One day as Jesus was teaching and preaching the Good News in the Temple, the leading priests and teachers of religious law and other leaders came up to him.
They demanded, "By whose authority did you drive out the merchants from the Temple? a Who gave you such authority?"
3"Let me ask you a question first," he replied.
4"Did John's baptism come from heaven, or was it merely human?"5
They talked it over among themselves. "If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn't believe him.
But if we say it was merely human, the people will stone us, because they are convinced he was a prophet."
Finally they replied, "We don't know."
And Jesus responded, "Then I won't answer your question either."9
Now Jesus turned to the people again and told them this story: "A man planted a vineyard, leased it out to tenant farmers, and moved to another country to live for several years. 10At grape-picking time, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers attacked the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. 11So the owner sent another servant, but the same thing happened; he was beaten up and treated shamefully, and he went away empty-handed. 12A third man was sent and the same thing happened. He, too, was wounded and chased away."
13"'What will I do?' the owner asked himself. 'I know! I'll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.'"
14"But when the farmers saw his son, they said to each other, 'Here comes the heir to this estate. Let's kill him and get the estate for ourselves!' 15So they dragged him out of the vineyard and murdered him." "What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do to those farmers?" Jesus asked.
16"I'll tell you -- he will come and kill them all and lease the vineyard to others." "But God forbid that such a thing should ever happen," his listeners protested.17
Jesus looked at them and said, "Then what do the Scriptures mean? 'The stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone.' b18All who stumble over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone on whom it falls."19
When the teachers of religious law and the leading priests heard this story, they wanted to arrest Jesus immediately because they realized he was pointing at them -- that they were the farmers in the story. But they were afraid there would be a riot if they arrested him.
Watching for their opportunity, the leaders sent secret agents pretending to be honest men. They tried to get Jesus to say something that could be reported to the Roman governor so he would arrest Jesus.
They said, "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right and are not influenced by what others think. You sincerely teach the ways of God.
Now tell us -- is it right to pay taxes to the Roman government or not?"
He saw through their trickery and said,
24"Show me a Roman coin. c Whose picture and title are stamped on it?" "Caesar's," they replied.
25"Well then," he said, "give to Caesar what belongs to him. But everything that belongs to God must be given to God." 26
So they failed to trap him in the presence of the people. Instead, they were amazed by his answer, and they were silenced.
Then some Sadducees stepped forward -- a group of Jews who say there is no resurrection after death.
They posed this question: "Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife but no children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will be the brother's heir. d29
Well, there were seven brothers. The oldest married and then died without children.
His brother married the widow, but he also died. Still no children.
And so it went, one after the other, until each of the seven had married her and died, leaving no children.
Finally, the woman died, too.
So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her!"
Jesus replied, "Marriage is for people here on earth. 35But that is not the way it will be in the age to come. For those worthy of being raised from the dead won't be married then. 36And they will never die again. In these respects they are like angels. They are children of God raised up to new life. 37But now, as to whether the dead will be raised -- even Moses proved this when he wrote about the burning bush. Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, he referred to the Lord e as 'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' f38So he is the God of the living, not the dead. They are all alive to him."39
"Well said, Teacher!" remarked some of the teachers of religious law who were standing there.
And that ended their questions; no one dared to ask any more.
Then Jesus presented them with a question. "Why is it," he asked, "that the Messiah is said to be the son of David? 42For David himself wrote in the book of Psalms: 'The LORD said to my Lord, Sit in honor at my right hand 43until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.' g44Since David called him Lord, how can he be his son at the same time?"45
Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said,
46"Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they love to parade in flowing robes and to have everyone bow to them as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and at banquets. 47But they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property, and then, to cover up the kind of people they really are, they make long prayers in public. Because of this, their punishment will be the greater."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)