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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


4. The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers (Luke 20:9-19)

LUKE 20:09-19
9 Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time. 10 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out. 13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’ 14 But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be our.’ 15 So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.” And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!” 17 Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’? 18 Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” 19 And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people -- for they knew that He had spoken this parable against them.

In the parable of the vineyard, Jesus answered precisely the question of the Sanhedrists, “Who he was”. He confessed that he was the Son of God who comes as the climax at the end of the series of messengers of God. These came in the history of the Old Testament from God his Father to gather the fruit of submission, faith, and love from the Jews.

The vine in the Old Testament is a symbol of the nation Israel (Isaiah 5:1; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15:2; Hosea 10:1; Psalms 80:8). God surrounded his vineyard with the law, put up prophets as its guards, and the altars as a winepress. But the people did not bear the required fruit. The more God sent his prophets to those hard-heartened people, the more shamefully they ill-treated them insulting, striking, and harming those messengers. Not only were they unfruitful, but worse still, they plotted and revolted against God. This was realized in the history of priesthood, elders, chiefs, kings, and even Sanhedrists whom God appointed as responsible vinedressers in his vineyard, for they denied the messengers of the Lord, and after all agreed on beheading John the Baptist.

In spite of all these crimes, God, who was determined to give the last test to his obstinate people, he did not lose patience, and sent them his Son, the Heir of God, who has in himself all the characteristics and authority of his Father. That was Jesus’ answer to the Sanhedrin. He had also foretold what they would do to him. The hatred hidden within their hearts would prompt them to plot against him, how they might kill him, also to rejoice at their victory in destroying the Son of Man, as if in doing that they could dominate the people without God as they wished. In this parable, Jesus described the leaders of the people forcibly and clearly as thieves, murderers and rebels against God, until they all knew his objective, when Jesus asked those around him what they thought the owner of the vineyard would do to the wicked vinedressers. At that time Jesus gave the answer, saying that he would first destroy them and then would give the vineyard to others. In this manner Jesus testified openly that the kingdom of God would be taken from the people of Israel and given to the Gentiles. Thus Christ condemned the unfaithful leaders of the people. The multitude, on their part, cried out with one voice, “God forbid! Let not this be done!” for they realized the exact meaning that Jesus drew the line of final judgment under the history of the people of Israel. They sprang up and expressed utter disapproval of the condemnation of destruction coming on them.

Then Jesus looked at them. He gazed at them, saw the beginning of the horizon of the New Testament, and called himself the Chief Cornerstone in the temple of God, as mentioned in (Psalm 118:22), the same Psalm which also mentions: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (v. 26), and “God is the Lord” (v. 27), the words which the people repeated with rejoicing when they received Jesus a few days earlier, before this conversation.

Jesus called himself the hard stone, on which all his enemies would fall, who did not build themselves as living stones in the holy temple of God. Jesus is the foundation, the power, and the crown in the temple of the New Testament, which is not made up of material stones, but of holy believers who are themselves the holy temple of God. They approach one another in the body of Jesus Christ who is their head. Today, God himself dwells in those who believe in Christ, and not in a house made with hands.

At the end of time, when Christ comes again, apparent with all the power of heavens, he will be like the great stone mentioned in (Daniel 2:34) which will roll at the end of time from its lofty height on its high mountain, crushing with one stroke the great image which represents the union of the world states and religions, and consuming them completely. Whoever opposes Christ will be consumed and destroyed.

The leaders of the nation also grasped the full import of the parable, and became more angry. Yet they were cowards, for they feared the faithful followers of Jesus. The leaders in their craftiness lurked to seize Jesus unexpectedly and kill him privately, without being seen or noticed.

What about you? The Son of God is standing before you, requesting the fruit of your life for God his Father. Will you commit yourself as a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise, or will you run away and join his killers? Will you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and commit yourself as a living stone that he may place you in the temple of the Holy Spirit? Otherwise he will crush you at the end of time. If Jesus asked you today, what would you answer him?

PRAYER: O Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, I believe in your divinity, and unity with God the Father, and commit myself entirely to you, once and forever. Seal my dedication with your Holy Spirit that I may live with you forever, carry out your will, become comforted with the experience of forgiveness, and serve you with the saints, that we may be filled with the fruits of love, joy, purity and peace. Amen.

QUESTION 120: What are the principles of the redemptive plan of God revealed by Jesus in the parable of the wicked vinedressers?


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