“What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others” (Luke 20:15-16, NASB).
Jesus told a parable of a man who planted a vineyard and then leased it to tenants to work it for him. After a while the owner of the vineyard sent servants to the tenants to collect a portion of the fruit in payment on the lease, but the tenants beat the servants and sent them away without payment. Finally, the owner sent his son thinking the tenants would respect him. Instead, they killed him because he was the heir and they wanted to inherit the vineyard for themselves.
In these verses Jesus asked those listening how the owner should resolve his problem and then answered His own question: he would destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others! The meaning of the parable was obvious to those who heard it–the owner of the vineyard was God and the tenants were the priests and scribes, the spiritual leaders of the Jews (vs. 19).
But, the meaning of the parable should not be lost on those of us today who are stewards of God’s grace–individually or collectively. When we get so focused on our own good works and neglect the One we are working for, we can develop a false sense of entitlement like the wicked tenants who claimed ownership of the vineyard and all they produced from it.
“The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence” (Isaiah 5:7, NLT).
In the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus told a parable about a landowner who planted a vineyard (Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19). In the minds of its hearers this parable was a familiar Old Testament theme that alluded to Isaiah’s song of the vineyard in Isaiah 5 (see also Psalms 80:6-16).
In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a number of “second-coming” parables, one of which is the well-known and oft-quoted Parable of the Talents.
In this parable a man makes an extended trip to a far country so he entrusts his servants with some of his financial resources to invest while he is away. He gives one servant five talents (talent was a unit of weight, about 75 pounds, to measure coinage and now is used to indicate an ability), one two talents, and the other one talent.