The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers

Matthew Text: Matthew 21:33-46 Speaker: Festival: Tags: / / / Matthew Passages: Matthew 21:33-46

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Matthew 21:33-46

The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen

(Mark 12.1-12; Luke 20.9-19)

33 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:34and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.35And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.36Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.37But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.38But 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.39And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.40When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?41They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

42 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 marvelous in our eyes?

43Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.44And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

45And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.46But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.


Isaiah begins nearly the same the parable with the implication that this is a love song. And certainly this parable is a love song from the Lord to His people. True it contains also a dire warning if they will not listen, but the fact that Jesus cares enough to warn his people is part of the indication of His great love for them. Remember that this takes place during holy week, just days before his coming death. Yet his concern is not for His death but the death of His people.


The Lord provides everything His people need.

Both parables, the one in Isaiah and in the Gospels, begin the same way with a description of everything the Lord has done for his people.

He planted the vineyard on a fertile hill. He put a wall around it to keep out wild animals and those who might seek to steal the fruit. He dug a winepress. This is no easy thing. A winepress is a large basin and has to be solid stone. So really He chipped a winepress out of stone.  He also built a tower. It was common in that time to build towers and set a guard in them during the time of harvest to make sure that no one came to steal the fruit when it was ripe. All of this is to say the Lord did everything possible to make sure the vineyard thrived.

In the case of Israel we see this intensity of the Lord grace to give them all that they needed. He brought them out of Egypt. He provided for them in the wilderness. He drove the Canaanites out of