Matthew 21:33-46 (The Parable of the Wicked Tenants, Part 9)

What does Matthew say the chief priests and Pharisees understood about the parables Jesus was teaching the people?  See Mat 21:45.  What does Luke say they and the scribes sought to do when they understood He was speaking about them?  See Luk 20:19.  What prevented them?  See Mat 21:46; cf. Joh 7:30, 8:20, 17:1.  Should those who serve God unreservedly ever fear that His purposes for them will ever be thwarted or cut short because of the opposition of His enemies?  Cf. Mat 6:27.  As citizens of God’s eternal kingdom with the hope of an imperishable inheritance reserved for us in heaven that will not fade away, what encouragement ought this to give us to serve Him unreservedly and without fear?  Cf. 1Pe 1:3-5.

Was it because Jesus was foretelling the future for the people that they considered Him to be a prophet, or because He was exposing the darkness and calling people back to God with a proclamation and demonstration of the truth that could not be denied?  What does this again help us to understand about a prophet being one who represents God’s interests to His people?  See again Mat 21:34.

How did the reaction of the religious leaders to Jesus’ teaching contrast with that of the people whom they feared and which fear prevented them from seizing Jesus at that very hour?  What lay at the heart of this very different reaction?  See Mat 21:32.  What does this again teach us about the dividing, sifting nature of Christ and His teachings that leave no shadows, middle ground or gray areas where those who are not pure in heart so often seek refuge? See note[1]; cf. Mat 3:12, 10:34-39, Luk 12:51-53, Joh 7:40-52, Act 14:4, 17:4-5, 28:24, Rev 3:15-16.  What is it about Christ that leaves no such shadows in which to hide?  See Joh 1:4-9, 8:12.  What does this help us to understand about why those who are not pure in heart, though they may have a form of godliness on the outside, may react so violently against the gospel call to true repentance, and why ?  Cf. Joh 3:19-21.  What does it also help us to understand about why the greatest opposition to God’s true servants often comes not from without but from within the religious community?  What does it teach us about why those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus cannot help but be hated and ultimately persecuted?  See Mat 5:14, Eph 5:8-13 (see the KJV or NIV for Eph 5:13).

This parable speaks of the Jews and now us Christians as tenant farmers of God’s vineyard; in what way has this been His intention for man from the very beginning?  See Gen 2:8,15.  In what way is the root of man’s sin exactly the rebellion expressed by the tenant farmers in this parable?  What is that root?  Cf. Gen 3:5.  What does this again remind us about the importance of lordship, and the discordant notion that one may look to God for salvation without accepting Him as Lord?  Cf. Luk 6:46-49.  Consider that after God created the heavens and the earth He certainly could have worked the garden He planted Himself, but chose instead to have the man whom He had also created do it so that by sharing in its labors he might also share in its fruits; how is that like us whom He has called into His kingdom as laborers in His spiritual vineyard?  What does this teach us about the manner in which one obtains a heavenly reward?  Cf. Rom 8:17 and consider that we “suffer” with Christ whenever we share with Him in the burdens of the kingdom.  What does it also teach us about those who expect a share in the heavenly fruits of God’s kingdom but refuse to share in its labor?  Cf. 2Th 3:10.

 


1. When those who hear the reproofs of the word, perceive that it speaks of them, if it does not do them a great deal of good, it will certainly do them a great deal of hurt. If they be not pricked to the heart with conviction and contrition, as they were in Acts 2:37, they will be cut to the heart with rage and indignation, as they were in Acts 5:33.  (Matthew Henry).

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