33“Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country.34At the time of the grape harvest, he sent his servants to collect his share of the crop.35But the farmers grabbed his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another.36So the landowner sent a larger group of his servants to collect for him, but the results were the same.

37“Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’

38“But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’39So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and murdered him.

40“When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?”

41The religious leaders replied, “He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.”

42Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures?

‘The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.’

43I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit.44Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”

45When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers.46They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.

Jesus again is talking directly to the religious leaders.  The parable is a story of mercy and patience on the part of the landowner…and foolish pride on the part of the tenant farmers.  The warning was clear to the religious leaders, and if they thought for just a minute their guilt would have been clear too.  Jesus makes it plain in the story that he is the Son of God.  He challenges them again to read the Scriptures.  I have no doubt that some of them did read and were saved, but most of them simple got defensive and wanted Jesus arrested.

What is our response to direct criticizism.  Do we consider that it may be right?  Do we wonder if it is a warning from God?

Lord Jesus, open my eyes when I am criticized and soften my heart so I can hear you speak if you are speaking.  Let me not be defensive and angry.  Thank-you for your patience with me and thank-you for the times you have sent people to me who were brave enough to tell me the truth about my ways.  Help me be that person for others, but in your love and patience and kindness. Beginner’s Online Bible Study *obbs*