Who’s in Charge Here?


In today’s reading, Jesus uses a parable to focus on the issue of authority. Often, Jesus’ parables were vague to the listeners, possibly to get them to consider their applications more deeply. I can imagine that many times after a parable, the listeners went home asking, “What was that about?” In this particular instance, the parable stirred up the leaders quite a bit. They may not have understood all of the implications of the parable, but they certainly understood it was spoken about them.

  • Who is in authority over you, and what would happen if you rejected that authority? What would be the consequences?


And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.  And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this Scripture:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
11 this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. The owner of the vineyard had the authority and right to collect a portion of the fruit. How did the tenants respond to that authority? What can we conclude about the ultimate motivations of the tenants (vs. 7)?
  2. What were the consequences of the tenants’ actions, and why were the consequences so severe?
  3. How is this parable a picture of the way we have tried to throw off the authority of God?
  4. Have you accepted the authority of God over your life? What is the evidence of that either way?


God always has the authority to collect the fruit of our lives—obedience, submission to him, and faith. Ultimately, if we reject that authority like the tenants rejected the son, the heir, the consequences will be severe. God would have us clearly recognize his authority in our lives and be on alert to submit to that authority, even when it’s painful or simply inconvenient.

  • Confess to God those areas of your life where you struggle to submit to his authority.
  • Ask for God’s help to live your life in submission to him.
  • Thank God for his authority over creation and over your life.