Next, Jesus is confronted by the religious leadership (1-8). They want to know where Jesus gets his authority from. The leadership could point to teachers and schools, but Jesus just showed up! If Jesus gave them the truth (that His authority was from God) they wouldn’t accept it and would use it against Him. So instead, He asks them about the baptism of John, knowing that however they answer will get them into trouble. They refuse to answer, so Jesus refuses too.
God sent prophets (slaves in the parable) to Israel and finally sent His Son, and the nation as a whole refused to listen (9-19). Therefore the kingdom will be offered to others. Jesus is foreshadowing the fact that the gospel will be preached to the Gentiles (non-Jews) after his death, burial, and resurrection. What is heartbreaking is the care that God has taken in making His vineyard (the nation) only to have them refuse Him. We see that care and heartbreak reflected in Isaiah:
Isaiah 5:1-7 “I will sing to my love— a song to my lover about his vineyard. My love had a vineyard on a fertile hill. He built a hedge around it, removed its stones, and planted a vine. He built a tower in the middle of it,, and constructed a winepress. He waited for it to produce edible grapes, but it produced sour ones instead. So now, residents of Jerusalem, people of Judah, you decide between me and my vineyard! What more can I do for my vineyard beyond what I have already done? When I waited for it to produce edible grapes, why did it produce sour ones instead? Now I will inform you what I am about to do to my vineyard: I will remove its hedge and turn it into pasture, I will break its wall and allow animals to graze there. I will make it a wasteland; no one will prune its vines or hoe its ground, and thorns and briers will grow there. I will order the clouds not to drop any rain on it. Indeed Israel is the vineyard of the LORD who commands armies, the people of Judah are the cultivated place in which he took delight. He waited for justice, but look what he got—disobedience! He waited for fairness, but look what he got—cries for help!”
Jesus also teaches that He is the foundation that faith is built on! He is the cornerstone, and if you don’t believe in Him you will be utterly destroyed.
Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”