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The parable of the Vineyard is found in three gospels: Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; and Luke 20:9-19. Let’s consider Mark 12:1-12 which reads, “Then He began to speak to them in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others. He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them saying, They will respect my son. But those vine-growers said to one another, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours! They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. Have you not even read the Scripture: The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief cornerstone; This came about from the LORD, and it is marvelous in our eyes?’ And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away” (NASB).

The main characters in the parable are:

1) The MAN, who represents GOD the FATHER;

2) The VINEYARD is ISRAEL;

3) The VINE-GROWERS are the RELIGIOUS LEADERS;

4) The SLAVES picture the PROPHETS; and

5) The SON is the LORD JESUS.

Before the Lord Jesus presented Himself to the nation as their Messiah, God had repeatedly sent prophets and they were either beaten or killed. Finally God sent His beloved Son and with enmity in their hearts they conspired to kill Him. In this parable the Lord Jesus was predicting His own death and exposing His murderers! In verse 9 He announces God’s judgment upon them for their act of murder and then in verses 10-11 He reveals that their rejection of Him had been foretold in Psalm 118:22-23. In verse 12 we see that they clearly “understood that He spoke the parable against them,” and yet their intense hatred for Christ compelled them to try to seize Him. They no doubt would have tried to kill Him at that time, but because “they feared the peoplethey left Him and went away.” Their consciences were apparently touched, but their hearts were unreached! This is the main lesson before us, dear friends. Unless the grace of God reaches and changes the HEART of man, they will continue to reject God and His beloved Son, and they will also reject all those who bear witness of Him.  (153.4)  (DO)