We can’t help wondering about the landlord in this story. What landlord in his right mind would act this way? His tenants hadn’t simply fallen behind in paying their rent. They had beaten up the landlord’s servants, one after another, when they had come to collect payments. Why did the landlord let the tenants get away with that? Was he timid, or weak? Was he unbelievably foolish?
When the landlord finally sent his own son to collect what was due him, the tenants made things even worse by killing the son.
As we think about this story, we need to bear in mind that it’s a parable. Jesus’ parables are attention-grabbing, often surprising stories about the kingdom of God. This particular parable is about God and his mercy, patience, and justice toward sinful human beings.
Look back at the Old Testament and consider the history of God’s people. They often fell into periods of rebellion and evil against God. God sent prophets to call them to repent and honor him, but the people often mistreated and even killed those prophets. Finally, God sent his Son, Jesus, and they rejected and killed him too.
God is patient and merciful—and also just. The message is clear: Now is the time to turn back to God! Repent and receive Jesus before God’s judgment falls.