Growing in faith is a crucial aspect of a teenager’s spiritual journey. As young believers, it is important for teenagers to understand the teachings of Jesus and how they can apply them to their own lives. In Matthew 21:33-46, Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard, which provides valuable lessons on our relationship with God and the responsibility entrusted to us as His followers.
Bible Reading: Matthew 21:33-39
“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”
Explanation: Understanding the Parable
- The vineyard represents God’s kingdom, and the landowner symbolizes God Himself.
- The tenants are the religious leaders of the day, who were responsible for leading God’s people.
- The servants sent by the landowner are the prophets and messengers God sent to guide His people, but they were rejected and mistreated.
- The son represents Jesus, whom the religious leaders rejected and eventually crucified.
- How does this parable illustrate God’s patience and grace towards His people?
- What can we learn about the responsibility entrusted to us as followers of Jesus?
- How do you think the religious leaders felt when Jesus told them this parable?
- Why do you think the religious leaders rejected Jesus?
- Can you relate to any part of this parable in your own life?
Bible Reading: Matthew 21:40-46
“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.”
Explanation: The Consequences and Application
- The religious leaders recognized that Jesus was speaking about them and understood the implications.
- Jesus uses a quote from the Psalms to emphasize that those who reject Him will face judgment.
- The kingdom of God will be taken away from those who reject Jesus and given to those who produce spiritual fruit.
- This parable challenges us to examine our own hearts and ensure we are producing fruit for God’s kingdom.
- What does it mean for Jesus to be the cornerstone of our faith?
- How can we produce spiritual fruit in our lives today?
- How can we avoid falling into the same pitfalls as the religious leaders in this parable?
- What are the consequences of rejecting Jesus in our lives?
- What steps can we take to ensure that we are building our lives on the foundation of Jesus?
Youth Group Game: “Fruitful Vineyard Relay”
Split the group into teams and set up a relay race course with various stations. At each station, place a basket of fruit representing different spiritual fruits mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control). Each team member must complete a task before running to the next station. The team that collects all the fruit and crosses the finish line first wins. After the game, discuss the importance of producing spiritual fruit in our lives.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the valuable lessons we have learned from the parable of the vineyard. We ask for your guidance and strength as we seek to grow in our faith and produce spiritual fruit in our lives.
Help us to understand the significance of Jesus being the cornerstone of our faith. May we build our lives on His teachings and follow His example in all that we do.
Lord, we recognize the responsibility you have entrusted to us as your followers. Give us the wisdom and courage to be faithful stewards of the gifts and opportunities you have given us. Help us to share your love and truth with those around us.
As we reflect on this parable, may it serve as a reminder to remain humble, avoiding the pitfalls of pride and self-righteousness. Instead, let us be filled with gratitude for the grace and mercy you have shown us.
We pray that we may bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, reflecting your character to the world. Help us to love, serve, and bring glory to your name through our actions and words.
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.