September 2, 2012: Matthew 21:33-42, Told for Younger Children
Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Christian Education · August 27, 2012
One day, our Lord Jesus Christ told a parable, a story with a special meaning, to some of the important leaders in the Hebrew faith. He told them, “Once upon a time, there was a land owner who planted a vineyard. He worked very hard to make it nice: he planted a hedge around it to protect it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower where someone could watch over the vineyard. Then, he lent the vineyard to tenants, in exchange for some of the fruit that they would grow there, and he went away.
“When it was time for the fruit to be ready, the land owner sent three servants to the tenants to ask for his fruit. When the tenants saw the servants coming, they wanted to keep all of the fruit, so they beat one servant, killed another, and threw stones at the third one.
“When the land owner found out what the tenants had done, he sent more servants than he had sent the first time. The tenants did the same thing to these servants!
“The land owner thought, ‘I will send my son to get the fruit. The tenants will obey him because he is my son!’
“But, when the tenants saw who was coming to get the fruit, they said to each other, ‘He’s the one that will own this land one day. If we kill him, we’ll get the land to ourselves and will not have to listen to the land owner any more!’ So, they threw the son out of the vineyard and killed him.”
Then, our Lord Jesus Christ turned to the important leaders and asked them, “Now what do you think that the land owner will do with these tenants?”
They said, “Well, he will put them
all to death, and let someone
better be in charge of the vineyards!”
Jesus told the leaders this story to teach them a lesson. He wanted them to know that they were not taking care of God’s people in the way that they should have. He wanted them to know that He
knew they would kill Him one day. He also wanted them to know that God would take care of his people, his “vineyard,” even if they would not.
1. To whom was Jesus telling this story?
2. The land owner got the land all ready for the tenants to use. What would he get for letting the tenants use the land?
3. When it was time for the fruit to be ready, the land owner sent some servants to get his fruit. What happened?
4. When the second group of servants was not able to get the land owner’s fruit, whom did he send? Why?
5. What did the tenants do to the land owner’s son? Why did they do that?
6. Jesus told this story to teach the leaders a lesson. What did He want them to know? Does God take care of His people?
7. The next time the bishop visits your parish, listen for the prayer when he asks God to “look down, O Lord, upon this vineyard…” He is praying for your parish. YOU are part of God’s vineyard, too!