A couple of days after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the day after He cleansed the temple, Jesus returned to the temple complex and began teaching. The chief priests and elders questioned Jesus. “Who gave You this authority?” they asked. These religious leaders did not want to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. So Jesus told them parables to get them thinking and to teach them about Himself.
The parable of the wicked tenants illustrates the story of Israel’s history. As you teach kids, help them connect the story to what happened in Israel’s history. First, the landowner is God the Father. He chose to bless the world through Abraham’s family, the people of Israel. The vineyard is Israel.
The tenants are the leaders of Israel. Throughout history, God sent the Old Testament prophets to speak to God’s people. But they did not listen to the prophets. Like the tenants of the vineyard, Israel’s leaders persecuted the prophets. So God the Father sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus knew that the people were going to kill Him like the tenants killed the landowner’s son.
Jesus led the leaders to conclude themselves what would be fair: that the landowner would punish the tenants and find workers who respect Him. God too is just. God will judge those who reject Jesus. He planned to choose a people who respect and trust Him—those who have faith—and form a community of believers from every nation to live under His righteous leadership.
Jesus told this story to teach the religious leaders about Himself. God sent His own Son, Jesus, to earth but the religious leaders rejected Him. Jesus is the cornerstone—the most important One of all. Only He can save us from our sin.
Those who encounter Jesus can either accept and trust Him or walk away and reject Him. No one who meets Jesus will walk away unchanged. Pray that God would change the hearts of your kids so that they would come to trust in Jesus, the Son of the loving and just Master, who wants everyone to come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9)
FAMILY STARTING POINTS
- Babies and Toddlers
- Jesus told stories about God.
- Jesus told a story about God’s plan.
- People wanted to hurt Jesus.
- God sent Jesus because He loves us.
- Why did Jesus tell stories? Jesus told stories to teach people about God.
- God will judge those who do not follow Jesus.
- Why did Jesus tell parables? Jesus told parables to teach people about God and His kingdom.
- God will judge those who reject Jesus.
UNIT KEY PASSAGE
- Mark 6:34
- “Jesus Turned Water to Wine” (John 2:1-12)