Matthew 20:1-16 God's Generous Grace

Matthew 21:33-46 Unearthing the Parable of the Tenants

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Matthew 21:33-46 Unearthing the Parable of the Tenants


Today’s lesson is Matthew 21:33-46 Unearthing the Parable of the Tenants. Beloved in Christ, we warmly welcome you to another enlightening session of our Bible study. In the fellowship of believers, we are gathered to explore the depths of God’s word, drawing wisdom and understanding to navigate our faith journey. Your presence enriches our collective experience as we delve into the sacred scriptures, fostering a community of love, growth, and discipleship.


Before we immerse ourselves in Matthew 21:33-46, let’s reflect on the preceding events. Jesus had made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, a momentous occasion met with jubilation and praise. The city was bussling with hebrews from all over the know world. The busiest  and the temple grounds were a hive of activity. Jesus, with divine authority, cleansed the temple, restoring its sanctity. It is in this context, amidst the awe and the questions that arose, that Jesus begins to unfold profound truths through parables.


33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.
34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.
36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.
37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’
39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes?
43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.
46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

Bible Study Outline

  • Understanding the Parable
    • The Vineyard: God’s kingdom entrusted to His people.
    • The Tenants: The religious leaders’ abuse of their roles.
    • The Son: The rejection and crucifixion of Jesus.
  • The Implications of Rejection
    • The Stone: Jesus, though rejected, becomes the cornerstone.
    • The Judgment: The dire consequences of rejecting the Son.
    • The New Tenants: The gospel extended to all nations.
  • Our Response
    • Receiving the Word: Embracing Jesus as the cornerstone of our faith.
    • Bearing Fruit: Living lives that reflect God’s kingdom.
    • Spreading the Gospel: Sharing the good news with others.

Understanding the Parable

In this profound parable, the vineyard symbolizes God’s kingdom, a sacred space where His divine intentions and purposes are meant to flourish. The tenants, representative of the religious leaders of the time, were entrusted with the care and cultivation of this divine estate. However, they grossly abuse their roles, rejecting and mistreating the servants and ultimately, the son of the landowner, an allegory of the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus.


The landowner’s expectation was for the tenants to honor their role, nurture the vineyard, and produce fruit. However, their actions depict a stark contrast, marked by greed, disrespect, and violence. This betrayal underscores the gravity of the religious leaders’ rejection of God’s messengers and His Son.


As we reflect on this section, we are prompted to examine our own lives. Are we, like the tenants, guilty of neglecting or abusing the divine trust God has placed in our hands? The vineyard is a sacred trust, and we are called to be faithful stewards.

Christian Discipleship and Spiritual Growth

In the journey of discipleship, the nurturing of our faith and spiritual growth is akin to tending to a vineyard. We are called to cultivate a deep, personal relationship with God, honor His word, and produce fruits of righteousness, love, and service.

Multiple Choice Q&A

Q: Who do the tenants represent in the parable?
A. The disciples
B. The religious leaders
C. The gentiles
Answer: B. The religious leaders
Personal Reflection: How am I stewarding the responsibilities and gifts God has entrusted to me?

The Implications of Rejection

The rejection of the son in the parable foreshadows the rejection of Jesus, the cornerstone of our faith. This rejection, however, does not nullify Christ’s significance; it magnifies it. Though rejected, He becomes the foundation upon which the eternal kingdom of God is built. The judgment that befalls the tenants serves as a stark warning to all who would reject the Son.


The stone, though rejected, becomes the cornerstone. This paradox underscores the divine reversal where human rejection leads to divine exaltation. The rejected Jesus is exalted as Lord and Savior.


The rejection of Jesus challenges us to consider our response to Him. Have we accepted Him as the cornerstone of our lives, or is there an aspect of rejection lingering in our hearts?

Christian Discipleship and Spiritual Growth

Embracing Jesus as the cornerstone is fundamental in our discipleship journey. It is upon this Rock that our faith, character, and spiritual vitality are built. Every teaching, belief, and practice must be aligned with Christ, the solid foundation.

Multiple Choice Q&A

Q: What does the stone represent in the parable?
A. The law
B. The prophets
C. Jesus
Answer: C. Jesus
Personal Reflection: Is Jesus the cornerstone of my life and faith?

Our Response

Our response to Jesus, the cornerstone, is pivotal. We are called to embrace Him, allowing our lives to be shaped and defined by His Lordship. As we do, we become fruitful, reflecting the values and virtues of God’s kingdom. Our lives then become a testament to the transformative power of the gospel.


Receiving the word, bearing fruit, and spreading the gospel are integral aspects of our Christian journey. They signify a life surrendered, transformed, and commissioned by the power of Christ’s love.


This calls for a personal examination of our lives. Are we receiving the word with readiness, bearing fruit in keeping with repentance, and eager to spread the gospel’s fragrance wherever we go?

Christian Discipleship and Spiritual Growth

The measure of our growth is seen in our reception of God’s word, the fruit we bear, and our eagerness to share the gospel. These are not just actions but are the outflow of a heart transformed by an encounter with Jesus.

Multiple Choice Q&A

Q: What is a key indicator of our spiritual growth?
A. Church attendance
B. Bearing fruit
C. Social status
Answer: B. Bearing fruit
Personal Reflection: What fruits of the Spirit are evident in my life?

In Closing

The parable of the tenants is a poignant reminder of God’s immense love and the grave consequences of rejecting His Son. It beckons us to a place of deep reflection, inviting us to embrace Jesus as the cornerstone of our lives, to bear fruit that honors God, and to be vessels through which the gospel light shines brightly.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, we are profoundly grateful for Your word that illuminates our path. As we reflect on the truths unveiled today, may our hearts be stirred with a renewed commitment to embrace Jesus, the cornerstone. Grant us the courage to invite others into this journey of discovery, so that together, we may grow and be transformed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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