“What do you think about this? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go to work in the vineyard today.’
“His son replied, ‘I don’t want to!’ But later he changed his mind and went.
“The father went to the other son and told him the same thing. He replied, ‘I will, sir,’ but he didn’t go.
“Which of the two sons did what the father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: Tax collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. John came to you and showed you the way that God wants you to live, but you didn’t believe him. The tax collectors and prostitutes believed him. But even after you had seen that, you didn’t change your minds and believe him.
“Listen to another illustration. A landowner planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, made a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to vineyard workers and went on a trip.
“When the grapes were getting ripe, he sent his servants to the workers to collect his share of the produce. The workers took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned a third to death. So the landowner sent more servants. But the workers treated them the same way.
“Finally, he sent his son to them. He thought, ‘They will respect my son.’
“When the workers saw his son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him and get his inheritance.’ So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
“Now, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those workers?”
They answered, “He will destroy those evil people. Then he will lease the vineyard to other workers who will give him his share of the produce when it is ready.”
Jesus asked them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
The Lord is responsible for this,
and it is amazing for us to see’?
That is why I can guarantee that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce what God wants. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken. If the stone falls on anyone, it will crush that person.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his illustrations, they knew that he was talking about them. They wanted to arrest him but were afraid of the crowds, who thought he was a prophet.