The evil farmers/tenants are called evil because they did not respect the rightful authority of the agents, nor the heir of the vineyard owner. He sent His representatives and they did not honor their authority.

In his wisdom-filled way, Jesus actually answered the question of the religious teachers quite directly. They understood very clearly that they were being called evil, because they were questioning Jesus’ authority. They were asking the same question that Satan asked Jesus in the desert, “If you really are the Son of God…”

They saw all the things He was doing. The gospels say He spoke as one having authority, so they were asking: “By whose authority do you cleanse the Temple? Heal the sick? Raise the dead? Cast out demons? Forgive sins? Teach and preach the Good News in the Temple? Our religious leaders didn’t send you, so who did?”

Though they should have known, Jesus made clear by this parable that His authority as heir, came from the Father who sent him. Even if the religious teachers were not prepared to see Him as the Son of God, at the very least they knew He was a prophet, an agent if you will, of the Father. So to question the source of His authority was, at least, deceitful and arrogant and bordered on outright blasphemy.

Earlier that same morning, the Lord had called me to the address: Zechariah 10:3-12.

As a teacher, this is a sobering passage. Verse 3 begins with the Lord’s anger against those who were called to look after His sheep. He says they are not doing the job He left them to do.

Zechariah 10:3 (NLT) says,

“My anger burns against your shepherds, and I will punish these leaders.