Intro. The day after Jesus made the triumphant entry into Jerusalem He went into the Temple and cast out those who were selling theirmerchandise. He said, "It is written, My house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves." The next few days Jesus was teaching in the Temple and on one of those days the religious counsel made up of the chief priests, and the scribes, and elders came to Jesus and demanded of Him by what authority did He drive out those that were merchandising in the temple, and who gave Him that authority? It was then He asked them about John's baptism, was it of God or of man?
I. THE PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD.
A. The minute He said vineyard, they knew that He was talking about Israel, for many times in the scriptures Israel was likened to God's vineyard.
1. The first to use it was Asaph in Psalm 80
Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;
And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch [that] thou madest strong for thyself.
2. Isaiah next took up this figure of speech.
Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; [and] break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts [is] the house of Israel, and he men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
B. A certain man planted a vineyard, and leased it out to husbandmen and went into a far country for a long time.
1. God is the one that planted the vineyard.
2. The husbandmen that God had intrusted to care for the vineyard were the priests and the religious leaders.
3. The duty of the husbandmen was to take care of the vineyard so that it might bring forth fruit for the Lord.
C. When the time came for harvest, He sent His servant to collect, from the husbandmen, the fruit of the vineyard.
1. Jesus said that the husbandmen beat the servant and sent him away empty.
2. The servants are the prophets. Stephen asked these religious leaders a little later, "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?"
3. The children of Israel greatly mistreated the true prophets of God. They honored and listened to the false prophets.
But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till [there was] no remedy.
Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.
In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.
Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that [were] in the high gate of Benjamin, which [was] by the house of the LORD.
If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, [saying], I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.
C. He sent another servant, and they beat him also, they treated him shamefully and sent him away empty.
D. He sent a third servant whom they wounded and sent away empty.
E. He then decided to send His beloved Son, saying surely they will reverence Him when they see Him.
F. When the husbandmen saw the Son, they reasoned among themselves, saying, "This is the heir, let us kill Him and the vineyard shall be ours."
1. They had already had discussions on how they might take Jesus and put Him to death.
2. They had said that it was expedient that one man must die, to preserve their positions.
3. JOH 11:48
If we let him thus alone, all [men] will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
4. They were already reasoning among themselves how they might take Jesus and kill him.
H. Jesus said that they cast Him out of the vineyard and killed Him.
1. This of course was a prophecy that was fulfilled in a couple of days.
2. Before this week would end, Jesus would be hanging upon the cross.
II. THE QUESTION, "WHAT WILL THE LORD OF THE VINEYARD DO TO THEM?"
A. He will destroy these husbandmen, and give the vineyard to others.
1. Their response was "God forbid."
2. The very thing that they were trying to preserve, their power and positions over the people, they were going to lose.
a. He who seeks to save his life will lose it.
b. So often the very thing that keeps a person from yielding their life to Jesus, the thing they are unwilling to give up, is something that they lose anyhow.
B. He then quoted to them a part of a psalm that they would soon be singing at the Passover feast, one of the Hillel psalms, 118.
1. The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.
2. They were the builders, the religious leaders, and they were rejecting the Stone that God was sending to be the chief corner stone.
III. THE STONE OR ROCK WAS USED AS A SYMBOL FOR GOD IN THE POETIC IMAGERY.
Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
[He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he.
Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me.
For thou [art] my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, [and] established my goings.
I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock [that] is higher than I.
He only [is] my rock and my salvation; [he is] my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.
To shew that the LORD [is] upright: [he is] my rock, and [there is] no unrighteousness in him.
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Paul in speaking of the rock that Moses smote in the wilderness that brought forth water to their fathers who were dying of thirst said,
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty [God] of Jacob; (from thence [is] the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
B. Referring now to that Stone that the builders were rejecting, He said,"Whosoever shall fall upon that Stone shall be broken, but upon whomsover it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
1. Perhaps Jesus here is thinking of Daniel's prophecies.
Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet [that were] of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
2. If you will cast yourself today upon the mercies of Jesus Christ, your arrogance, and pride will be broken, and you will be saved.
3. If you stand firm and irresolute, in your sin, there will come a day when that Stone will fall upon you and you will be ground to powder.
4. The judgment of God will soon fall upon this earth, and when it begins, no one will be able to hide, but will be ground to powder. The book of Revelations gives us a preview.
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?