Parable of Murder Mystery

Matthew 21:33-44

Jesus continues telling parables. This one is about a landowner who rented his vineyard to tenants. At the time of harvest the owner sent servants to collect the fruit but the tenants rejected and killed them. After sending more servants with the same response the owner sent his own son to collect. He was certain the tenants would have respected the heir to the vineyard. However, the tenants responded with greed and arrogance. They ignored the landowners authority and treated him with contempt.

This story relates to the nation of Israel and their response to Jesus. Throughout history God sent messengers and prophets to proclaim God’s message of repentance, faith and obedience to God. Each prophet experienced levels of rejection and most met the same response as those in the parable. In the fullness of time, God sent his Son to declare God’s truth only to be rejected and murdered at the hands of the religious leaders. God will judge the nation of Israel and those who reject him while blessing those who trust and receive his salvation in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, this parable has multiple implications for all of us.

God’s ownership carries expectations.

All the world is created by God and history is part of God’s plan to bring about his created purposes. Nothing is done without careful thought and detail. In the parable, the landowner showed his care by building a wall to keep out animals, building a watchtower to guard against thieves and fire, and he dug his own winepress to produce the fruit of the worker’s labor on site. All this specific detail shows God’s authority and care in the land. Even more, there is expectation and intention for the land… the production of fruit.

Likewise today, God’s authority is not lost in the world. God still goes to great care and detail to fulfill his mission through the church. And God still expects his followers to bear fruit for the kingdom until his second coming. As renters and stewards of God’s land we are to be faithful in obeying God’s commands. God is looking for people who will produce fruit (v.43).

Notice also that there will be a day when the landowner (God) returns to collect his fruit and bring judgment on those who treated his servants wrongfully. This will be a wretched day that no one will want to be part.

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” Hebrews 10:26-27


  • How is God’s authority respected or ignored in today’s world?
  • Does the “tenants” logic for treating the landowners servants & son the way they did make sense to you?
  • How does this parable relate to the way people treated Jesus during his time on earth? What about today?
  • What is the fruit that God expects to be produced?
  • What fruit are you producing in your life to prove God has ownership in your life? (John 15:1-17; Galatians 5:22-26). Remember, Jesus is not only Savior but Lord. What does it mean for Jesus to be your Lord?

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