A prophetic parable:
Jesus has just had another encounter with the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders, having thrown out the sellers from the temple. These sellers of approved sacrifices, oils, grains, and wines for various offerings, had the blessings of the leaders who also reaped plenty of gain from the sales. It was a scam as the priests had final say as to whether the offering that was brought in from the outside was kosher or not. Jesus called them a den of thieves, and demanded the temple be called a house of prayer, referring to Isaiah 56.7 Soon afterwards the leaders questioned Jesus about where His authority came from to do the things He did. In typical Jesus fashion He answered their question with a question about John the Baptizer, whether or not he was sent from God. They would not answer for fear of the crowd listening to Jesus’ teaching.
Now Jesus gives them a parable, much like many others He has spoken. “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, then went on a long journey. At the harvest time he sent a servant to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but they beat him and sent him away empty handed.” This happens three times until the owner finally sends his son, assuming they would surely show respect for him. But no, they did even worse, they threw him outside the vineyard and killed him, with faulty reasoning they convinced themselves they could control their future. There would be no harm to come to them.
The parable ends with, “The owner will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.” This is the picture for all to see, that the workers hired were the leaders of Israel, and the first servants sent to them were the prophets that came from God, the owner of the vineyard. As Jesus has stated before, Matthew 23. 35 “the righteous blood of all the prophets from Able to Zecharias is upon your hands.” So now even when God’s own Son is sent to them, and they know it, they will still rebel and consider their ways better, and kill Him in a feeble attempt to preserve themselves. God will reject them and give the vineyard to the gentiles. This is not replacement theology, but Israel is currently set aside until the end days when they will finally cry out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.” They are cut off as a nation, until they welcome the Messiah.
Friends, the end times are upon us, we need to be spiritually aware, and spiritually awake to handle persecution that is already mounting in many nations against Christianity. It was well stated this past week in Bible study: “What you really know about God is what you know when your Bible is shut.” On the street, in your work, at the market, behind the wheel is the real test of a believer. Do you really love your wife, your neighbor, your mechanic, your God? Whom do you serve?