The Parable of the Tenants

The Parable of the Tenants looks like God might be short tempered and vengeful.  As an allegory of God’s workings with Israel it is a sign of grace and patience.  The owner of the land, God, has every right to expect a harvest from his land.  The conduct that the tenants exhibit towards the owner’s servants could have resulted in swift and damning justice.  However, God sends his most beloved son and they kill him.  Only after this must justice be met.  So often today people look past God’s patience and sustenance through the years and show no gratitude or service.  Only when the consequences of sin ravage our lives do we think of God and then it is in anger that our tranquility has been disturbed.

Luke 20:9-19

 9 He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. 10 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. 12 He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.

   13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’

   14 “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

   “What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

   When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!”

 17 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’[a]?

   18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

 19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.


  1. To whom is Jesus telling this parable?
  2. How do the owner’s messengers increase with importance?
  3. Why is it foolish to kill the son?
  4. Why would the tenants have been pleased with themselves?
  5. How do enemies of God today think they are clever when they are in danger?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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