And He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. “And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ “So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others ” When they heard it, they said, ” May it never be!” But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,
THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone’? “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” (Luke 20:9-18)
As I look at this parable, I can’t help but ask the question: “How did Jesus see Himself and His mission in the world?” There is much confusion today in whether or not Jesus actually made claims to deity or if it was something concocted after His death by those who admired Him. Now, I’m no New Testament or Historical scholar, but I would like to share some thoughts concerning what Jesus thought about His own status of Deity. There were times when Jesus Christ received worship from men, so we know He definitely thought Himself entitled to something that He taught should only be given to God. We also see that He was point blank asked if He is the son of the Blessed One (God) and Jesus answered in the affirmative, calling Himself “Son of Man” ( see Daniel 7 for the significance of this term). The high priest tore his own clothes upon hearing this and charged Jesus with blasphemy. It was abundantly clear to all Jews present that Jesus claimed to be of the same substance as God. Jesus even said that He was before Abraham lived, as well as that of sharing God’s glory before He came to earth claiming both eternality and possessing the glory of God.
But aside from these things, I want to look at this story Jesus told to those who were challenging His authority to do the things He was doing. He tells the people about a Vineyard that a man planted and rented out to workers. When the man sent some of his servants (the prophets in the Old Testament) the workers badly beat, mistreated, and sent them away empty handed. The owner of the vineyard then sent his beloved son (Jesus) whom the workers killed. Jesus makes it clear in His story that He is far more than a mere prophet (servant) of God (the man who owned the vineyard). He has a special relation to God that no one else has ever had – He is the beloved Son of God. Jesus didn’t claim to be The Father, but He did claim to be of the same essence as The Father. He claimed to be above all the others who were sent previously by The Father to Israel. This parable is a clear instance where Jesus places Himself on equal footing with God. A story that pictures what He explicitly taught when He said that to see Him was to see The Father, for He and The Father are one.
One cannot deny that Jesus actually made claims to Deity. Jesus believed, lived, worked, and spoke as if He were God in the flesh come to redeem fallen humanity and institute the kingdom of God. Do you?