The Wicked Tenants
“He saw a large crowd and had compassion on them… Then he began to teach them many things.” Mark 6:34
A couple of days after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the day after He cleansed the temple, Jesus returned to the temple complex and began teaching. The chief priests and elders questioned Jesus. “Who gave You this authority?” they asked. These religious leaders did not want to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. So Jesus told them parables to get them thinking and to teach them about Himself.
The parable of the wicked tenants illustrates the story of Israel’s history. As you teach kids, help them connect the story to what happened in Israel’s history. First, the landowner is God the Father. He chose to bless the world through Abraham’s family, the people of Israel. The vineyard is Israel.
The tenants are the leaders of Israel. Throughout history, God sent the Old Testament prophets to speak to God’s people. But they did not listen to the prophets. Like the tenants of the vineyard, Israel’s leaders persecuted the prophets. So God the Father sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus knew that the people were going to kill Him like the tenants killed the landowner’s son.
Jesus led the leaders to conclude themselves what would be fair: that the landowner would punish the tenants and find workers who respect Him. God too is just. God will judge those who reject Jesus. He planned to choose a people who respect and trust Him—those who have faith—and form a community of believers from every nation to live under His righteous leadership.
Jesus told this story to teach the religious leaders about Himself. God sent His own Son, Jesus, to earth but the religious leaders rejected Him. Jesus is the cornerstone—the most important One of all. Only He can save us from our sin.
Those who encounter Jesus can either accept and trust Him or walk away and reject Him. No one who meets Jesus will walk away unchanged. Pray that God would change the hearts of your kids so that they would come to trust in Jesus, the Son of the loving and just Master, who wants everyone to come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9)
Check this session’s Activity Page and Big Picture Card as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.
KEY PASSAGE: Mark 6:34
BIG PICTURE QUESTION:
- Why did Jesus tell stories? Jesus told stories to teach people about God.
BIBLE STORY: THE PHARISEE AND THE TAX COLLECTOR
- Jesus taught about being humble.
- Jesus told a story about two men who prayed.
- The religious leader prayed by telling God how good he was.
- The tax collector prayed by asking God for mercy.
FAMILY DISCUSSION STARTERS:
- Is it ever OK to think you are better than someone else?
- Can we make God love us more by doing good things?
- What are some ways you are tempted to think you are better than someone else?
- Invite a family to dinner or a play date whom you would not typically spend time with.
- Spend some time in prayer as a family. Thank God for mercy.
NEXT WEEK “Jesus Turned Water to Wine” (John 2:1-12)