v. 1-8 Jesus was teaching the people in the temple. The chief priests and teachers all came to Jesus to ask Him who gave Him authority. Jesus replied "I will also ask you a question. Tell Me, John's baptism-was it from heaven, or from men?" The leaders discussed this and said "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Why didn't you believe Him?' But if we say, 'From men,' all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet." They answered that they did not know where it was from. Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."
Jesus was just doing what He would normally do and a crowd came to Him to trip Him up. Do you often feel like when you are under attack it is from a group of "friends"? One may not be bold, but in a crowd nerves don't seem to waver. They are comforted by the crowd association, there they are safe to do harm. Do you notice when the leaders tried to trap Jesus He never seemed to get defensive? He seemed calm and spoke the truth. If Jesus answered that His authority came from God then they would accuse Him of blasphemy. Jesus turned the question back around to them and they did not have an answer. If someone wants to argue with us about God then maybe we should turn the questions back to them to answer. You will get nowhere arguing with someone if they are dead set against believing. All you will do is reinforce the stereotype of the crazy Christian which will reinforce the beliefs they already have. Jesus did not have to directly tell what authority He had because their hearts were so hard that they would never understand.
v. 9-19 Jesus tells the parable of the evil farmers. "A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed." The man sent two more servants who were treated the same. "Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.'" The man sent his son and the tenants said to themselves, "This is the heir. Let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours." The men killed the son. "What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others." The people who heard this story responded, "May this never be!" Jesus said, "Then what is the meaning of that which is written: The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." The leaders were looking for a way to arrest Him because they knew that He was speaking directly to their actions and beliefs. They were afraid of the people.
The story represents God as the owner, the vineyard is Israel, the servant's are the prophets, the man's son is Jesus and the tenant farmers are the religious leaders. How many prophets had God's people turned away from? This pattern has been going on since the beginning and I tell you is still going on today, it will continue until the end. This parable answered the leader's question about His authority and it showed that Jesus knew about their plan to kill Him. Jesus showed the leaders that His rejection had been prophesied in scripture. Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22 that ignoring the capstone or cornerstone was a dangerous decision. Those that fall on the stone will be broken to pieces means that those that bow to God will be broken. We think that if we value something we would never want it broken. Broken is a good thing here, He will break our pride, our foolishness, our misconceptions and free us from our chains. This is extremely hard to do, but essential if we want to have a relationship with Him. When a seed is planted it has to die to self and be broken open to be able to grow into a mighty oak tree. Without this process the seed will die and produce nothing. Those whom the rock falls will be crushed means those unwilling to bow down will be judged and punished.