1 Once when Jesus was teaching the people in the Temple, telling them the good news, some of the chief priests and religious teachers came with the elders. 2 They asked him, “Tell us: by whose authority are you doing what you do? Who gave you the right to do this?”
3 “Let me ask you a question too,” Jesus replied. “Tell me: 4 the baptism of John—was it from heaven, or was it just human?”
5 They talked about it among themselves: “If we say it was from heaven, he'll ask, ‘Then why didn't you believe him?’ 6 And if we say it was just human, everybody will stone us for they're sure John was a prophet.”
7 So they answered, “We don't know where it came from.”
8 Jesus replied, “Then I won't tell you by whose authority I do what I do.” 9 Then he began to tell the people a story:
“Once there was a man who planted a vineyard, leased it to some farmers, and went to live in another country for a long while. 10 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenant farmers to collect his share of the crop, but the farmers beat the servant and sent him away with nothing. 11 So the owner sent another servant, but they beat him too and treated him shamefully, and sent him away with nothing. 12 So he sent a third servant, but they wounded him and threw him out.
13 The owner of the vineyard asked himself, ‘What shall I do? I know, I'll send my son whom I love. Perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when they saw him coming, the farmers said to themselves, ‘This is the owner's heir. Let's kill him! That way we can take his inheritance.’ 15 They threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and kill these farmers and let others have the vineyard.”
When they heard the story, they said, “May this never happen!” 17 But Jesus looked at them and said, “Then why is it written in the Scriptures, ‘The stone the builders rejected has now become the chief cornerstone’?* Quoting Psalms 118:22. 18 Anyone who falls on that stone will be broken in pieces; anyone it falls upon will be crushed.” 19 Immediately the religious teachers and the chief priests wanted to arrest him because they realized that the story Jesus told was aimed at them, but they were afraid of what the people would do.
20 Watching for an opportunity they sent spies who pretended to be sincere. They tried to catch Jesus out in something he said so they could hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21 They said, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is good and right, and that you're not swayed by the opinions of others. You truly teach the way of God. 22 So should we pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23 But Jesus saw through their trickery, and said to them, 24 “Show me a coin—a denarius.† Jesus specifically asks for a denarius, a Roman coin. Whose image and inscription is on it?” “Caesar's,” they answered.
25 “Then give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give back to God what belongs to God,” he told them. 26 They weren't able to trap him by what he told the people. They were stunned at his reply, and fell silent.
27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny the resurrection, came to Jesus with this question: 28 “Teacher,” they began, “Moses gave us a law that if a married man dies leaving a wife without children, then his brother should marry the widow and have children for his dead brother.‡ Quoting Deuteronomy 25:5. 29 Once there were seven brothers. The first had a wife, and died without having children. 30 The second 31 and then the third brother also married her. In the end all seven brothers married her, and then died without having children. 32 Finally the wife died too. 33 Now whose wife will she be in the resurrection, since all seven brothers had married her?”
34 “Here in this age people marry and are given in marriage,” Jesus explained. 35 “But those who are considered worthy to share in the age to come and the resurrection from the dead don't marry or are given in marriage. 36 They can't die any longer; they're like the angels and are children of God since they're children of the resurrection. 37 But on the question of whether the dead are raised, even Moses proved this when he wrote about the burning§ “Burning bush”—the Greek simply says “bush.” bush, when he calls the Lord, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’* Quoting Exodus 3:6. 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him they all are alive.”
39 Some of the religious teachers responded, “That was a good answer, Teacher.” 40 After this no one dared to ask him any more questions.
41 Then Jesus asked them, “Why is it said that Christ is the son of David? 42 For David himself says in the book of Psalms: The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand 43 until I make all your enemies a footstool for your feet.’† Quoting Psalms 110:1. 44 David calls him ‘Lord,’ so how can he be David's son?”
45 While everyone was paying attention, he said to his disciples, 46 “Watch out for religious leaders who like to go around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the markets, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets. 47 They cheat widows out of what they own,‡ Literally, “they devour widow's houses.” and cover up the kind of people they really are with long-winded prayers. They will receive severe condemnation in the judgment.”
†20:24 Jesus specifically asks for a denarius, a Roman coin.
§20:37 “Burning bush”—the Greek simply says “bush.”
‡20:47 Literally, “they devour widow's houses.”