See this parable explained in the notes at Matthew 21:33-45.
The priests and rulers were unwilling to bear these searching truths; they remained silent, however, hoping that Jesus would say something which they could turn against Him; but they had still more to bear. DA 596.1
“Hear another parable,” Christ said: “There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?” DA 596.2
Jesus addressed all the people present; but the priests and rulers answered. “He will miserably destroy those wicked men,” they said, “and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” The speakers had not at first perceived the application of the parable, but they now saw that they had pronounced their own condemnation. In the parable the householder represented God, the vineyard the Jewish nation, and the hedge the divine law which was their protection. The tower was a symbol of the temple. The lord of the vineyard had done everything needful for its prosperity. “What could have been done more to my vineyard,” he says, “that I have not done in it?” Isaiah 5:4. Thus was represented God's unwearied care for Israel. And as the husbandmen were to return to the lord a due proportion of the fruits of the vineyard, so God's people were to honor Him by a life corresponding to their sacred privileges. But as the husbandmen had killed the servants whom the master sent to them for fruit, so the Jews had put to death the prophets whom God sent to call them to repentance. Messenger after messenger had been slain. Thus far the application of the parable could not be questioned, and in what followed it was not less evident. In the beloved son whom the lord of the vineyard finally sent to his disobedient servants, and whom they seized and slew, the priests and rulers saw a distinct picture of Jesus and His impending fate. Already they were planning to slay Him whom the Father had sent to them as a last appeal. In the retribution inflicted upon the ungrateful husbandmen was portrayed the doom of those who should put Christ to death. DA 596.3Read in context »
God comes with entreaties and assurances to those who are making mistakes. He seeks to show them their error, and lead them to repentance. But if they refuse to humble their hearts before Him, if they strive to exalt themselves above Him, He must speak to them in judgment. No semblance of nearness to God, no assertion of connection with Him, will be accepted from those who persist in dishonoring Him by leaning upon the arm of worldly power (The Review and Herald, August 4, 1904). 4BC 1156.1
25 (Isaiah 65:2; Ezekiel 12:2). Israel Blind to Light, Deaf to Messages—Had God's chosen people stood in their appointed place, as the repositories of sacred, eternal truth, which was to come to the heathen world Jerusalem would have stood to this day. But they were a rebellious people. And when God had done all that a God could do, even to the sending of His only begotten Son, they were so ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God, that they refused the only help that could save them from ruin. “This is the heir,” they said, “come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” 4BC 1156.2
God appointed Israel to be a light to the Gentiles, thus to call them back to their loyalty. But Israel herself became blind to the light, deaf to the messages sent to open her understanding (Manuscript 151, 1899). 4BC 1156.3Read in context »