“There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them” (Matthew 21:33-46 ESV).
Jesus told this parable to the Pharisees to show them that in all their religious devotion and ceremony they were still lacking belief in the son of God. He was calling on them to look into the Scriptures and see how they pointed to himself, much as he did with the men on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection.
Jesus isn’t the only one who calls upon Jews to believe in the truth that he was the Messiah. Paul has a similar, albeit hypothetical conversation with his kinsmen in Romans 9:30-33. Paul was clearly concerned about the view the Jews had about their inclusion in the kingdom of God. He goes to great lengths to prove that the election of God (or the display of his sovereign grace) is not based upon anything but his own mercy and thus, Isaac not Ishmael, Jacob, not Esau. He goes further in this argument to prove that God has, within his sovereign purposes and plans, designed to save Gentiles as well. He shows that the salvation of every believer is not based upon the accomplishment of works of the law but upon Jesus through faith alone. I pray our study this week will strengthen your faith and enlighten your understanding of the gospel.