Then Jesus started telling them stories. "A man planted a vineyard. He fenced it, dug a winepress, erected a watchtower, turned it over to the farmhands, and went off on a trip.
At the time for harvest, he sent a servant back to the farmhands to collect his profits.
"They grabbed him, beat him up, and sent him off empty-handed.
So he sent another servant. That one they tarred and feathered.
He sent another and that one they killed. And on and on, many others. Some they beat up, some they killed.
"Finally there was only one left: a beloved son. In a last-ditch effort, he sent him, thinking, 'Surely they will respect my son.'
"But those farmhands saw their chance. They rubbed their hands together in greed and said, 'This is the heir! Let's kill him and have it all for ourselves.'
They grabbed him, killed him, and threw him over the fence.
"What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? Right. He'll come and clean house. Then he'll assign the care of the vineyard to others.
Read it for yourselves in Scripture: That stone the masons threw out is now the cornerstone!
This is God's work; we rub our eyes - we can hardly believe it!"
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)