As if that were not enough to kindle their indignation to a fever pitch, the Lord immediately proceeded to another, more forceful, parable.  This one is very plain and very striking.  To my mind, it shows that God’s authority on earth was not taken just from Israel’s religious leaders, but that Israel itself was cast out entirely, and the “other husbandmen” mentioned in verse 41 refers to the ministers of the New Testament church.

The householder in this parable is God, and the vineyard is the professing church of God, which at that time was still almost exclusively Israel (the vineyard was a frequent type of Israel in the Old Testament).  The husbandmen to whom the vineyard is let out are the civil and ecclesiastical rulers of the nation.  The husbandmen who are sent to gather the fruit are the prophets and messengers of God.  But these were not received by the kings of Israel, nor by the religious establishment.  Occasionally we will find a Hezekiah reverencing the prophet Isaiah, but more often we find murderers of the prophets such as Ahab and Joash.  Those messengers of God had no enviable lot, for, as Christ says, they were beaten, killed by various means, and sometimes stoned.  Even Moses was often under threat of his life before the rebellious congregation.  Their disposition did not improve over time.  

The son sent at the last is God the Father sending His only begotten Son to the nation of Israel, fulfilling the promises for which the nation had waited so long.  But the rulers viewed Christ as a threat, and feared He would assume their position of authority, thus displacing them.  If only they could move this usurper out of the way, so they thought, they would maintain their positions indefinitely.  Therefore, they caught the Son, cast Him out of the vineyard, and slew Him.  Thus was the Lord Jesus arrested, led outside Jerusalem, and nailed to a cross to die. 

How will God, the Lord of the vineyard, react to such shocking behavior?  Christ’s enemies themselves offer the answer: “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.”  This God did after Christ’s resurrection, establishing the apostles as the first guides of His new vineyard.  But the parable was only completely fulfilled when the armies of Titus came in and destroyed the wicked husbandmen in 70 A.D.  The stone which those wicked builders rejected became the head cornerstone of God’s true church, a thing which is marvelous in the eyes of all His true people.  The kingdom of God has forever been taken away from the Jewish religious leadership, and given into the hands of the Gospel ministers, who labor diligently in the vineyard, and yield to the Lord the fruit thereof.  Those who oppose the Lord of the church must be broken or ground to powder.

Not surprisingly, this very plain parable greatly inflamed the Lord’s enemies.  Some of Christ’s parables were dark and mysterious, but this one was plain enough for a simpleton to understand.  The chief priests and Pharisees quickly grasped His meaning, and were filled with murderous rage.  But there in the presence of the multitude they dared not act, for the people gathered around Christ perceived Him to be a prophet, and would certainly have taken His side were any violence offered to His person.

Advertisements