We continue the story of the assault of the Jewish leaders against Jesus in the Temple courtyards; we pick up from last time with the chief priests and teachers of the law, the best and the brightest, on the ropes. Jesus finishes them off with a little story about a vineyard…
The owner of the vineyard hired some tenants to operate the vineyard; He has gone away. At harvest time he sends a servant to collect his portion of the harvest, but the tenants beat him up and kick him out. The owner sends two more servants with the same result. The owner decides to send his son for surely those tenants will respect his son.
The tenants see an opportunity; they reason that if they kill the son, they will inherit the vineyard themselves. They murder him. When the owner hears of this what will he do?
He will go to the vineyard and kill the tenants!
“Heaven forbid” say the people in the crowd, and Jesus poses a question:
Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” (20:17-18)
The best and the brightest knew exactly what the meaning was…
God was the owner. The vineyard was Israel, the servants were the prophets, Jesus is the son and they were the tenants!
They desperately wanted to seize Jesus right then and there, but they were afraid of the crowd, for they had utterly failed in their attempt to turn the crowd against Him: They withdrew…