Matthew 21:33-46

Talks for Growing Christians

The Parable of the Landowner and the Wicked Tenants

Matthew 21:33-46

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Lesson Number 58

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Son of God was rejected by Israel at His first coming.
  2. The Son of God will be received by Israel at His second coming.

Practical Application

  1. Is God’s cornerstone the cornerstone of your life?


  1. What is a parable?
  2. What truth is illustrated in this parable?
  3. Who do the landowner, his son, the vinedressers, and the servants represent in this parable? What does the vineyard represent?
  4. When did the Lord Jesus give this parable?
  5. Did the chief priests and Pharisees understand that the Lord was condemning them with His parable?
  6. Did the leaders of Israel reject their Messiah ignorantly?


  1. Our Lord’s parables were stories from everyday life given to illustrate a moral or spiritual truth.
  2. Israel’s Messiah, the Son of God, was rejected by the nation of Israel. Therefore the nation would be judged and set aside until they would bear spiritual fruit. Meanwhile the Church would be established and built up with Christ as the cornerstone.
  3. The landowner represents God, and his son the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The vineyard represents Israel, which God “planted” in the land of Canaan. The vinedressers represent the leaders of the people. The servants are the Old Testament prophets that God sent to Israel.
  4. In the last week of His life, before He was put to death by the hands of those who should have received Him as the Son of God.
  5. Yes. In fact, it angered them so that they wanted even more to kill Him.
  6. No, refer to Matthew 21:38. They knew Jesus was the Messiah, and they knowingly rejected Him.


  1. Look at all God did to care for the nation of Israel, as pictured in Matthew 21:33. He sought to protect it and carefully watch over it. The Lord put leaders in the land, such as priests and scribes, who had a responsibility to teach the people and help them bear spiritual fruit to prepare their hearts for the coming Messiah. Sadly, these leaders failed to help the people. In fact, they rejected the Messiah when He came from heaven. This parable is full of vivid imagery about our Lord’s work with Israel. Which part of this parable impacted you the most?
  2. The rejected Son of God has been glorified already by becoming the chief cornerstone of His Church. But there is more to come. Bible prophecy indicates that in the future the nation of Israel will be spiritually awakened and will bear spiritual fruit. The nation that once rejected her Messiah will be given a new heart and will welcome her Lord’s return. Praise the Lord for His unfailing faithfulness to the nation of Israel. How has your perspective of Israel been affected by the study of these promises?


  1. Have you ever believed on the Son of God as your Savior from sin? Do not let today end without ensuring that He is the cornerstone of your life.

Key Verses

  • “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” Matthew 21:42; Psalm 118:22
  • “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.” Matthew 21:43

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