One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders and said to him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?” He answered them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell me: Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” They discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. Then Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Heaven forbid!” But he looked at them and said, “What then does this text mean:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” When the scribes and chief priests realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.
See, if the Pharisees had just paid closer attention to this parable, they would have known exactly what authority Jesus taught on. The owner of the vineyard is God, and the tenants are the people of the world, but more specifically the Jews if you want to really read into it the way the Pharisees did. The slaves are the prophets, Elijah, Isaiah, and John perhaps, and Jesus is the son. He not only told them exactly who He was, but that He knew what they would do to Him. But the Pharisees weren’t brave enough to do anything or even to say anything in front of the people. So as we keep reading they will continue to try and catch Jesus in verbal traps.
The thing I find most outrageous is how the Pharisees say “Heaven forbid!” about the son being killed (and the father’s retaliation), but then just moments later want to kill Jesus. How blind we can be to our own sins! But the minute we find ourselves saying “I am free from _____” is the minute we open ourselves up to this sin in our ignorance.
At one point in my life I thought I was pretty immune to jealousy, which looking back is completely absurd. I have always been envious, especially of how effortlessly other girls seem to look so polished and grown up. And, let’s be completely honest, how pretty they are, and skinny, and their hair doesn’t go crazy the second they step outside, and they know how to dress themselves. Like I said, it was an absurd idea. But that jealousy didn’t really manifest in the ways I expected it to, and didn’t really cause me to act any differently, so I didn’t see it. So I started congratulating myself for being rid of that particular obstacle. I remember posting on facebook “I don’t really have a problem with jealousy, except of how quickly my husband falls asleep!”. Dumb. Almost immediately after that the jealousy monster started to hit hard. The people I knew from college were all getting these awesome jobs, buying houses, getting dogs, and basically living the dream, while I was sitting in the cheapest apartment we could find, unemployed, driving the car my dad sold me for $300. It’s easy to see why I was jealous. Would anyone not be? But because I thought I had a handle on it, I never fought it. And so my jealousy became debilitating. It started to make me feel depressed and hopeless. If I had just acknowledged my feelings, with God’s help I believe I could have prevented them from growing worse. But I didn’t, and I am still struggling to heal from the worst blows today, which is hard when they seem to reopen every couple of months as the jealousy monster and the bad news monster work together to hit me again.