Body and Blood of Christ

The Wicked Tenants

"What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' He answered, 'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went.  The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir'; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes  believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change  your minds and believe him.

Luke 20:9-19

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The Evil Tenants


he focus of the previous parable is John the Baptist. Here it is  Jesus, himself. He predicts his death and accuses the Jewish leadership of plotting against him.

The owner of the vineyard is God, the vineyard is “the house of Israel”. The servants are the prophets. The wicked tenants are the leaders of the people.  Jesus is the beloved son whom they kill.

The implications of the parable dawn on the people in its telling: The graphic and callous treatment of the messengers, the long line of prophets, whom God had sent to recall his people to fidelity is recalled; followed by the murder of his beloved son. Luke places the death of the beloved son outside the vineyard as Jesus death took place outside the walls of Jerusalem lest his readers would have any doubt about the identity of the “beloved Son”.

The reaction of the crowd to the destruction that Jesus says the  Father will wreak on the faithless tenants is understood in the plea: “God forbid” that this should happen to them.  

The Jewish leadership also understands that Jesus is accusing them of plotting his death. They are incensed and would gladly destroy him but for fear of the crowd.

Oisín Feore



Quill Pen


This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists

Jesus carrying the a Lamb

Unfolding the Story of jesus

Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries

Unfolding the story of jesus