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Luke 20:9-18 – The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants is similar to the Parable of the Ten Minas – both involve a man leaving and going to a distant place for a long time.

This time it is tenants who are entrusted with caring for a vineyard. The agreement is that they will give the owner of the vineyard a certain portion of the harvest in return for their tenancy.

Servants (the prophets of the Old Testament) are sent to call the tenants to obedience. They are treated shamefully, sometimes wounded and sometimes cast out.

Finally, the landlord sends his beloved son (language already used by God at John’s baptism and the transfiguration of Jesus). The tenants (the religious leaders) having oversight of the vineyard (Israel) recognize Jesus as the heir and kill him.

The question is asked how the owner of the vineyard will respond? God will come and judge the religious leaders and give the care of the vineyard to others (his disciples).

Shocked and mouthing protests, Jesus looks directly at them and quotes from the Psalms in such a way that the religious leaders are clearly identified as being among those rejected by God. By contrast, Jesus is the cornerstone of God’s positive agenda and the means by which these enemies of God will be judged.

Once again, we are urged to be careful how we respond to the owner of the vineyard and his son.