Parable Of The Wicked Husbandmen » FLATIMES
Deeper Christian Life Ministry – Search The Scripture 26 February 2023 (Lesson 51)
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TOPIC: Parable Of The Wicked Husbandmen (STS 26 February 2023)
MEMORY VERSE: “And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, That he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. and they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty” (Mark 12:2,3)
TEXTS: Matt 21:28-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19
A parable is a story that teaches moral. But the parables of the Bible, according to an old definition are “earthly sayings with heavenly meanings.” Our Lord Jesus Christ used many parables to give life- enriching messages to enhance the understanding of His audience. Christ’s method was so effective, that even the officers that were sent by His detractors to arrest Him came back saying, “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46). All the parables were quite simple, straightforward and life-changing. He used most of these parables to teach many important aspects of the Kingdom life. As Christ’s message was simple and clear, believers and preachers of the gospel should ensure that they make the gospel message straight and simple so that all hearers may have the opportunity to understand and be led to Christ, the Saviour. Meanwhile, in the parables under consideration, He gave a sad commentary on the Jewish stewardship of the vineyard of Almighty God. The entire study is naturally subdivided into three sessions which are: the parable of the two sons (Matt 21:28-32), the parable of the wicked husbandmen (Matt 21:33-44) and the reaction of the council of elders who tried to denounce the authority of Christ (Matt 21:45,46)
1. PARABLE OF THE TWO SONS
Matt 21:.28-32; Luke 15:11-32; Ezek 18:21,22; John 4:34
“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, 1 will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir; and went not” (Matt 21:28-30). In this parable, our Lord Jesus Christ addressed those who were bent on trapping Him in His speech. They were determined to find fault with Him by all means. Here, He painted a picture of the chief priests and the elders. The parable represented two kinds of persons: the disobedient and the obedient. The son who said: “I go, sir: and went not” represented the scribes and Pharisees who professed to know God, but never obeyed Him. The son who said: “I will not” but repented and went, represented the publicans and the sinners. Like the second son, there are people who speak good words and make fair promises but go no further. The Lord commands us to be doers of His word and not hearers only (Ezek 33:31; James 1:22). God expects unconditional and prompt obedience to His word. The command to “go work to day in my vineyard” entails that the call to preach the gospel requires practical and immediate obedience. We must launch out with our gospel nets today to catch men for Christ because the night comes when no man can work (John 9:4). The Lord has promised to reward our efforts (1 Cor 15:58; Rev 22:12).
2. PARABLE OF THE WICKED HUSBANDMEN
Matt 21:33-44; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-18
“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” (Matt 21:33). The Lord used the Imagery of the vineyard in this parable to speak directly to the children of Israel and their leaders. The vineyard represents the children of Israel (Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:8-16; Jer 2:21); the householder represents God; while the hedge around the vineyard represents the law, the statutes and the ordinances that God gave them. The law accounts for their distinctiveness amongst other nations and it is the hedge of God around them. God planted Israel in the land of Canaan and handed over the nation to the judges, chief priests and elders within their tribes. These were the husbandmen, then cultivators. They were to make the children of Israel bring forth fruits of equity, justice, judgment, praise, worship, love, righteousness and acceptable sacrifice of sweet smelling savour unto the Lord. But the leaders of Israel did not lead the people in the right way. They did not appropriately and adequately teach the law. The people therefore, went astray. This made the Lord to send prophets to them so that they could lead the people back to Him. “And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise” (Matt 21:34-36). Here, our Lord briefly and appropriately captured the attitude of the leaders of the people to the prophets. He clearly shows the persecution of heaven-recognised servants. The persecution consists of their beating by degenerate Israel. Right from the time of the kings, they had always accepted the false prophets; while they rejected the true messengers from God (2 Chro 24:20,21; 2 Kings 6:30,31; Heb 11:32,36-38).
Backslidden Christians do the same today. A backslider mocks and criticises the people of God and His word. The uniform testimony of the Scripture is that what the backslidden Israel did will be repeated by the backslidden, apostate church at the close of the age. They will accept false prophets and reject the true prophets of God (Matt 24:11, 2; 2 Tim 4:3,4). When your heart becomes critical against the word of God and those who teach it, it is a sign of backsliding and degeneration. You may then begin to persecute those who are in the faith. Believers should focus on the word of God and be followers of exemplary leaders and preachers of the Word. One quality stands out in the life of the servants sent by the householder. Although they were persecuted, abused, stoned, misused, reproached and even killed, they stayed at their posts. Moses, Joshua, David, Jeremiah, Amos, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stayed at their duty posts. Several others in the New Testament like John, Paul, Stephen and Philip did not abandon their calling even when they were persecuted.
Believers should resist temptation, endure trials and stand for Christ even in the face of fierce opposition to their faith. “But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying. They will reverence my son. 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. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him” (Matt 21:37-39). Here, the Lord talks about Himself and His position as the rejected Son. He knew that the people standing before Him would persecute Him but with calmness, He kept on in the mission the Father gave Him. This is a lesson for the church. We must not fear them which “kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28). Jesus spoke prophetically that He would be killed. God wanted the Heir of all things to be honoured and heeded. But Israel would not. They plotted, schemed and killed the Son of God. This evil was not committed ignorantly. They accepted full responsibility for the consequences of their action by saying, “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matt 27:25).
“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? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matt 21:42-44). Those who reject the doctrines of the word of God on restitution, sanctification, divorce and remarriage, etc. should beware lest the ‘Rock of offence’ fall on them. Those who reject the ministers of the gospel should also beware lest they reject the Fountain from where the Lord satisfies their thirst. Sinners and backsliders must turn to the Lord today; “fall on this stone” and be broken. For “a broken and a contrite heart… God wilt not despise.” But for those who hold on to their sin till the judgment day, the Stone shall fall on them and grind them to powder. They will suffer eternally in hell.
3. THE PITIABLE RESPONSE OF THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES
Matt 21:45,46; Luke 20: 19; 2 Kings 17:14; Neh 9:16, 17; Jer 19:15; Heb 3:13; 2 Tim 4:3
“And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.” The reaction of the chief priests and scribes depicts the pitiable condition of hardened sinners. Instead of turning away from their evil ways, they were infuriated and sought for a way to kill Christ. They did not allow the Saviour’s message to effect the necessary transformation in their lives. Hardened sinners and backsliders still act like the chief priests and scribes. Although they are exposed to the undiluted word of God, they reject faithful preachers and their message which is capable of saving their souls.
But people who persecute God’s ministers or servants because of their stand for righteousness cannot escape God’s judgment except they repent. It is important for us to draw lessons from these parables as pilgrims on our way to heaven. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom 15:4). we should always maintain a positive disposition any time we hear God’s word. The Lord wants us to be sincere and accept His correction and rebuke.
QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW:
- What was Christ’s reason for using parables in His teachings and what can we learn from it?
- What should be the response of believers to God’s word?
- Why is every believer expected to engage in soul-winning now?
- In the parable of the wicked husbandmen, what do vineyard, householder, hedge and husbandmen symbolise?
- What should be the attitude of believers to persecution?
- What should be sinners’ and backsliders’ attitude to God’s word?
- Why should we be faithful as servants of God?
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