We’re spending Holy Week following Jesus.
On Monday, he spent much of the day in the temple courts telling stories. He talked about two sons. One said he wouldn’t go do the chores, and then went out and took care of them. The other said that he would do exactly as asked, but then didn’t get around to it.
He talked about a man who had a vineyard and then hired someone to take care of it for him. When the man sent servants to get the rent, in the form of grapes, the renters beat some, killed some, threw stones at some. Then the man sent his son. The renters killed him, believing they would end up inheriting the property.
Compelling stories. The first resonates with any parent. The second sounds like a story that would be made into a TV movie. They are part of the interesting part of Matthew.
However, they aren’t just stories. They had a point.
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet. [Matthew 21:45-46]
It was exactly like writing a blog post, knowing that one of your readers will know from the details that you are talking about them. And knowing they understand what you are saying about them. And knowing that they will be able to tell from all the comments agreeing with you that they are in trouble. And knowing they’ll want to kill you.
Only Jesus knew that they really did want to kill him.
And Jesus knew that many after the pharisees would also look religious but not follow God from the inside out.