The Parables of the Kingdom

Matthew 21:33-46  The Parable of the Landowner 


The setting  involved in the parable of the landowner who planted a vineyard was commonplace in that agrarian society.

A)In New Testament times, the hillsides of Palestine were covered with grape vineyards, which were a mainstay of the economy.


B)It was not unusual for a wealthy man to buy a piece of land and develop it for a vineyard.


C)He would first put a wall of stone or a hedge of briars around it to protect it from wild animals and thieves.


Every vineyard had its wine press.

A)The wine press consisted of two troughs either hollowed out of the rock, or built of bricks;


B)the one was a little higher than the other, and was connected with the lower one by a channel.


C)The grapes were pressed in the higher trough and the juice ran off into the lower trough


D)From there the grape juice would be poured into wineskins or clay jars for storage.


Often the owner would build a tower, which would be used as a lookout post against intruders, as shelter for the workers, and as a storage place.

A)It was also common for a wealthy landowner to rent out his vineyard to  vine-dressers – who would work the vineyard.


B)The landowner would take 2/3 of the proceeds for himself and the Vinedressers or keepers of the Vineyard would receive 1/3  as payment.


C)So this was a picture that the pp were familiar with.


The Meaning of the Parable was also very clear!

A)In several places in the OT like Isaiah ch.5 Israel is presented as God’s Vineyard   RD V.1-7


B)So The Landowner is God. – He planted the vineyard!  -  He Birthed the nation


C)He put a hedge around it starting with Abe – God said I will bless them that bless you & curse them….


D)He gave them the LAW thru Moses – which separated them from the other nations

1)All a part of His hedging


He put a winepress in because He was anticipating fruit.

A)Notice there in v.4 God asks the question what more could I have done for my vineyard …been done


B)It’s a picture of a vineyard where everything has been done by the Master so that the vineyard can be fruitful.    Problem Wild Grapes  { Back to Matthew


C)Leaves it in the hands of the Vinedressers

1)Vinedressers were the religious leaders in Israel.


What Jesus does in the Parable that is different from Isaiah is Isaiah focuses on the fruit

A)But Jesus puts the focus on the vinedressers

      Sense of entitlement – Ownership


B)The Landowner sends His servants to collect the fruit – but the vinedressers reject them

1)The Servants who were sent to collect the fruit were the Prophets


God sent His prophets to the nation:

A)Every time a new voice rose up who wasn’t from their schools / didn’t have their training


B)Prophets who would come calling for the fruits of repentance. – Faith and obedience

1) they were beaten / mocked / killed / stoned / saw in two


C)But God doesn’t just rise up at this pt and slaughter them – Notice v.36

1)Again – that word gives us a picture of amazing grace.


D)One of the principles this parable teaches us is

God’s grace suffers long!


And again – isn’t that a wonderful word

A)God tells you to make a right and you make a left


B)GPS Navigational systems today- wonderful

1)They tell you turn by turn where to go.


C)I have noticed that almost all of them – have woman’s voice – nice voice – Turn left Rob

1)Heard one guy say: “I don’t want one of those – that is all I need another woman telling me how to drive”


D)Biggest tension between my wife and I – My driving.   Another woman telling me ……..




Here is what is great about those navigational systems: If you miss your turn – it says recomputing your course.

A)That is what the Lord is saying when he says again


B)He sends again and again His prophets – finally He sends John the Baptist –

Ch. 21 marks the final week in the life of Jesus

A)Begins with the triumphal entry in Jerusalem

He proceeds to go straight to temple – cleanses it


B)Not w/ a sponge and a broom – this wasn’t spring cleaning

1)Turning over tables and driving money changers out of the place. {House of prayer – den of thieves


C)It is that act that prompts the religious leaders in v.23 to question – his authority – By Who’s …….


D)Jesus responds by asking them about John the Baptist and his authority.

1)In what authority did John come.


In taking them back to the ministry of John, Jesus was not trying to avoid the issue.

A)John had prepared the way for Jesus.. but the religious leaders rejected John’s ministry.


B)Jesus proceeded to tell a story about a man with two sons!                               RD V.28-32


C)The Point was clear Had the rulers received John’s ministry, they would have received Jesus.

 1)Instead, the leaders permitted Herod to arrest John and then to kill him.


2)If they would not accept the authority of John, they would not accept the authority of Jesus; for both John and Jesus were sent by God

D)John was the last of God’s messengers – Now He had sent His Son

1)The Son in the parable is none other than Jesus!


E)Here He is in the temple precincts surrounded by 10’s of thousands of pp He’s taking the religious leaders to task.

1) He is not letting them off the hook!


The parable really begins to transition from the historical to the prophetic in v.37

37 Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' 


In Isaiah – God asked what more could I have done – here is the answer – He sent His Son.

A)He sent the prophets who were mistreated/ scorned and killed –


B)Instead of responding in rage – He sends His son

1)Here He is standing in the midst of them – but they are going to kill Him also


C)The Parable  is a picture of the longsuffering of God and his willingness to keep extending grace


1)But the 2nd thing the Parable teaches is what happens when men continue to reject God’s grace.


D)Answer: Their hearts get harder


Notice the Progression in their dealings with the servants The first servant was beaten – 2nd killed – idea is quick –

A)3rd Stoned – Brutal way to die

Long and very painful – rocks hurdled at you


B)Finally their hearts are so hard that when they see the son – No respect – lets kill Him too


Two reactions to God’s grace!

A)It will either soften you to the voice of God or it will harden you.


B)God is longsuffering – He extends grace to us hoping that His kindness leads us to repentance

1)By extending grace He is giving us room to repent


C)Each time a person rejects that grace or ignores that grace – he is simply running out of room


Sometimes I hear pp who are living in a sinful place – they are in compromise or rebellion

A)They say: Hey it is ok – God is blessing me – things are going well


B)Listen God doesn’t bless sin – AT ALL! –

He can’t & be a holy God


C)God doesn’t bless sin and compromise – but He might extend grace in hopes that His kindness leads you to repentance

D)But if you don’t repent – your heart is getting harder which only means you are running out of room!


So Jesus asked this question: What do you think the vineyard owner is going to do to them … killed his son?

A)They are so engrossed in the story – their answer is going to be a pronouncement of Judgement on themselves.


V.41 They said to Him,"He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons."


B)Interesting how bad my sin looks on someone else

1)David / Nathan Story – Where is the man – killed


C)You are the man!


D)Jesus could have said at this pt – You are the men


E)Takes it one step further!


42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures:

A)He loved to ask the religious leaders that question – kind of a little dig –


B)All they did was read the scriptures - - they would spend hrs a day pouring over the scriptures


C)Unfortunately it was all head and no heart – they only saw in the word what they wanted to see

1)We can be guilty of the same thing!


"Have you never read in the Scriptures:'The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.

This was the Lord's doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes'? 


The Chief cornerstone was not the capstone in an archway – in other words it was not decorative

A)APP Jesus is not to be an ornament in our lives


B)Not a sticker on your work truck or fish in your yellow page add – more business


C)NO the cornerstone was the stone that was laid down first and everything else was built upon it.


Jesus is our CornerStone    Ephesians 2:19-22

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,  in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”


D)Everything else was measured off the Chief cornerstone.


Jesus is our measuring stick –

A)As a Husband – commanded – Love your wife as ..

That is the measuring stick


B)Well I would love her better if she submitted – No that is not the measuring stick

1)It is not based upon – how she is responding


C)It is based on who Jesus is – How Jesus loves –

He is the measuring stick – the standard – the goal



D)Compare myself to other guys – wrong measuring stick 

Wife: Jesus is your measuring stick –

Morality – Jesus is the measuring stick


But another cool thing to realize about the cornerstone is the HT of the building is determined by the strength and size of the cornerstone

A)Our Cornerstone is Huge – He is strong


B)Which means there is no limit as to what we can do thru Him


 Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.


Philippians 4:13

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


Why is it that we settle for Mediocrity?

Marriages that are anemic – far cry from what God intended –

A)1-2 Christian marriages ending in divorce why


B)Given the foundation to build a Skyscrapper – we erect a shack


C)He is the Chief cornerstone – great and marvelous in our eyes – is that the way you see Jesus

1)Great and Marvelous -  


V. 44 – Two reactions to the stone

44 And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder."

Some will stumble on the stone and be broken –

A)Broken of their Pride – humbled –


B)God resist the proud but He gives grace to the Humble   James 4:6


C)Broken to the pt – allow their lives to be built on Jesus - 


Brokenness is Good { Not despise or turn from

A)Jacob – Swindler – deceitful – Broken –becomes Israel – man governed by God


B)Moses broken – tried to take matters into his own hands – rescue – killed – flees – nobody – broken

C)God restores – sends him to Pharaoh –


D)Peter Broken – denied the Lord 3 times – end of His pride – These guys might …..I will never ……


E)Restored – preaches 3,000 saved


But some will resist – The day is coming when that stone will fall on them in Judgment

A)Every knee bow – tongue confess…… Lord


B)Bow now / confess now – or later – later too late


C) That was the story with these religious leaders


Jesus gets very direct here:

43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. 


Principle #4 If you don’t use what has been given to you –you will eventually lose it.

A)The management of God’s vineyard was taken from them and given to the apostles


B)Pentecost -  John 15

John 15:1-6

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.


5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.


5. Jesus expects fruit from His Vineyard!



B)Service / Worship / giving!



45 Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.