Jesus explains the vineyard by taking us to the stone quarry. He illustrates viticulture with masonry. It’s when you go to the construction site, that the farm is made sense of. When we turn from green living vines to cold hard stone, we understand the judgment that comes against the Jewish leaders. You cannot be fruitful unless you have a massive stone in your garden.
The leaders abuse everything that is “His,” that is, the owner’s. They withhold “his fruit,” beat, kill, and stone “his servants,” and murder “his son,” because they want “his (now the son’s) inheritance.” Indeed the only thing they can do is abuse “his” stuff, because all that they have has been given to them. Sin is always stealing. The sinner always has to borrow to rebel. How does masonry explain this? Let me illustrate it like this, as characters in a story, all that the tenants have is given to them by the author. If Jesus doesn’t think it up, it does not exist. Likewise, God is the author of the story we find ourselves in. If He does not speak it, it simply isn’t. All that is, is through and for the Son (Colossians 1:15-20). The leaders want to keep the stuff in the story, and murder the Author. They want to remain part of the cabinet while assassinating the president. They want to reject the Cornerstone, of all that is, expecting all to still stand so that they can have it for themselves. They are just like Adam. We are just like them. We all want to be God, so God must die.
This is the insanity of sin. As Francis Schaffer said, we are trying to plant both feet firmly in mid air. We want the lamp to put out light, but hate the idea of plugging it in. When you rebel against light what else can you expect but darkness? When you hate the God of all wisdom, folly is your lot. When you rebel against life, there is only death. We are worse than physicists who reject the existence of atoms, or carpenters who reject wood. We want all that is His without the Him, but without the Him there is nothing. Jesus is the foundation to everything. Build all you want in the make-believe world of sin, but it won’t stand. Reject Jesus and you will find nothing under your feet, only a bottomless pit. The Pharisees want the castle while rejecting the only foundation that can support it. You cannot have the kingdom while rejecting the King. God’s reign of salvation has come in Jesus. He is its Cornerstone. This is God’s doing. May it be marvelous in our eyes.