The Wicked Husbandmen
THE PARABLE OF THE WICKED HUSBANDMEN
(Matthew 21:33-45; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-18)
INTRODUCTION: This, and the following three parables which will conclude this series, were spoken in Jerusalem, after Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into the city. The events from that point marked the beginning of the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The conflict had reached its climax; confrontation was frequent. “The hour” had come!
Let us study the parable by noticing:
(1) The story told
(2) The indignation of the audience
(3) The application.
I. The Parable (33-39)
A. A householder (landlord) - very common for a landlord to rent out his land on the “share-cropping” plan, while he lived in another place.
1. The land on this occasion was a vineyard, a common illustration in the Old Testament for the nation of Israel (see Isa. 5:1).
2. This parable is nearly an allegory.
a. The landowner (householder) represents God.
b. The tenants represent the leaders of the Jewish nation. (cf. Zech. 1).
c. The servants of the householder represent the prophets, who were sent by the Lord to declare
his will to the people.
d. The son (beloved son, Lk. 20:13) represents Jesus.
B. This parable shows that Jesus knew of his approaching death.
1. There were many occasions when he predicted his death.
a. Jn. 2:19-22 - “Destroy this temple...”
b. Jn. 3:14; 8:28; 12:32.
c. Mt. 12:40 - sign of Jonah.
d. Mt. 16:21-23 - showing the disciples that he would suffer.
e. Jn. 10:17 - “Therefore doth my father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.”
2. The crucifixion was not an accident, but was “according to the determinate council and foreknowledge of God.”
II. The Indignation of the Audience (40,41)
A. Jesus asks the question of the audience.
1. Again, a marvelous example of Jesus’ teaching method!
2. The lesson was so clear, there was no possibility of a misunderstanding.
B. The audience was indignant with the husbandmen.
1. “...those wicked men...”
2. Their destruction would be well deserved!
3. Their sin was in withholding that which rightfully belonged to the householder.
4. Note: was not their reaction similar to that of David, when Nathan told him the parable of the man with the little ewe lamb, which was stolen by the rich man?
III. Jesus’ Application of the Lesson (42-45)
A. “Did ye never read the Scriptures...?”
1. Quotes Ps. 118:22 (also quoted in Acts 4:11; 1 Pet.2:7).
2. The stone which was once rejected is made the “head of the corner,” the most important stone in the foundation!
B. That stone is a destroying power!
1. Those who reject it will be rejected!
2. Those who try to destroy it will be destroyed!
C. “The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you.”
1. The Jews showed themselves unworthy.
2. The shameful treatment of the righteous men of the past was a disgrace to them. (Mt. 23:29-36).
3. But, the crowning point of their sinfulness came with the crucifixion of the Son! (Acts 2:23).
D. The point was not lost on the Pharisees (v.45)!
Conclusion: While this parable has a primary application to the attitude of the Jews and their punishment, there are some lessons to be learned: (1) The great love of God in sending His Son; (2) the unique relationship of Jesus to God- “the beloved Son;” the “heir,” to whom belongs the inheritance (see Heb. 1:3); (3) that the patience of God, great as it is, can be exhausted with men.