One way to summarize The Parable of the Tenants in Matt. 21:33-44 is this: Jesus is God’s final offer.
In the parable a vineyard owner rents out his vineyard to tenants. Later he sends servants to collect his rent and the tenants kill the servants. The owner then sends a larger delegation, only to have the same thing happen. Finally, the owner sends his son as his final offer, thinking that surely the tenants respond positively. It didn’t happen.
This parable may have been intentionally more transparent than many others Jesus told. In most cases, only a sympathetic ear could discern the intended meaning but not here. Jesus was accusing the chief priests and Pharisees of being like the tenants in the parable. Matthew makes clear that when these leaders heard the story “they knew he was talking about them” (v. 45).
As readers of the story, that the chief priests and Pharisees stubborn and narrow minded is clear. What may not be so clear is that we ourselves suffer from the same ailment. God sent his Son as a sacrifice for our sin (our failure to live up to the standards we know within ourselves to be true). We have a choice: accept the offer, or be destroyed. In such a situation, who is more stubborn and narrow minded: the person who accepts the offer, or the person who rejects the offer, thereby choosing their own destruction?
This is the question that the gospel – the good news about Jesus as God’s final offer – puts to each of us. If you are reading this as a non-Christian then may this be an invitation to accept the forgiveness God is offering you in Christ. If you are reading as a Christian, may this be an encouragement to share with others winsomely what accepting God’s final offer has meant in your life.