Questions about the Parable of the Evil Husbandmen

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QUESTION 1

The Parable of the Evil Husbandmen of the Vineyard appears in St Matthew's Gospel (21:33-44), and is read on the 13th Sunday after Pentecost. It is also found in Mark 12:1­9 and Luke 20:9­16.

Describe the parable. Why was it spoken by Jesus?

QUESTION 2

"There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and dug a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandman, and went into a far country:" (Matt 21:33)

As in all parables, there is much important symbolism here. In order to understand the inner meaning we must construct a "glossary" of symbols.

  • Who is the Householder?
  • What is the vineyard? There are two answers!
  • What was the expectations of the householder? Describe in spiritual terms.

QUESTION 3

"There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country" (Mat 21:33)

  • What does the hedge represent?
  • What does the winepress represent?
  • What does the tower represent?
  • Who did the work described, and is this significant? Why?

QUESTION 4

"There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country" (Mat 21:33)

  • Who are the husbandmen? There are again two answers!
  • What is meant by the householder "going into a far country"?

QUESTION 5

"And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it." (Mat 21:34)

The householder ends up sending servants three times to the vineyard. In this first attempt, it is said that "the time of the fruit drew near". This means something very specific. What? Who are the servants?

QUESTION 6

"And the husbandman took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. {36} Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did to them likewise." (Matt 21:35-36)

Who are the husbandmen that so shamefully treated the householder's servants? Give at least three REAL-LIFE examples of their activities (things that actually happened). Hint: St Paul's later writings as well as an understanding of Old Testament history will help quite a bit.

QUESTION 7

"But last of all he sent to them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. {38} But when the husbandman saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. {39} And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him." (Matt 21:37-39)

"Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him." (Luke 20:13)

  • Who is the son?
  • Why is the householder, Who is God, and therefore knows all things, presented as asking a question, and showing uncertainty (in Luke's gospel)? This question represents a very important freedom God has granted man.
  • What is the meaning of him being cast out of the vineyard before being killed? This is a prophecy. Explain.

QUESTION 8

"When the lord therefore of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those husbandmen? {41} They said to him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons." (Matt 21:40-41)

  • When was this prophesy fulfilled in a literal sense, and how?
  • What are the fruits Jesus is talking about? Personalize!

QUESTION 9

"Jesus said to them, Did you never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?" (Matt 21:42)

This is read VERY OFTEN in church? When? What does it mean? Who are the builders? What (Who) is the stone? Speculate why we read this verse so often.

QUESTION 10

"And whoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." (Matt 21:44)

A terrible, and enigmatic promise! Herein lies altogether four prophecies of destruction. Two address the Jews directly, and among these, one was a prophecy that was soon fulfilled for all to see. Two address every man in a spiritual way, and only one of these "destructions" leads to eternal life. Explain.





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