March 30, 2021 by Leah Daughtry
Time is winding down. Jesus goes to the temple and is met with questions and hostility from the temple’s religious leaders. He responds with parables, which seem to be his favorite teaching method. Which of these parables speaks to you? (Read more of Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 23, 24, and 25.) Why do you think these parables pushed the priests to formally conspire the kill Jesus?
Matthew 21:23-45; 26:5 (CSB)
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority?”
24 Jesus answered them, “I will also ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did John’s baptism come from heaven, or was it of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we’re afraid of the crowd, because everyone considers John to be a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
The Parable of the Two Sons
28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go work in the vineyard today.’
29 “He answered, ‘I don’t want to’ but later he changed his mind and went. 30 Then the man went to the other and said the same thing. ‘I will, sir,’ he answered, but he didn’t go. 31 Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They said, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him.
The Parable of the Vineyard Owner
33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner, who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. He leased it to tenant farmers and went away. 34 When the time came to harvest fruit, he sent his servants to the farmers to collect his fruit. 35 The farmers took his servants, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Again, he sent other servants, more than the first group, and they did the same to them. 37 Finally, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?”
41 “He will completely destroy those terrible men,” they told him, “and lease his vineyard to other farmers who will give him his fruit at the harvest.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruit. 44 Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will shatter him.”[c]
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew he was speaking about them. 46 Although they were looking for a way to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because the people regarded him as a prophet.
The Plot to Kill Jesus
26 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he told his disciples, 2 “You know[bk] that the Passover takes place after two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
3 Then the chief priests[bl] and the elders of the people assembled in the courtyard of the high priest, who was named Caiaphas, 4 and they conspired to arrest Jesus in a treacherous way and kill him. 5 “Not during the festival,” they said, “so there won’t be rioting among the people.”
Today’s Artwork: The Parable About Vineyard Workers by Arsen Birch.