The Gospels – The Gospel According to Matthew
The parable about the fate of prophets and His own death
Matthew 21:33-44 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
The parable of the wicked husbandmen is one of the most poignant in the Bible. Here Jesus Christ painted the picture of His earthly Life and Activity and the fate to befall the perpetrators for what was to befall Him. He painted the whole picture of the history of mankind with their penchant for killing the prophets sent to them.
The vineyard is the World of Matter. The husbandmen are human beings and the householder was the Lord. His servants are the prophets and the son is Jesus, the Son of God. It is one of the most moving parables and it depicted the picture of God letting out the world of matter for human spirits to use for their development and this is exactly what it is. We are nothing but guests in material creation. It has temporarily been let to us for use for the development of our abilities. God sent in prophets to teach us of His Laws but instead of listening to these prophets, we tortured and killed and in the final analysis when God sent His Own Son, we did exactly the same.
The fate of mankind is already obvious through this deed in that those who perpetrated this dastardly crime would be destroyed and the Kingdom of God given to those who are now prepared to serve Him in truth. It is difficult to see the role for a propitiatory sacrifice in all this. It was clearly not in the will of the vineyard owner to have his son killed. He sent his son in the expectation that perhaps through the moral authority that this son has, he might be able to persuade these people to pay their rents. In the same way through the moral authority of Jesus as the Son of God, we were expected to receive Him and obey Him. But as the case with the vineyard owner’s son we killed the Son of God.
In the same way that the inheritance that was to be that of the workers in the vineyard was taken away from them because of their wicked act, the inheritance that was to be Israel’s as first amongst nations has been taken away through this dastardly crime against the Love of God. With this crime, the calling of the people of Israel was revoked and given to other peoples. The opinions of men are of no consequence in this matter. What men think of themselves has nothing to do with what the God thinks of them. These are completely different issues. For a long time now these have been two different worlds in which mankind have through their arrogance tried to create a world that is totally divorced from reality and the spiritual. Mankind for a long time has been living in a dream. The reality of how things really stand will soon be made known to them. He who would set himself against this Word of God and His Will would be crushed to pieces. He who would dare to set Himself against the Power of the God will be crushed. Hence the destruction of the bad husbandmen.
Matthew 21:45-46 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. (46) But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
Enraged, the clerics would like to do nothing better than to arrest Jesus right then and there and have Him executed. His accusation of them was becoming unbearable and the feeling of powerlessness that this engenders can only fan their hatred the more. They planned and schemed His destruction. He was too troublesome. He now even had the people by His side and it would not be long before they would no longer feel the need to follow the traditions of their fathers of which they were self-appointed custodians.