33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons” (Mt 21:33-41).
Some "scholars" think the Synoptic Gospels have a lower Christology than John's Gospel. Here's a passage with striking implications for Christology.
What the characters in the parable stand for is straightforward: the landlord represents God the Father, the son represents Jesus, the servants represent Jewish prophets (including John the Baptist), and the tenant farmers represent the Jewish establishment.
The parable turns on a categorical contrast between a servant (or slave) and a son. Slave-masters didn't necessarily care about the personal wellbeing of their slaves. They were like livestock. If a slave was accidentally killed, that was a financial loss. A business write off.
When the tenants disrespect his servants, they disrespect the master who sent them. That's an affront, not because he especially cares about his servants, but because it shows contempt for him. Yet that's a forgivable offense. He shows the tenants clemency. That's because he is still hoping to recoup his investment.
But when they murder his son, they cross a line of no return. That's personal. They can't get back from that. By that action, they make an implacable, mortal enemy. Seal their doom. Sign their own death warrant.
That's because a father/son relationship is in a completely different league than a master/slave relationship. That's a uniquely intimate bond. Indeed, attacking a man through his son is more hurtful than attacking the man directly.
If, however, Jesus is merely human, then that erases the categorical distinction between servant and son. Jesus is just another prophet. Another human being.
But the parable requires the son to operate at a categorically higher level. A blood relation. And not just any relative, but a relative who is most like the landlord himself. To whom the landlord is most attached. An extension of himself.