Setting

From this point on, the confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees would continue to mount. In this lesson, the Lord silenced those who questioned His authority and gave three parables that pronounced judgment on the chief priests, elders, and Pharisees. Far from being repentant, these religious leaders sought to lay their hands on Him. In time, their hardened hearts would turn into intense hatred.

Key Verse

(21:42)

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Outline

General Analysis

  • 1a.

    To what two things was the kingdom of heaven compared?

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    A vineyard and the wedding banquet for the king’s son.

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  • 1b.

    In the three parables, who are worthy of the kingdom of heaven?

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    The son who did what the father commanded. Those who would render fruits to the landowner. Those who accepted the king’s invitation and dressed appropriately.

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  • 2.

    How many times in this passage were the religious leaders caught in a dilemma?

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Segment Analysis

  • 21:23-27

    1a.

    What are “these things” in 23?

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    Cleansing the temple (12-13), healing the blind and the lame in the temple (14), and teaching in the temple (23).

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  • 1b.

    Why did the chief priests and elders question Jesus’ authority?

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    They felt that Jesus posed a threat to their own authority.

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  • 21:23-27

    2a.

    Why did Jesus ask them about John’s baptism?

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    John was Jesus’ forerunner. Anyone who believed that John was from God would have believed that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus did not need to answer their question because their refusal of John showed that they would also refuse Jesus, even though it was clear from what Jesus had done that His authority was from God.

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  • 2b.

    What was the problem of these chief priests and elders, and how did Jesus’ counter-question reveal their problem?

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    Their problem was their stubborn refusal to accept the one God has sent while trying to cover up their disbelief. They chose to reject God but did not want to lose their position as religious leaders. Such dilemma made them unable to answer Jesus’ counter-question. In effect, Jesus made them answer their own question and at the same time pointed out their callousness.

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  • 21:28-32

    3a.

    What was different between these two sons?

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    One promised to go but didn’t. The other said no but went.

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  • 3b.

    Which son is more similar to you?

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  • 21:28-32

    4.

    Why would tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before the Pharisees and elders?

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    A better translation would read, “tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God—and you do not.” [ref] Although the tax collectors and harlots had once refused to obey God, now they were repentant and humbly accepted Christ. The Pharisees and elders, on the other hand, displayed their piety but disobeyed God’s will in their hearts and actions. Profession with the mouth does not guarantee entrance into God’s kingdom (7:15-23).

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  • 5.

    How is this parable linked to 23-27?

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    Just as the second son only paid lip service, the religious leaders only professed to know God but did not believe those whom God had sent. Their lip service was for the purpose of receiving men’s praise and honor. This is why they were afraid to answer the Lord’s question in 24 and 25.

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  • 21:33-46

    6.

    What did the following represent in the parable? a. Landowner; b. Vineyard; c, Vinedressers; d. Servants:

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    a. Landowner:
    God.

    b. Vineyard:
    Israel, or God’s chosen nation.

    c. Vinedressers:
    The religious leaders whom God had appointed to teach and care for His people.

    d. Servants:
    Prophets of God.

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  • 7.

    Why did the vinedressers commit such great wickedness?

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    They had no respect for or fear of the landowner. In the same way, the religious leaders’ rejection of God’s servants and of His Son showed that they did not honor God in their hearts.

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  • 8.

    What was the effect of letting the listeners answer the question in 40 and 41?

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    The people’s answer justified God’s punishment and passed judgment on themselves.

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  • 9.

    How should we render to God the fruits in their seasons?

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    By living a life in keeping with our repentance and submission to God’s will (3:8, 10).

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  • 10a.

    What was the meaning of the teaching about the stone?

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    Jesus is the stone. The world rejected Him, but God has set Him to be the chief cornerstone. Whoever wants to be saved must put their trust in Him (Acts 4:11, 12). It is God’s marvelous act to make use of what people rejected to save those who believe (1Cor 1:18, 23). Whoever despises or rejects him does so to their own destruction.

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  • 10b.

    What reasons would cause someone to reject Jesus?

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    Their own evil behavior (Jn3:19, 20). Judging Jesus with human standards (Mt 13:54-57). Unwillingness to deny oneself and take up the cross (19:22, 13:20-22).

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  • 21:33-46

    11.

    What did the reaction and fear of the chief priests and Pharisees tell us about them?

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    They yielded to their own stubbornness and to popular opinion rather than to God’s warning. Their actions also showed their timid hypocrisy.

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  • 22:1-14

    12a.

    What does this parable suggest about the gospel of salvation and the status of believers?

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    The gospel of salvation is God’s gracious invitation to us. He has prepared the best things for us in abundance. We should feel honored to be God’s guest at His banquet.

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  • 12b.

    How does the parable show man’s persistent refusal to accept the gospel?

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    After those who were invited refused to come, the king still patiently offered to them the abundance of his banquet as reason to come (4). Without respecting the king’s command and invitation, they ignored him and even killed the servants. Likewise, many repeatedly turn down the honor of coming into God’s kingdom and even persecute those who preach the gospel.

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  • 22:1-14

    13.

    What does the wedding garment represent? Why was it such an offense to not wear the wedding garment?

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    Just as the garment was a requirement for attending the banquet, God also has His righteous requirements for those who wish to enter God’s kingdom. Those who seem to agree to the gospel but do not perform God’s will in their lives are not worthy of God’s kingdom (7:21). More specifically, the garment can represent baptism, the sacrament through which we put on Christ (Gal 3:26, 27). Anyone who claims to believe in Christ but refuses to put on Christ through baptism is not fit to enter God’s kingdom (Jn 3:5).

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  • 14a.

    How was the first invitation different from the second? Who did the two groups of people represent?

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    The first invitation was to a selected group whereas the second was inclusive of all people. The first group represented the Jewish leaders and people who rejected Jesus, since they were first chosen. The second group represented everyone who came to accept Christ, both Jews and Gentiles regardless of their past conduct (“both bad and good”).

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  • 14b.

    In this parable, who were called, and who were chosen?

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    Everyone whom the servants found were called. But only those who accepted the invitation and dressed in wedding garment were chosen.

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  • 22:1-14

    15.

    According to this parable, what must we do to enter God’s kingdom?

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    We should honor and accept God’s gracious gift of salvation by setting aside our own priorities and humbly obeying the gospel. We must receive the righteousness of God through baptism and practice God’s will in our lives.

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