Be Born Again

John 3:1-4 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou do, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 

There was a man – Nicodemus, ruler of the Jews; He was a Jewish Rabbi, member of the Sanhedrin, and one of the three richest men in Jerusalem. He came to Jesus (John 3:1); He testified for Him (John 7:50-51); and He did service for Him (John 19:39).

Nicodemus didn’t come to Jesus by night because of personal shame like the disciples in John 20:19. It was more from fear than shame (John 7:50; 19:38-39). Through centuries Christians who were not ashamed of Christ did do things for fear of persecutors and this was wisdom in most cases.

‘We know that thou art a teacher come from God’ – evidently, the rulers had come to this conclusion, but the majority were too rebellious, to be honest, and sincere.

‘God be with him’ – the secret of power (Acts 10:38) for those who belong to God.

‘Except a man be born again,’ the Greek word for born is gennethe, and again is anothen, which means to be begotten from above. It literally means there must be a transformation from God and a renewal in righteousness and true holiness to be saved (2Cor. 5:17-21; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 1:13-14, 20; 2:12-17; 3:1-16).

‘He cannot see the kingdom of God’ the Greek word for ‘to see’ is eidon, which is not so much the mere act of looking, but the actual perception of the kingdom and its realities.

‘Be born’ Nicodemus misunderstood Jesus and thought only in human terms. Millions today make the same mistake in comparing the new birth with the old birth. This is the very thing Jesus did not want men to do (John 3:12). The truth is: one is a begetting and a coming into existence; the other is an adoption (Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5).

What Is in Man

John 2:23-25 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. 

The purpose of miracles has always been that we must believe in His name – the name above all names – Jesus (Php. 2:9). Jesus prayed in John 11:42 to the Father: “I knew that thou hear me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.”

Jesus didn’t trust men, for He knew they were not genuine in faith and character. Here is an example of the gifts of knowledge and discerning of spirits (1Cor. 12:4-11). In Jeremiah 17:9 we read that the heart (of all men) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? God answers in verse 10 that He searches the heart, He tries the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Water in Wine

John 2:1-5  And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 

On the third day after Jesus left Jordan to start His ministry, He attended a marriage feast that sometimes lasted a week. Cana of Galilee was located on a low hill on the side of a rich upland plain, about eleven kilometres north of Nazareth. Called “Cana of Galilee” to distinguish it from Cana of Asher. It is not known how many disciples Jesus had during this first week of His ministry.

When they – the wedding party – ran out of wine (new/good wine = sweet juice) Mary offered Jesus’ service to help create grape juice. ‘Wine’ is used of both fermented and unfermented drink in Scripture. It speaks of the juice of grapes as ‘wine’ while it is still on the cluster (Isa. 65:8) and calls it ‘new wine’ when it is just pressed out of the grapes. It is blasphemous to say that Jesus would have made a wine containing alcohol, He was without sin (1Pet. 2:21-22; Heb. 4:15) and He would not have transgressed Habakkuk 2:15 that says “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink.”

Jesus answered His mother: “Woman…” not a name of disrespect, but one of respect, like our Madam (Matt. 15:28; John 4:21; 19:26; 20:15), “what have I to do with thee?” What have I to do with you in this matter? My time for working a miracle is not fully come. It is sad to see that the first miracle that was chosen for Christ – not chosen by Him – as one that so many people use today to justify the use of alcohol. The Word of God is very clear on the subject of being sober, which is a command to obey, not a request (1Th. 5:6,8; Tit. 2:2,4,6; 1Pet. 1:13, 5:8) and clear on not to drink (Pro. 23:21; 1Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7).

The Son of God and of Man

John 1:49-51  Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believe thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. 

The second New Testament prophecy fulfilled in John – thou shall see greater things than these – Nathaniel did see many greater works when he saw all the works of Christ for over three years. John 1:51 is to be fulfilled in the eternal kingdom of Jesus on earth when angels will ascend and descend in a more literal way than now (Matt. 13:41-43; 24:31).

Verily, verily means Surely, surely or Amen, amen. So used for emphasis, and only by Him who is the truth (John 14:6). Always used singly elsewhere: in the Old Testament only 16 times; 30 times in Matthew; 15 times in Mark; and 8 times in Luke and only by Christ.

The Son of man is used 88 times of Christ in the New Testament and once in Daniel 7:13 where it was predicted that He would come as the Son of man. It always has the definite article when used of Christ, but not when used of ordinary men. He, Jesus, is God’s Man to redeem mankind. He is God’s answer to satan to guarantee his defeat and restore man’s original dominion.

Calling of Philip and Nathanael

John 1:43-48  The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and find Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip find Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence know thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou was under the fig tree, I saw thee. 

Philip was one of the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:3; Mar. 3:18; Lk. 6:14; Acts 1:13), a brother of Nathanael, who brings him also to Jesus. Nathanael (means gift of God) is Bartholomew, which is a patronymic of Nathaniel, also one of the twelve.

The question he asked “can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” was because they were expecting the Messiah from Bethlehem, and not Nazareth. Never a better person came from any place on earth than Jesus Christ!

Jesus knew Nathanael’s heart through the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge (John 3:34; 1Cor. 12:4-11) and said that he was an Israelite in whom is no guile – he was without deceit.

Christ’s statement of seeing him by the Spirit before He could see him with His eyes convinced Nathaniel of Christ’s Sonship.

Calling of the First Disciples

John 1:35-42  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek you? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwell thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first finds his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. 

Two of John the Baptist’s disciples, the one was Andrew (Peter’s brother), the other probably John the Apostle, as he never mentions himself in this book. They looked upon (Jesus) the Greek word emblepo, which means to look with fixed eyes upon or look intently as they heard John the Baptist say: “Behold the Lamb of God!” A symbol of Christ used thirty-two times in the Bible.

Andrew and John asked Jesus “Rabbi, (which means Master) where dwell thou?” Jesus told them, “Come and see.” So, they came and saw where He stayed and stayed with Him for that day because it was already the tenth hour – 4 pm.

‘found the Messias’ Finding Jesus changes one’s life (2Cor. 5:17-18). Messias is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew Mashiyach, meaning anointed (John 4:25; 1Sam. 2:10, 35; Psa. 2:2; Dan. 9:25-26). The equivalent of mashiyach in the Greek is Christos, used of Jesus 569 times in the New Testament.

‘Cephas’ is the Aramaic word for stone (1Cor. 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal. 2:9). And ‘stone’ is the Greek word petros which means little stone, rock and 161 other places translated “Peter”. This shows how Jesus could judge a man at the first look. He knew Peter to be firm and strong in soul, and hard and unyielding in purpose.

Conversion

James 5:17-20  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which convert the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. 

Elijah – Elias’s case is given to show that all men are alike in constitution and to encourage others to pray even for miracles (1Kin. 17:1; 18:1, 41-46).

“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth…” here seven facts are given about backsliders: It is possible for brethren or Christians to err from the truth and become unconverted (see Peter as an example in Luke 22:32). An erring Christian can be converted again. An erring Christian becomes a sinner again, if he sins (Rom. 6:14-23). An erring Christian incurs the death penalty again when he sins (Ezek. 18:24; Rom. 8:12-13; Gal. 5:19-21). If the erring Christian is saved from his error, his soul will be saved again from death (1Jn. 1:9; 5:16; Rev. 2:5). If he repents and is saved again from death, his sins will be forgiven and hidden. If he does not repent, he will be lost and will have to pay the penalty for sin (2Tim. 2:12; Heb. 6:4-6,10:26-29, 2Pet. 2:20-21).

Conversion means a change of direction, a new walk with God and is explained in Acts 3:19 “Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord,” thus for us to convert a sinner is to get someone to turn back to God, to change direction, and to walk anew with Him. It is not, however, to save others from their sins, for that is Christ Jesus’ salvation work as our Saviour (Rom. 1:16; Php. 1:28-29; 1Thes. 5:9; Heb. 9:28; 1Pet. 1:10-11).

The Parable of the Pounds

And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.  And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.  But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.  Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.  And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.  (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.  But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.  Luk. 19:11-27 KJV

The story actually fits the experience of Herod who left Jericho to go to Rome to obtain the kingdom of Judea (Josephus, Antiquities, 14:9-15; 17:3-4; 18:7,21), facts of which were well known. Whether this is what Jesus used is not stated, but there is no doubt that all of Christ’s illustrations were true happenings of life that His hearers knew about or would recognize as factual and true.

This parable illustrates the postponement of the kingdom of God, or literally the “Kingdom of Heaven” aspect of the kingdom of God. Jesus offered Himself as the King of the Jews and had announced the kingdom of Heaven was at hand. Mt. 4:17 He was rejected by the Jews; so it became necessary to postpone the kingdom until His Second Coming. Mt. 11:20-24; 23:37-39; 27:25

The other point illustrated beside the postponement of the kingdom of God is that of the action of the servants and citizens. In the parable the servants would be the king’s personal attendants and the citizens the subjects of the king. As applied to the kingdom of God, the servants would be the ministers and true believers who are to propagate the gospel of the kingdom, and the citizens would be the Jews who rejected Christ and the gospel. Jn. 1:11; 15:18-25; Mt. 27:21-25

The occasion of this parable of the pounds was that some thought Christ would immediately set up His kingdom. Lk. 19:11 The nobleman illustrates Christ, who was going into a far country to receive for Himself a kingdom and to return. Lk. 19:12; Dan. 7:13-14  The nobleman giving pounds to his servants, saying, “Occupy till I come,” illustrates the responsibility Christ places upon His servants until His Second Coming. Lk. 19:13; Mt. 16:28; 28:19-20  The subjects of the nobleman rejecting him illustrates the rejection of Christ by the Jews. Lk. 19:14; Mt. 23:37-39; 27:25  The nobleman returning with power to reign illustrates Christ’s return in glory to set up His kingdom and deal with His enemies. Lk. 19:15, 27; Mt. 24:37-51; 25:31-46

The judgment of the servants by the nobleman illustrates Christ’s judging and rewarding His servants at the Second Coming. Some servants are going to have greater authority in the kingdom of Heaven than others, and this will be determined upon the basis of faithfulness and work accomplished for God. Lk. 19:15-19; Mt. 16:28; 25:31-46

A pound is equal to 100 drachme, or $65 each for the ten servants. “Thy pound hath gained five pounds” The $65 had gained $325, so the servant was given authority over 5 cities. “Thy pound hath gained ten poundsThe $65 had gained $650. This showed much ability, so he was given authority over ten cities.

The rejection of the servant that did not gain anything for his lord illustrates the rejection of the wicked and slothful servants. Lk. 19:20-25; Mt. 24:37-51 “Thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkinA handkerchief, or sweat cloth is used here and this man lost out through fear of consequences should he lose the money in seeking to gain more. He was not worthy of further trust.

The pound taken from the wicked servant and given to a faithful servant illustrates the law of increase – that which is used increases. Lk. 19:26; 6:38; 2 Cor. 9:6-10

That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him” In the East it was a custom to give presents to the rich, but a poor man received none and was an easy victim of others to take what little he had. This is spoken by the nobleman of Luke 19:12, which is the same principle as that of Jesus in Matthew 13:12; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18. It illustrates that worthy ones will be rewarded and others will not. Mt. 16:27; 25:29; 2Cor. 5:9-10

“Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” The nobleman Lk. 19:12 is still speaking, but it illustrates that Christ will also come again and will set up a kingdom and punish His enemies. Mt. 25:31-46; 2Th. 1:7-10; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:11-21; Zech. 14

May I be found true, tried and trusted and always represent my God in a manner that will allow others to also want to follow Him.

The Parable of the Marriage Feast

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. Mat 22:1-14 KJV

This parable is not to be confused with the parable of the great supper in Luke 14:16-24. Neither of these stories is an illustration of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb of Revelation 19:1-10. These passages are illustrations of the kingdom of Heaven in this age. The certain king making a marriage (marriage feast) for his son illustrates God, who has made possible the blessings of the kingdom and the Gospel to all. Jn. 3:16; Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 2:9  The Jews were the first ones invited, but they would not come. Mt. 10:5-7; 15:21-28; Jn. 1:11-13 The occasion for this parable was the rejection of Christ by the Jews. Mt. 21:42-46  The servants sent out were Christ, the apostles, the seventy, and the early ministers of the Church. All went first to Israel, but met with no response, as far as the nation was concerned. They were persecuted and killed until the city was destroyed and Israel was scattered. Mt. 24:2; Lk. 21:20-24; Acts 2:22-24; 7:54-60; 8:1-8; 13:44-49; Rom. 11

All things are ready” 22:4 illustrates the time for the Jews to accept their Messiah and the time for the fulfillment of the promise made to their fathers concerning the kingdom.  “But they made light of it” 22:5; Acts 13:45-49; 18:6; Mt. 23:37-39 The rejection of Jesus by Israel freed God from all responsibility to them in fulfilling His covenants with them, so His program became a worldwide one for all men. Jn. 3:16; Rom. 1:16; 2Cor. 12:13

At the rejection of the Jews by God, because they would not accept the invitation to partake of the blessings, God began to invite all kinds of people, as in the parables in Matthew 13.  The man without the wedding garment illustrates the ones in the kingdom of Heaven in this age, or during their lifetime, who fail to prepare for eternity, or for their place in the literal kingdom of Heaven, when it is set up at the return of Christ. Mt. 18:1-4; Jn. 3:3-8; Rev. 19:7-8 This life is the only time men have to put on that righteousness of the saints in order to get into the real, literal kingdom.  This negligent man was commanded to be put in the same furnace of fire in which the tares, bad fish, and all the wicked were commanded to be put at the end of this age. Mt. 13:37-43, 49-50; 24:51; 25:31-46; Rev. 20:11-15

The central truth which the story illustrates is stated in verse 14.  It is the same truth the parable of the laborers in the vineyard illustrates. “For many are called, but few are chosen,” or “whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”. Lk. 14:11; 18:14  The difference in the two parables is that the one story illustrates the importance of humility in service, while this one illustrates the importance of preparation in this life to be chosen of God and accepted when we shall see Him. All are called to salvation, Mt. 11:28; Jn. 3:16; Rev. 22:17 but few will finally be saved. Mt. 7:13-14; Lk. 13:23-30

Jesus was teaching these Jews who desired His life and who rejected Him as their Messiah that they were not worthy of the blessings that He had in store for them, that the Gentiles and individual Jews who accepted the invitation would be blessed with the things that the Jewish nation rejected, and that there must be a preparation made before they would be admitted into the presence of God. The necessary preparation was to put on the wedding garment or change their raiment. It was the custom in the East for royal guests to put on garments provided, else they would be excluded from the feasts. A rejection of the garment provided was taken as an insult and a total disregard for the one who provided the garment. It was an avowal that the guest denied the authority and despised the power of the one providing the raiment. This was exactly true of the Jews who refused the teaching of Christ, which was able to make them wise unto salvation.

I will answer the call by choosing God’s salvation through Jesus Christ; I will not deny the authority or despise the power that is provided, so that I can be prepared and be admitted into the presence of God.

The Parable of the Householder

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.nAnd when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. Mat 21:33-46 KJV

The householder illustrates God the Father, who sent His Son into the world to redeem mankind. Mt. 21:37; Jn. 3:16; 15:1  The vineyard illustrates the kingdom of Heaven part of the kingdom of God, which was intrusted to the Jews, planted by God with the rich and fruitful vines of the knowledge of God, His commandments, the institutions of religion, and His revealed Word. Mt. 21:43; Mk. 12:1-9; Lk. 20:9-19; Rom. 3:1-2; 9:1-5 The hedge illustrates God’s watchful care and provision for the protection of the kingdom, so that it would be free from the intrusion of wild beasts which would spoil the vines and destroy the fruit. The winepress illustrates all the institutions and means of blessing for the human race. Winepresses were hewn out of solid rock. They usually consisted of two or three vats, each a little higher than the other, with troughs from one to the other. The grapes were put in the top vat, which was always the biggest, and two or more persons with naked feet and legs would jump up and down, crushing the grapes. The juice flowed into the next vat and from it would be drawn off into the next, or into vessels, leaving the dregs in the vats. The tower illustrates the place of dwelling where the workers of the vineyard could find rest and recreation and a place to store the fruit. These towers in literal vineyards were sometimes forty to fifty feet high, affording a place for the watchman to see the vineyard and protect it.

The husbandmen illustrate Israel who had charge of the vineyard to render unto the householder the fruit in due season. Mt. 21:45-46 There were two kinds of leases that could be had in the East. The tenant paid a money rent to the proprietor, or else he agreed to give the owner a definite amount of the produce, whether the harvest had been good or bad. Such leases were given by the year or for life; sometimes the lease was even hereditary, passing from father to son. The latter kind of lease is no doubt referred to in this parable.

The householder going away illustrates the long period that God permitted the nation to be ruled under the guidance of kings and prophets through the law. Acts 13:17-43  The time of the fruit illustrates the seasons that God expected results from the Jews in extending the kingdom among other nations and doing those things required to bring the knowledge of God to others.

The servants illustrate the Old Testament prophets, priests, and teachers whom God sent to get the Jews to render to Him the fruit of the kingdom. Mt. 23:37-39; Heb. 11:32-40  The son of the householder illustrates the Son of God, who was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. Mt. 10:6; 23:37-39; Jn. 1:11; 3:16; Acts 2:22-36  The maltreatment of the servants and the son illustrates the bitter hatreds and backslidings of Israel against God from the time in Egypt to the crucifixion of Christ. This is plainly recorded in 1 Ki. 18:13; 22:24-27; 2 Ki. 6:31; 21:16; 2 Chron. 24:19-22; 36:16; Jer. 37:138:28; Mt. 23:37-39; Acts 7:52; Heb. 11:36; Lk. 4:29; Jn. 8:37, 59; 10:31-39; 19:14-30.

The scheme of the husbandmen to seize the inheritance illustrates the reason for their rejection of the Messiah. They sinned against light. If Jesus was the Messiah and if He was introducing the kingdom of God, the whole spirit of which was different from theirs, then they would lose their places as rulers, as teachers, as men of influence, as well as their authority over the people and their chief business. They were so connected with a system and with wrong ideas, principles, and customs, which must pass away with the reign of the Messiah, that if Christ prevailed they must fall. They imagined that if they could destroy Christ, they could continue in their possession of the inheritance. They killed that they might possess, but killing was the shortest road to entire loss. Every possible method of leading them to right conduct had been exhausted; so judgment must fall. They pronounced their own judgment. Mt. 21:40-41 The destruction of the husbandmen refers to the cutting off of Israel and the destruction of their city and nation. Mt. 23:37-39; 24:2; Lk. 21:20-24; Acts 13:44-49; 18:6; Rom. 11:1-33

The central truths illustrated are stated in Mat. 21:42-44. The Jews at last saw the application of the parable and immediately went out unconsciously to fulfill it. There are three main truths illustrated by this story:

  • The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner. 21:42; Ps. 118:22-23; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7 The cornerstone on which the superstructure rested was the most important stone in the building. The primary meaning in the Psalm about the rejected stone was taken from the great cornerstone that the builders of Solomon’s Temple left out because they did not understand the head architect’s plans. Afterward this stone was found to be that on which the completeness of the structure depended – on which the two walls met and were bonded together. The Messiah of these Jews was compared to this stone. Christ warned them not to make the same mistake that the builders of the Temple had made.
  • The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 21:43 This refers to the cutting off of Israel from being the ministers and people of God to carry out God’s purpose of evangelizing the world. Acts 13:44-52; 18:6; Rom. 11:1-33 The Gentiles have been the propagators of the Gospel throughout this Age of Grace.
  •  Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder  Mt. 21:44 This saying means that the individual who humbles himself and falls on the stone for mercy shall receive mercy and shall become broken in heart and spirit, Isa. 57:15; 66:1-2; Ps. 34:18; Mt. 5:3-7 but if he hardens himself against God, he shall receive judgment without mercy. The stone in this verse is the same as in verse 42. It refers to Christ, who is pictured as a stone in Scripture, in a threefold way:
  1. To Israel – He is pictured as a stumbling stone and a rock of offence, because He came as a lowly servant instead of a great world-monarch 8:14; Rom. 9:32-33; 1 Cor. 1:23; 1 Pet. 2:8
  2. To the Church – He is pictured as a foundation stone and the head of the corner 1 Cor. 3:11; 2:20-22; 1 Pet. 2:4-5
  3. To the nations – He is pictured as a smiting stone of destruction 2:34, 44-45; Lk. 21:24; Rev. 16:14; 19:11-21

Israel stumbled over Christ; the Church is built upon Christ; and the nations will be broken by Christ.