Matt. 21:33-46




When the Roman Empire took control of Israel the Roman government sold

or gave most of the land to Roman landowners.

The Roman landowners visited Israel to plant vineyards and rent out the land.



In most cases they rented it to Jewish farmers.

The best money crop was grapes.



The grapes were made into wine.

And the wine was sold for cash.



The Romans planted a thick hedge of briers around their vineyards to protect         

them from wild animals and thieves,

They dug a hole for a winepress.



They built a tower to watch for predators and robbers.

They rented their vineyard to a Jewish sharecropper.



They returned to Rome.

And waited for the rent to start coming in.



This was the situation in Israel when Jesus told this parable.

He said, "There was a certain householder, who planted a vineyard, and        

hedged it round about, and dug a winepress in it, and built a tower, and         

leased it to tenant farmers, and went into a far country."



This householder is God.

The land of Israel belongs to God.



The vineyard is a Bible symbol for the nation of Israel.

So Jesus was saying, “God owns the land of Israel.”



“And God planted the Jews in Israel.”

We know that God raised up Moses to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt;



That Moses led them to the land of Israel;

That God planted them there.



Later, the Babylonians removed them.

But God replanted them seventy years later.



The hedge around Israel is a symbol of God's protection.

God guarded Israel;



Armed Israel;

Protected Israel.



The winepress is something we need when we have a vineyard that produces fruit.

It means that God was expecting Israel to produce fruit.



The tower is a symbol of God's watching over Israel.

He gave them holy days to help them stay on track;



The Ten Commandments to help them know how to live;

Sacrifices to help them know about the coming Messiah.

The lease is a symbol of God finding others to take over.

He called, and appointed, priests, kings, and men of learning to rule over      




People to guide Israel so it could bring forth fruit and glorify Him.

Then, God went to a far country.



He trusted the Jewish leaders to take care of His vineyard.

He's the good landowner who turns His possessions over to others.



“And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the farmers,         

that they might receive the fruits of it.”

God was very patient.



He didn't stand over the Jewish leaders.

He didn't push them to work hard to produce fruit.



He waited until it was almost time for the harvest.

And when that time came, He sent His servants to receive the rent on His      




He sent His prophets to Israel to find people who loved Him;

People who worshipped Him.



“And the farmers took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and      

stoned another.”

The Jewish leaders mistreated the prophets of God.



They had created their own religious system;

Beautiful rituals;


Pious formalities;

A long list of religious laws;



They wore beautiful robes;

Painted their faces white;



Prayed long prayers;

Built fancy collection boxes.



They reworked God's vineyard.

It looked very impressive from a distance.



But when you got up close and took a good look at their reworked vineyard,

you could see that the vines were void of grapes.

Their massive religious system was mostly show.



Their highly proclaimed services were destitute of true worship.

Their long prayers were prayers of self-exaltation.



They had no true faith in God;

No true repentance of their sins.



They trusted in their own good works;

They instituted the kind of worship they wanted instead of the kind of

worship God wanted.



To make a long story short, the Jewish leaders turned God's well prepared    

vineyard into a patch of barren vines.

They substituted true worship with a system of polished rituals;



A system void of true spirituality.

There was no fruit;



Nothing to give to God's prophets.

So they took the prophets;



Beat some, killed some, stoned some.

They seized the great prophet Jeremiah;



Beat him;

And cast him in prison (Jer. 37:15);



Seized the great prophet Uriah;

Killed him with a sword;



And cast his body into the burial place of the common people (Jer. 26:20-23);

Seized the great prophet Zechariah;



And stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king (II Chron.        


They did harm to God's prophets.



Did God destroy them?




“Again, he sent other servants more than the first;”

“And they did the same unto them.”



God withheld His anger.

He showered them mercy and grace;

Gave them chance after chance.

He sent more prophets;



More than He had ever sent before.

Prophet after prophet stood up for God.



But evil men struck them down again and again.

Did God reject them?




They faked their worship;



Killed the prophets;

Refused to repent of their sins;



Failed to love God;

Failed to love each other.



But God still loved them.

“But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my      




Finally, God sent His only begotten Son;

He said, “Surely, they will reverence Him.”



“Surely, they will pay attention to His loving ways;”

“His great wisdom;”





“His great miracles.”

“But when the farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the




“Come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.“

Jesus was saying that the Jewish leaders would know that He was special.



They would even say among themselves, “This is the heir.”

“This is the One.”



“We have to do something.”

“We have to stop Him.”



“We have get together and kill Him;”

“Unite and seize His inheritance.”



Jesus was saying, “the chief priests and elders of the people would take        

counsel against God's Son to put Him to death.”

“And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.”



That's what happened when the wicked farmers sent soldiers to the Garden of        


They arrested Jesus;



Bound Him;

Tried Him at a phony trial;



Falsely accused Him;

Mocked Him;



Spit on Him;

Stripped Him;



Beat Him;

Condemned Him to die.



They put a cross on His shoulders;

Sent Him to Golgotha;



Nailed Him to that cross.

And let Him die.



They topped off their long bloody careers by abusing and crucifying the Son         

of God.

Then, Jesus had a question for those who heard this parable.



“When the lord, therefore, of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those        


God didn't destroy them when they beat, killed and stoned the first group of




God didn't destroy them when they did the same to the other prophets.

But what will He do to those who kill His own Son?



Jesus was asking His listeners to predict a verdict in this case.

“They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will    

lease his vineyard unto other farmers, who shall render him the fruits in         

their seasons.”



They said, “God will destroy the farmers.”

“God will make them pay for their sins.”

“He will get someone else to tend His vineyard;”

“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which

the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner; this is         

the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?”



Did you ever read about the stones in the Scriptures?

Did you ever read about the Stone the builders rejected?



Did you ever read that God will use that Stone for the cornerstone in a          

building He's making (the Church)?

Jesus said, “Let me tell you a marvelous thing.”



God will permit His only begotten Son to come into this world;

Allow people to beat Him, mock Him, and kill Him;



Allow people to reject Him.

But God will not reject His Son.



God will make His Son the most important Stone in a spiritual building He's  


God's Son will be the cornerstone of that building (the Church).



“Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and        

given to a nation bringing forth the fruits of it.”

He said, “You haven't been bearing fruit so your special relationship with God        

will be cancelled.”



“And it will be given to a people who will bear fruit (the Church).”

God was patient.




He took His time.

He pleaded, again, and again.



But He always expected the Jews to bear fruit.

And when they didn't, He eventually found someone who would.



He let the Jews stop following Him.

He let them get away with their rebellion for a long, long time.



But the day came when He gave them their last chance.

If we don't want to do things God's way, we don't have to.



But the day will come when He will give us our last chance.

Jesus said, “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken,”



“But on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”

This Stone is Jesus.



Everyone will have to face Jesus.

We will cast ourselves upon Jesus for salvation.



Or, Jesus will crush us in judgment.

I want to ask you something.



When did God reject the Jews?

Did He reject the Jews when they rejected the first group of prophets?




Did He reject the Jews when they rejected the other prophets?



Did He reject the Jews when they rejected Jesus?




God rejected the Jews when they rejected Jesus.



He didn't turn His back on them until they turned their backs on Jesus.

This is the point.



God is sending people to us

Preachers, Sunday School teachers, etc.



We can reject every one of them.

We can reject them over and over again.



And God will not turn His back on us.

But if we reject His Son,



And we step into eternity without accepting Him;

God will reject us.



We will either fall on that Stone for salvation.

Or, that Stone will fall on us in judgment.



“And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they         

perceived that he spoke of them.”

The light came on.



At first, the Jewish leaders thought Jesus was talking about someone else.

They wanted others to repent;

Others to live right;

Others to worship right;



Others to do the work;

Others to produce the fruit.



But suddenly they realized that Jesus was saying they were the ones who       

needed to change;

The ones who were faking their relationship with God;



The ones who were not producing fruit.

What would they do?



Would they accept Jesus as God's Son?




They would ignore what He said.

And try to put an end to Him.



They would rather become murderers than face the fact that they needed to   

change their ways.

“But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude,

because they regarded him as a prophet.”



The leaders wanted to kill Jesus on the spot.

But they knew the crowd regarded Jesus as a prophet.



And they were afraid of the crowd.

The crowd hadn't accepted Jesus as the Messiah.



But they knew He was a man of God.

They once said, “If this Man were not of God, He could do nothing”

(Jn. 9:33).



So they knew Jesus was a man of God.

They followed Him.



And because of it, the priests and Pharisees were afraid to kill Him.

I will close with four quick points:



1st---We are the new farmers.

It's our job to see that God's work gets done.



2nd---We can try to produce the kind of fruit we want to produce.

Or, we can try to produce the kind of fruit God wants us to produce.



But God will not accept faulty fruit.

We have to worship Him in spirit and in truth.



And we have to point people to Jesus.

3rd---It's difficult to exhaust the patience of God.



But if we don't produce the fruit God wants,

He will get someone else to do it.



This is why Israel exists today.

Israel exist because the Church is not doing it’s job.


4th---If we have been letting God down, He wants us to change our ways.

He will give us gifts, abilities, opportunities and everything we need to bear   




The message today is, “Become a farmer in God's new vineyard.”

Be a good farmer.



Be the very best farmer you can be.

And you will never regret it.