.. It brought much clarity to my head and heart this morning.
Josh

JayAnna said...

Thanks so much for the explanation of this parable! I couldn't understand on my own, and you really cleared things up for me. What an awesome story! Jesus was amazing at creating metaphors and "easy to relate to" stories to prove his point. Thanks again!