One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts1 and preaching the gospel,2 the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him.
"Tell us by what authority you are doing these things," they said. "Who gave you this authority?"33
He replied, "I will also ask you a question. Tell me,4John's baptism4--was it from heaven, or from men?"5
They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Why didn't you believe him?'
But if we say, 'From men,' all the people5 will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet."67
So they answered, "We don't know where it was from."
Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."
He went on to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard,7 rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time.810At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed.11He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed.12He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.13"Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love;9 perhaps they will respect him.'14"But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. 'This is the heir,' they said. 'Let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'15So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. "What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?16He will come and kill those tenants10 and give the vineyard to others." When the people heard this, they said, "May this never be!"
Jesus looked directly at them and asked, "Then what is the meaning of that which is written: " 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstonea 'b ?1118Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."1219
The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him13 immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.14