They were warned by the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 5:1-2, 4-7
My friend had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside;
he spaded it, cleared it of stones,
and planted the choicest vines;
within it he built a watchtower,
and hewed out a wine press.
Then he looked for the crop of grapes,
but what it yielded was wild grapes.…
What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I had not done?
Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes,
did it bring forth wild grapes?
Now, I will let you know
what I mean to do with my vineyard:
take away its hedge, give it to grazing,
break through its wall, let it be trampled!
Yes, I will make it a ruin:
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
but overgrown with thorns and briers;
I will command the clouds
not to send rain upon it.
The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah are his cherished plant;
he looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed!
for justice, but hark, the outcry!
But they did not heed Isaiah’s warning.
Nor did they heed a last warning, from the Son of God Himself.
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking,
‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?
Therefore, I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.“
And so, God’s covenant passed from the Jews to the Gentiles.
Then He took a loaf of bread,
and when He had given thanks,
He broke it and gave it to them, saying,
“This is my body, which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
And He did the same with the cup after supper saying,
“This cup that is poured out for you
is the new covenant in my Blood,
which will be shed for you.”
And, “In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete.” (Hebrews 8:13)
For “God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:35)
But we followers of Christ, with whom a new Covenant is made, are also forewarned. If we, singly or as a people, neglect and abuse the “vineyard” given to us by God, we also will be trampled on and abandoned.
A sobering thought . . . .
What to do?
St. Paul has the answer (Philippians 4:8, 7). We are to fix our eyes, minds and hearts on:
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure . . . .
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
May the peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,