What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Mark 12:9-11
Why had the owner put the tenants in the vineyard? Both for the good of the vineyard — as they care for it and make it fruitful — and for their own good. They were expected to share in the productivity of the vineyard.
Just so, God put the religious leaders in charge of Israel for their good and His glory. Yet they rejected Him, and act as if their own selfish interests are all that matter. Ironically, by selfishly guarding “their own interests,” they themselves miss out on the greatest joy of all: a loving relationship with King of Universe.
So God will do away with the existing tenants – the Jewish religious leaders – and will give to others the task of leading His people. Matthew’s account makes this explicit; these words follow after the quotation from Psalm 118 concerning the chief cornerstone:
Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it. (Matthew 21:43 NASB)
What is the lesson of this parable for us? How can we ensure that we bear fruit instead of being dried and worthless branches, like the scribes and Pharisees?
Consider the error of the tenants. They received numerous messages from the owner, but rejected the messages and harmed the messengers. Indeed, they rejected the owner’s son, thinking that they then would have vineyard to themselves.
Do you see what this means? They rejected the Word of God: the Word in both its written form and personal form. So God rejects them, creating His church, and destroying both the temple and Jerusalem by the hands of the Romans 40 years later.
Yet the stone they reject becomes the chief cornerstone. Jesus himself is the cornerstone of the new building, the church, which brings glory to God.