“Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers grabbed his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. So the landowner sent a larger group of his servants to collect for him, but the results were the same.
“Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ “But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and murdered him. “When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?” The religious leaders replied, “He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.” Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’ I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”
When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet. – Matthew 21:33-46 (NLT)
Jesus tells the Pharisees that they are condemned to eternity away from God. This was a bold and shocking statement. Jesus told the elite in society they were living in a way that dishonored God. How would you have responded? The easiest and most carnal response is denial/anger, which is how the Jewish leaders responded. They were against Jesus before this statement but now they were going to be the aggressors, his attackers. These leaders show our potential downfall. These religious people were doing what they thought to be right. And yet they were doing almost everything wrong. They never checked themselves by asking soul-seeking questions.
When have you been corrected by a follower of Jesus or by the Holy Spirit? How did you respond? How can you make sure you are checking yourself and asking yourself tough questions that will lead you closer to God?