One day Jesus told the people a parable, which is a story with a meaning. This parable was about a man who bought some land for a big yineyard.
The owner carefully planted all the grapevines, and he planted a hedge around it to keep animals out, and made a winepress for pressing the juice out of the grapes for making wine, and he built a tower. From the tower, people would keep watch to make sure no-one crept in to steal the ripe grapes. Then he leased the vineyard to some people to manage it for him, and went a long way away to another country.After a while, the grapevines had grown, and it was nearly the time to pick the grapes; so he sent some of his servants to be responsible for the grapes. When the servants arrived, the managers beat up one of them, another they killed, and another one they stoned. So the owner sent another lot of servants, and the managers did just the same to them.
Finally, the owner decided that he would send his only son, who in time would be the owner of the vineyard himself, because, he said, "They will respect my only son."
But when the owner's son arrived, the managers whispered to each other, "This is the one who will own the vineyard, so if we get rid of him too, then the vineyard will belong to us!" So they grabbed him, and took him outside the vineyard and killed him there.
When Jesus finished telling this story, he said to the people around him,
"When the owner comes to the vineyard, what do you think he will do to those managers he left in charge?"
They replied, "He will kill those managers, and give the vineyard to others to look after, who will give him the grapes."
Jesus then went on to tell them the meaning behind the story. He told them that God was the owner of the Jews (the vineyard), and he was the only son of the story, which the managers killed. The servants in the story were the prophets (in the Old Testament) who God had sent to them. He himself was God's only Son who had been sent by God to plead with the Jews to obey God, and Jesus knew that the Jews would not listen, and they would have him killed. Jesus also knew that after he had been crucified, God would give the Gentiles (people of other nations) the opportunity to know and obey the gospel and receive salvation.
The rulers of the people, who were listening, realized that Jesus had told the story against them, and they were angry.
You can read this story for yourself in Matthew 21 verses 33 to 46.
See if you can answer these questions:
1. What is a parable?
2. Who were the real servants who were killed, which Jesus spoke about in the story?
3. Who was the real son in the story?
4. What was going to happen to the real son?