Parable of the wicked husbandmen (tenants)
First, a word of explanation. Husbandmen are gardeners. These husbandmen described by Jesus were not the owners of the land but rather only rented the land that they were gardening. So, the King James Version calls them husbandmen and the English Standard Version (the version used here for its modern language) calls these same men "tenants". Here is the story from Luke 20: 9-18.
"And he began to tell the people this parable: 'A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; they will respect him.' But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.' And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.' When they heard this, they said, 'Surely not!' But he looked directly at them and said, 'What then is this that is written, 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?' Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.'"
There are any number of main ideas that could be identified. What we are looking for is just one of them that can be easily identified as an important and self-evident truth from the scripture and then used in real life.
For today, the fundamental principle from the parable is this: God has rightful power, authority, to determine what happens when people do not respect him.
The learning objective is to write a paragraph with this topic. How shall I choose to show respect for God's authority?
The owner of the vineyard had created it and so had authority over it. Since the gardeners were only tenants, then they had to pay rent to the owner for the land by sharing the fruit from the crop that was harvested. This was their duty because it was the owner's vineyard and he was letting the tenants use it to make money. it was what they had agreed to do.
Now, what did the tenants do to the owner's people who had come to receive payment for the use of the vineyard? (The tenants refused to share fruit and hurt the servants and killed the owner's son.)
What did Christ say would happen to those tenants? (The vineyard would be taken away from them and given to others. And, the tenants would be destroyed.)
Does this mean that God will use his authority over disobedient people? (Absolutely, yes.)
For example, parents have authority over children because parents are responsible for what their children do and for what happens to their children.
So, can you name some examples of how kids might be disobedient to their parents? (Lie, refuse to help, harm their brothers or sisters, steal, etc.)
Is being disobedient to parents a way that children refuse to show respect to them? (Yes, because they do not respect the directions of the parent and they destroy the trust the parents want to have with their children.)
What do some parents do when their kids are disobedient? (Give "time outs", spank, take away rewards, etc.)
Synthesis (in the form of summary)
Can we say that we need to respect God's authority, that is to say, to respect his rightful power to do things? (Why or why not?) What things might happen when people are disobedient to God? (Give examples.)
Since God is in control, doesn't it make sense that we should respect his authority? Why or why not? (Give examples.)
Creative next step
Please write one paragraph for this main idea: What is one big idea on how I can show respect God? Now, in your paragraph, give three examples of how you could show this respect. (Hint: what would showing respect to God have to do with showing respect to parents?)