|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:33-46 This parable plainly sets forth the sin and ruin of the Jewish nation; and what is spoken to convict them, is spoken to caution all that enjoy the privileges of the outward church. As men treat God's people, they would treat Christ himself, if he were with them. How can we, if faithful to his cause, expect a favourable reception from a wicked world, or from ungodly professors of Christianity! And let us ask ourselves, whether we who have the vineyard and all its advantages, render fruits in due season, as a people, as a family, or as separate persons. Our Saviour, in his question, declares that the Lord of the vineyard will come, and when he comes he will surely destroy the wicked. The chief priests and the elders were the builders, and they would not admit his doctrine or laws; they threw him aside as a despised stone. But he who was rejected by the Jews, was embraced by the Gentiles. Christ knows who will bring forth gospel fruits in the use of gospel means. The unbelief of sinners will be their ruin. But God has many ways of restraining the remainders of wrath, as he has of making that which breaks out redound to his praise. May Christ become more and more precious to our souls, as the firm Foundation and Cornerstone of his church. May we be willing to follow him, though despised and hated for his sake.
Verse 46. - They feared the multitude. They did not dare to lay violent hands on Jesus in the presence of the excited crowd, which would have withstood any such attack at this moment. A Prophet (see ver. 11). If they did not recognize him as Messiah, they regarded him as one inspired by God, and having a Divine mission. This accounts for the joyful acquiescence of the Pharisaical party in the offer of Judas, when he proposed to betray his Master in the absence of the multitude
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But when they sought to lay hands on him,.... Not that they attempted by any outward action to apprehend him, and carry him off, or by any immediate act of violence to take away his life; but they secretly wished, and earnestly desired to do it: they were so irritated and provoked, that they could scarcely keep their hands off of him, and could have been glad of an opportunity of satiating their revenge upon him: and whereby they would but have fulfilled what he in this parable had prophetically said of them: and yet so hardened were they, though they understood his meaning, they were not deterred thereby, but on another account:
they feared the multitude; which were now about Christ, lest there should be a tumult, and they should take the part of Christ against them, to which they seemed inclined; when their lives, had they attempted anything of this nature, would have been in a great deal of danger:
because they took him for a prophet; by the doctrines which he taught, by the boldness and freedom of speech he used, and by the miracles he wrought: wherefore, though they might not all of them believe that he was the Messiah, or that prophet Moses spoke of; yet, since it was exceeding manifest, that he was a teacher sent of God, and endowed with very wonderful gifts; and from whom many of them had received singular benefits, if not for their souls, yet for their bodies; being healed by him of their lameness, or blindness, or other diseases; therefore would not suffer him to be abused, and ill treated by them: so that, as Mark says, "they left him, and went their way"; to consult together what was proper to be done, and wait for a better opportunity to seize him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
46. But when they sought to lay hands on him—which Luke (Lu 20:19) says they did "the same hour," hardly able to restrain their rage.
they feared the multitude—rather, "the multitudes."
because they took him for a prophet—just as they feared to say John's baptism was of men, because the masses took him for a prophet (Mt 21:26). Miserable creatures! So, for this time, "they left Him and went their way" (Mr 12:12).
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