"What do you think about this? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'
" 'I will not,' the son answered. But later he changed his mind and went.
"Then the father went to the other son. He said the same thing. The son answered, 'I will, sir.' But he did not go.
"Which of the two sons did what his father wanted?"
"The first," they answered.
Jesus said to them, "What I'm about to tell you is true. Tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God ahead of you. John came to show you the right way to live. And you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. You saw this. But even then you did not turn away from your sins and believe him.
"Listen to another story. A man who owned some land planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it. He dug a pit for a winepress in it. He also built a lookout tower. He rented the vineyard out to some farmers. Then he went away on a journey. When harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the renters. He told the servants to collect his share of the fruit.
"But the renters grabbed his servants. They beat one of them. They killed another. They threw stones at the third to kill him. Then the man sent other servants to the renters. He sent more than he did the first time. The renters treated them the same way.
"Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son,' he said.
"But the renters saw the son coming. They said to each other, 'This is the one who will receive all the owner's property someday. Come, let's kill him. Then everything will be ours.' So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard. Then they killed him.
"When the owner of the vineyard comes back, what will he do to those renters?"
"He will destroy those evil people," they replied. "Then he will rent the vineyard out to other renters. They will give him his share of the crop at harvest time."
Jesus said to them, "Haven't you ever read what the Scriptures say, " 'The stone the builders didn't accept
has become the most important stone of all.
The Lord has done it.
It is wonderful in our eyes'? (Psalm 118:22,23)
"So here is what I tell you. The kingdom of God will be taken away from you. It will be given to people who will produce its fruit. Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces. But the stone will crush anyone it falls on."
The chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' stories. They knew he was talking about them. So they looked for a way to arrest him. But they were afraid of the crowd. The people believed that Jesus was a prophet.