One day when Jesus was in the Temple teaching the people and preaching the Good News, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law, together with the elders, came
and said to him, "Tell us, what right do you have to do these things? Who gave you such right?"
Jesus answered them, "Now let me ask you a question. Tell me,
did John's right to baptize come from God or from human beings?"
They started to argue among themselves, "What shall we say? If we say, "From God,' he will say, "Why, then, did you not believe John?'
But if we say, "From human beings,' this whole crowd here will stone us, because they are convinced that John was a prophet."
So they answered, "We don't know where it came from."
And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you, then, by what right I do these things."
Then Jesus told the people this parable: "There was once a man who planted a vineyard, rented it out to tenants, and then left home for a long time.
When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent a slave to the tenants to receive from them his share of the harvest. But the tenants beat the slave and sent him back without a thing.
So he sent another slave; but the tenants beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him back without a thing.
Then he sent a third slave; the tenants wounded him, too, and threw him out.
Then the owner of the vineyard said, "What shall I do? I will send my own dear son; surely they will respect him!'
But when the tenants saw him, they said to one another, "This is the owner's son. Let's kill him, and his property will be ours!'
So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. "What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to the tenants?" Jesus asked.
"He will come and kill those men, and turn the vineyard over to other tenants." When the people heard this, they said, "Surely not!"
Jesus looked at them and asked, "What, then, does this scripture mean? "The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all.'
Everyone who falls on that stone will be cut to pieces; and if that stone falls on someone, that person will be crushed to dust."
The teachers of the Law and the chief priests tried to arrest Jesus on the spot, because they knew that he had told this parable against them; but they were afraid of the people.
So they looked for an opportunity. They bribed some men to pretend they were sincere, and they sent them to trap Jesus with questions, so that they could hand him over to the authority and power of the Roman Governor.
These spies said to Jesus, "Teacher, we know that what you say and teach is right. We know that you pay no attention to anyone's status, but teach the truth about God's will for people.
Tell us, is it against our Law for us to pay taxes to the Roman Emperor, or not?"
But Jesus saw through their trick and said to them,
"Show me a silver coin. Whose face and name are these on it?" "The Emperor's," they answered.
So Jesus said, "Well, then, pay to the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay to God what belongs to God."
There before the people they could not catch him in a thing, so they kept quiet, amazed at his answer.