“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2 NKJV).
One of Jesus’ parables that infuriated the religious leaders of His days was certainly the parable of the wicked vinedressers in Matthew 21 vs. 33-46.
After the Lord Jesus had narrated this parable, the religious leaders who heard it perceived that Jesus was speaking about them and therefore sought to lay hands on Jesus to kill Him (Matt. 21:45-46).
What is it in this parable that angered the Jewish leaders to the extent of seeking to kill Jesus?
It certainly worth finding out!
The parable of the wicked vinedressers is about a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower, and then leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.
When the season of the fruits drew near, the landowner sent his servants to the vinedressers that they might receive the fruit for him. But, instead of giving these servants the fruit of the vineyard, they maltreated them – seized, stoned and kill some of them. (Matt. 21:33-36).
Eventually, the owner of the vineyard sent his son to the vinedressers, thinking they will respect his son and give him the fruit of his vineyard. Unfortunately, he was wrong.
The Scripture states: “But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ “So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.” (Matt. 21:38-39 NKJV).
Jesus ended this parable asking, “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?”
The people answered rightly. They said to Jesus, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” (Matt. 21:41 NKJV).
The Lord Jesus primarily employed this parable to show or express to the Jews their rebellious attitudes towards God. In this parable, the children of Israel are the vinedressers chosen and appointed by God to be caretakers of His vineyard.
God expected the children of Israel to show forth and manifest His love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to other nations, so that the Gentiles nations may glorify God and be drawn to the God of Israel.
Unfortunately, the children of Israel continually rebelled against God. They forsook God and ran after the gods of the Gentiles nations. God sent many messengers or prophets to them to call them to repentance, but they rejected, persecuted, and killed them (Matt. 23:34-35, Luke 11:47-51).
Finally, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the Jews but they also rejected, maltreated and killed Him as they had done to all the prophets God had earlier sent to them (1 Thess. 2:14-15).
The Scripture testifies, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:11-12 NKJV).
The born-again believers today, like the children of Israel, are the vinedressers of God’s vineyard. As a believer, you are a steward, manager, or caretaker of God’s vineyard, resources, or estate. Your talents, gifting, anointing, skills, riches or wealth are part of God’s vineyard committed into your care.
God’s vineyard also includes your life, marriage, home, relationship, career, business or ministry. All that you have are graciously given to you by God for His purpose – for you to bring forth fruit to God’s praise and glory.
It is God’s earnest desire and expectation that you will diligently cultivate the vineyard He has entrusted to your care and not hold back its good fruit from Him.
What kind of fruit does God expect from you?
Christlike fruit! The fruit of the Spirit!
God expects from His vineyard under your care the fruit of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23 NKJV).
According to the parable of the wicked vinedressers, the children of Israel held back from God the fruit of God’s vineyard entrusted to their care. Consequently, they lost the vineyard.
Jesus said to them, “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.” (Matt. 21:43 NKJV).
Sadly, many believers today, like the rebellious children of Israel who chose not to bear fruit unto God from the vineyard God gave to them, are holding back the fruit of God’s vineyard from God Himself and the people God is sending to them to partake of the fruit of His blessings in their lives.
Beloved, when you are self-centred, thinking only about yourself and living only to please yourself; you are simply a wicked vinedresser. When your character or lifestyle brings no praise, honour or glory to God; you are a wicked vinedresser. When you are not actively involved in promoting and advancing God’s kingdom on earth with your God-given resources; you are just a wicked vinedresser.
Unfortunately, many servants of God today are also wicked vinedressers, holding back from God the glory, honour and praise that rightly belong to God by enthroning and establishing themselves as “gods” in God’s vineyard (the Church) and subtly demanding to be feared, worshipped and praised by God’s children.
Just as the wicked vinedressers cast out of the vineyard the son of the owner of the vineyard in the parable, sadly, the Lord Jesus Christ has been cast out of many churches today, and men, human doctrines, traditions, religious rules and rites have taken over the place of Christ (Matt. 21:38-39).
Friend, God is calling you today to repent of your rebellious and selfish ways or lifestyle, and begin to bear fruits worthy of repentance.
The Scripture admonishes, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.” (Matt. 3:8 NKJV).
“And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matt. 3:10 NKJV).
The Lord Jesus warns, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2 NKJV).
How do you bear fruit from God’s vineyard?
Abide in the Vine, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Abide in the word, teaching or doctrine of Jesus Christ!
Walk in the Spirit!
Let the Holy Spirit direct, guide and control your steps and actions!
Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5 NKJV).
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” (John 8:31 NKJV).
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making me a caretaker of Your vineyard. Help me Lord to bring forth good fruit continually and abundantly to you from Your vineyard, in Jesus’ name. Amen.