What rhetorical question does Jesus ask in Mat 21:40 about the obvious consequences of the vine-growers misguided actions? Does He say, “If the lord of the vineyard comes…”? Notice that the Greek word used communicates both the certainty that the lord will come, but an indefiniteness as to exactly when; how is this just like the promised coming of the Lord? See Mat 24:36-39, 1Th 5:1-3. How was this just like the coming of the Lord in judgment upon the Jewish nation? How long was it after the vine-growers killed the Lord of the vineyard’s Son that He brought “those wretches to a wretched end”? During those forty years of an entire generation—half a lifetime, and for many the last half of their lifetime—might those wretches have been deceived to suppose they had gotten away with it and the Lord would never return to dispense justice and claim what was His? In what way is this like many people and nations today in regard to their many sins? Cf. 2Pe 3:3-4. In regard to our own sins and the sins of our nation, should our thoughts ever be, “if the Lord comes…”? Rather, should they not be, “Whenever the Lord comes, and it is certain that He will…”? What fear ought such a realization to impart to the hearts of a people? See Psa 90:11, Nah 1:5-6, Mat 25:46, Mar 9:43-48, Luk 12:5, Act 17:31, Heb 10:27,31. Is that a bad thing? Cf. Pro 1:7, 9:10, 19:23.
Besides acting in judgment upon those who would not pay Him the proceeds of the vineyard, what else is indicated about what the lord of the vineyard would do to make his venture successful? See Mat 21:41. Who do those other vine-growers represent? Cf. Act 13:46, 18:6, 28:28. Did the Jews in their wildest imaginations have any notion that they could be replaced as God’s people by Gentiles—i.e., non-Jews? Consider their religious pride that caused them to assume that if God was to have a people it had to be from among them, and God could not and would not cut them off because then what would He do for a people? Cf. Exo 32:7-14, Num 14:11-19. But is this really the case? Because God is patient and long-suffering does that mean He is dependent upon us to accomplish His purposes, or at a loss for what to do if those whom He has called are unfaithful and fail in regard to that for which they are called? Cf. Num 14:20-23,26-38, Mat 3:8-9. What does this teach us about any notions we might have that God needs us and is obligated to tarry indefinitely with us regardless of our frowardness (willful and chronic contrariness, habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition)? Cf. Rom 11:19-23,25. Especially at this present time in history, is it possible that the “times of the Gentiles” (Luk 21:24) are nearly fulfilled? Cf. Heb 2:1-3, 12:25.
What was the reaction to Jesus’ words by those who understood that He was saying that the special relationship God had with the Jewish nation would be taken away from them and given to others who would bear the fruit He was looking for? See Luk 20:16. How did Jesus support His claim? See Luk 20:17, Mat 21:42. From where does Jesus quote this Scripture, and what is its significance? See Psa 118:22 in the context of Psa 118:24-29; cf. Mat 21:9,15 and also recall that Psalm 118 is the last psalm of the Hallel (as in Hallelujah) that included Psalms 113-118, which were sung as songs of joy and praise at Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles, Hanukkah, and the new moons, so that all the Jews would have known these psalms by heart, having sung them regularly all their lives. See also Mat 26:30 and note that these verses would have been the last words sung by Jesus and his disciples shortly before his arrest and crucifixion. What does the complete familiarity of the religious leaders with this Scripture that foretold exactly what they themselves would do indicate about God’s sovereignty in the affairs of men even in the midst of their opposition to His will? Considering the astonishment of the people, what is the significance that Matthew and Mark also record Jesus as quoting Psa 118:23? See Mat 21:42 and think: in what sense was such a thing “marvelous” in their eyes? Cf. Hab 1:5-6, Act 13:38-46. What does this help us to understand about the power of the religious delusion that had laid hold of them so that they could not conceive of such a thing happening to them? Is it possible that a similar delusion could lay hold of Christians in the last days? See Mat 24:4,11,24, 2Th 2:9-12, 1Ti 4:1, 2Ti 4:3-4.