“Listen to another parable,” Jesus said. “There was once a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a hole for the wine press, and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to tenants and left home on a trip. When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent his slaves to the tenants to receive his share of the harvest. The tenants grabbed his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again the man sent other slaves, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all he sent his son to them. ‘Surely they will respect my son,’ he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the owner’s son. Come on, let’s kill him, and we will get his property!’ So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
“Now, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” Jesus asked.
“He will certainly kill those evil men,” they answered, “and rent the vineyard out to other tenants, who will give him his share of the harvest at the right time.”
Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read what the Scriptures say?
‘The stone which the builders rejected as worthless
turned out to be the most important of all.
This was done by the Lord;
what a wonderful sight it is!’
“And so I tell you,” added Jesus, “the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the proper fruits.”
The chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables and knew that he was talking about them, so they tried to arrest him. But they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.
In this parable the vineyard stands for Israel, God’s chosen people. But they act as poor tenants and commit evils against God in this wonderful place he has built for them. God resolves to replace them with new tenants. This is the Church of Christians, the new cornerstone, a new home for the Kingdom of God.
We Christians are but tenants, though, not owners. We are as entrusted with responsibilities of caring for it just as the former tenants were. And this should be the focus of our lives!