“Tell me what you think about this: There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first son and said, ‘Son, go and work today in my vineyard.’ The son answered, ‘I will not go.’ But later the son decided he should go, and he went. Then the father went to the other son and said, ‘Son, go and work today in my vineyard.’ The son answered, ‘Yes, sir, I will go and work.’ But he did not go. Which of the two sons obeyed his father?”
The priests and leaders answered, “The first son.”
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth. The tax collectors and the prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God before you do. John came to show you the right way to live. And you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes believed John. You saw this, but you still refused to change and believe him.
“Listen to this story: There was a man who owned a vineyard. He put a wall around the vineyard and dug a hole for a winepress. Then he built a tower. He leased the land to some farmers and left for a trip. Later, it was time for the grapes to be picked. So the man sent his servants to the farmers to get his share of the grapes. But the farmers grabbed the servants, beat one, killed another, and then killed a third servant with stones. So the man sent some other servants to the farmers. He sent more servants than he sent the first time. But the farmers did the same thing to the servants that they had done before. So the man decided to send his son to the farmers. He said, ‘The farmers will respect my son.’ But when the farmers saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the owner’s son. This vineyard will be his. If we kill him, then his vineyard will be ours!’ So the farmers grabbed the son, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. So what will the owner of the vineyard do to these farmers when he comes?”
The priests and leaders said, “He will surely kill those evil men. Then he will lease the vineyard to some other farmers. They will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
Jesus said to them, “Surely you have read this in the Scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders did not want
became the cornerstone.
The Lord did this,
and it is wonderful to us.’ Psalm 118:22-23
“So I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you. It will be given to people who do the things God wants in his kingdom. The person who falls on this stone will be broken. But if the stone falls on him, he will be crushed.”
The leading priests and the Pharisees heard these stories that Jesus told. They knew he was talking about them. They wanted to arrest him. But they were afraid of the people, because the people believed that Jesus was a prophet.