The first portion of this passage can be described as a day of questioning. The Jewish authorities came to Jesus with question after question to trap him. Jesus saw this and answered in such a way that left them confounded and without response. Their question of “what authority” was intended to find some reason to level a charge against Jesus. Jesus claimed independent authority so that the authorities would not claim blasphemy and could not charge him with a crime. The Pharisees refused to face and answer Jesus’s question and thus had to withdraw and remove themselves from the crowd.
In verses 9-19—This parable is very clear. The vineyard represents Israel. The tenants are the rulers of Israel. The messengers are prophets that were not listened to, that were persecuted, and many were killed. The son is Jesus. The consequences are that Israel should have had a place of glory but was instead given to others. This parable tells us some things about God. First, that God is patient. The owner gave the tenants a chance to do the right thing. Second, it tells us that there is judgment. The tenants thought they could get away with it. The day of reckoning came. This parable tells us something about Jesus. First, it tells us he knew what was coming. Jesus was unafraid and he was coming to carry out his mission. For Jesus, there was no turning back. Second, it tells us that Jesus never doubted God’s ultimate victory. Sometimes in life we think that wickedness prevails, but in the end it cannot escape punishment. Third, it makes the ultimate claim that Jesus is the Son of God. The prophets were servants, he IS the SON. In this parable, he made the claim that no one could fail to see God’s chosen One.