Key Verse: Luke 20:14
Big Idea: The Son of Man is the heir of all creation, but invites us to share as joint-heirs with Him.
The parable of the tenants in Luke 20:9-18 is essentially a history of the world and of Israel in particular. God is the landowner, who planted a garden for mankind (and put Israel in the land that flowed with milk and honey). Everything we have really belongs to Him, and He sent His servants (Moses, the prophets, the apostles) to ask us for a portion of what was all His. Imagine! God lets us live in His world and experience His blessings, and all He asks in return is that we return a small portion of what is already His. But, the tenants beat the servant and sent him away empty-handed.
Younger kids: Take a minute to explain to younger kids that an heir is someone who will receive something when the owner dies. Eventually, they have a right to possess it. With God, things are a little different. Jesus, as the heir of all creation, is the one who has the right to possess it all. But when we are saved, we become God's children and are allowed to share in His blessings like we are His siblings.
So the Master sent others, but they were mistreated too, one after the other. Finally, He decided to send His own Son: if they would listen to anyone, it would be Him. Instead of obeying, they cast Him out and killed Him. If they had accepted the Son, they would have had mercy. But if they reject the Son, there is no later messenger of grace. Time is up. The tenants who destroyed His Son will find themselves destroyed, and find the vineyard given to others instead.
In the immediate sense, because the nation of Israel finally rejected Jesus' plea, God offered the Kingdom to the Gentiles. More generally, the wise and the "righteous" of this world are rejected and those who come to Jesus with simple faith are the ones who inherit the Kingdom. When God comes to us, demanding what is rightfully His, do we respond with gratitude or entitlement?
Discussion idea: Compare the way they treated the servants to the way they treated the Son. Who was treated worse? Why?
Prayer focus: Thank God for some specific blessings in your life, and ask Him to show you some ways to give a portion of them back to Him.