Matthew 21:33-46 tells the story of the Parable of the Wicked Tenants, a powerful and thought-provoking lesson shared by Jesus. In this parable, Jesus uses the metaphor of a vineyard to convey a deeper message about God’s kingdom and the rejection of His messengers.

The parable retold

The parable begins with a landowner who plants a vineyard, puts a fence around it, digs a winepress, and builds a watchtower. Afterward, he leases the vineyard to some tenants and goes on a journey. When the time for harvest arrives, the landowner sends his servants to collect the fruits.

However, instead of cooperating with the landowner’s servants, the tenants mistreat and even kill them. The landowner then decides to send his own son, thinking that the tenants would respect him. But tragically, they see an opportunity to seize the inheritance and kill the son as well.

What can we learn about this parable?

This parable holds several significant lessons for us today. Firstly, it reminds us of God’s generosity and trust in humanity. The landowner represents God, who has entrusted us with His creation and expects us to be good stewards of it. The vineyard symbolizes the world and all the resources and blessings that God has given us.

Secondly, the parable highlights the rejection of God’s messengers throughout history. The servants sent by the landowner represent the prophets and messengers whom God has sent to guide and teach His people. Sadly, many of these messengers have been ignored, mistreated, and even killed.

Thirdly, the parable warns us about the consequences of greed and selfishness. The wicked tenants’ desire for personal gain led them to commit heinous acts, including murder. Their actions reflect the dangers of prioritizing worldly possessions and power over righteousness and justice.

Finally, the parable foreshadows the ultimate rejection of Jesus, the Son of God, by the religious leaders of His time. Jesus knew that His message of love, forgiveness, and salvation would be met with opposition and hostility. Yet, He willingly sacrificed Himself for the sake of humanity, offering redemption and eternal life.

Now, you know…

As we reflect on the Parable of the Wicked Tenants, we are reminded of the importance of recognizing and respecting God’s messengers in our lives. It is important to listen to their teachings and apply them to our daily lives. We must also be cautious of the dangers of greed and selfishness, choosing instead to prioritize righteousness and justice.

Let us strive to be faithful stewards of God’s creation, using our resources and blessings to bless others and bring glory to His name. May we never forget the sacrifice of Jesus, who gave His life so that we may have eternal life. In doing so, we can live out the lessons from Matthew 21:33-46 and grow closer to God’s kingdom.

By Roge Sison

An ordained clergy of The United Methodist Church.

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