“And he began to speak to them in parables.” This parable is a clear reference to the parable of the vineyard in Isaiah 5:1-7, except in Isaiah the vineyard is itself Israel, and is wicked, while in Jesus’ parable the vineyard is God’s and it is the people who are hired to tend it who are evil. Jesus was using thinly veiled language to speak of the leaders of the Jews, who had been entrusted by God to take care of His vineyard, i.e., His people, but were evil. The Jews got his point (Mark 12:12), and wanted to arrest him but were afraid of the people. This shows the boldness and honesty of Jesus. He did not just ignore the evil of the Jews, but informed them and any disciple that was paying attention. This parable appears in Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12, and Luke 20:9-19.
“A man planted a vineyard.” In parables such as this, the “man” is God.