Parables of Jesus – THE WICKED TENANTS

This parable tells the story of vineyard tenants who refuse to show respect to the servants that their landowner sends to collect the fruit of the season. Even when the son is sent, the tenants throw him out of the vineyard and kill him in order to have his inheritance. How does the crowd believe the landowner will react? What insight does this provide for us about the kingdom of God and our duty as his people?


Matthew 21:33-44
33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyardand 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. 34 When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them.37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 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.”

42 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’?

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”


The landowner has hope of reconciliation. He gives the tenants multiple opportunities, his gracious and forgiving manners are beyond comprehension.

When the landowner sends his son, the tenants see him, they know who he is, yet they do not treat him with respect. They refuse to present him their fruit, and rather kill him. If we believe that there is a God, that Jesus is the Son of God, and that God sent him to reconcile with us even after all our rebellion and stubbornness, are we receiving him in the same way these wicked tenants did?

“He will put those wretches to a miserable death…” — This is the answer the crowd gives Jesus when he asks them what they think the landowner will do to the tenants. Are we not deserving of the same punishment?

The GOOD NEWS is that God is patient and long-suffering in waiting for his people to bear the fruit he requires of them, even when they are repeatedly and overtly hostile in their rebellion against him. But we must recognize the incredible gift that he has given us in sending his Son, and receive him accordingly. A day will come when God’s patience is exhausted and those who have rejected him will be cast away from his presence.

“…and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” — God’s purposes will not be thwarted, for he will raise up new leaders who will produce fruit the original ones failed to provide.

Click here to listen to the sermon.


  • What does this parable teach us about the character of God? About his kingdom?
  • Are you producing fruit? Are you keeping it to yourself or presenting it to its rightful owner and source?
  • How are you receiving the Son of God?

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