After Jesus told the Jewish leaders a parable, they realized that he was accusing them of wanting to kill him, but they feared how the people would react if they arrested Jesus.
1 Then Jesus told those Jewish leaders a parable. He wanted to show what God would do to those who rejected the former prophets and himself. He said, “A certain man planted a vineyard. He built a fence around it in order to protect it. He made a stone tank to collect the juice that they would press out of the grapes. He also built a tower for someone to sit in to guard his vineyard. Then he leased the vineyard to some men to care for it and to give him some of the grapes in return. Then he went away to another country. 2 When the time came to harvest the grapes, he sent a servant to the men who were taking care of the vineyard in order to receive from them his share of the grapes that the vineyard had produced. 3 But after the servant arrived, they grabbed him and beat him, and they did not give him any fruit. Then they sent him away. 4 Later the one who owned the vineyard sent another servant to them. But they beat that one on his head, and they insulted him. 5 Later he sent another servant. That man they killed. They mistreated many other servants whom he sent. Some they beat and some they killed. 6 The man still had one other person with him. It was his son. He loved him very much. So, finally he sent his son to them because he thought that they would respect him and give him some of the grapes. 7 But when they saw his son coming, those men who were looking after the vineyard said to each other, ‘Look! Here comes the man who will some day inherit the vineyard! So let's kill him in order that this vineyard will be ours!’ 8 They seized him and killed him. Then they threw his body outside the vineyard. 9 So ◄do you know what the man who owns the vineyard will do?/I will tell you what the man who owns the vineyard will do [RHQ]►. He will come, and he will kill those evil men who were taking care of his vineyard. Then he will arrange for other people to take care of it. 10 Now think carefully about these words, which you have read in the Scriptures:
The men who were building the building rejected one stone. But others put that same stone in its proper place, and it has become the most important stone in the building [MET]! 11 The Lord has done this, and we marvel as we look at it.”
12 Then the Jewish leaders realized that he was accusing them when he told this story about what those wicked people did. So they wanted to seize him. But they were afraid of what the crowds would do if they did that. So they left him and went away.
Jesus foiled the Jewish leaders' attempt to trap him by their question of whether they should pay taxes to the Roman government.
13 The Jewish leaders sent to Jesus some Pharisees who thought that the Jews should pay only the tax that their own Jewish authorities required people to pay. They also sent some members of the party that supported Herod Antipas and the Roman government. They wanted to make Jesus say something wrong that would make one of those groups very angry with him. 14 After they arrived, they said to him deceivingly, “Teacher, we know that you teach the truth. We also know that you are not concerned about what people say about you, even if an important person does not like what you say. Instead, you teach truthfully what God wants us to do. So tell us what you think about this matter: Is it right that we pay taxes to the Roman government, or not [MTY]? Should we pay the taxes, or should we not pay them?” 15 Jesus knew that they did not really want to know what God wanted them to do. So he said to them, “◄I know that you are just trying to make me say something wrong for which you can arrest me./Why are you just trying to make me say something wrong for which you can arrest me?► [RHQ] But I will answer your question anyway. Bring me a coin so that I might ask you something after I look at it.” 16 After they brought him a coin, he asked them, “Whose picture is on this coin? And whose name is on it?” They replied, “It is a picture and the name of Caesar, the man who rules the Roman government.” 17 Then Jesus said to them, “ That is correct, so give to the government [MTY] what they require, and give to God what he requires.” They were frustrated at his answer but amazed at what he said, because they were not able to accuse him of anything because of what he said.
Jesus showed from Scripture that the Sadducees were wrong in ridiculing the idea of life after death.
18 Men who belong to the Sadducee sect deny that people become alive again after they die. In order to discredit Jesus by ridiculing the idea that people will live again, some of them came to him and asked him, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us Jews that if a man who has no children dies, his brother should marry the dead man's widow. Then if those two bear children, everyone will consider that those children are the children of the man who died, and in that way the dead man will continue to have descendants. 20 So here is an example. There were seven boys in one family. The oldest one married a woman, but he and his wife did not bear any children. Then he later died. 21 The second brother followed this law and married that woman and he, too, did not bear any children. Then he later died. The third brother did like his other brothers did. But he also did not bear any children, and later died. 22 Eventually all seven brothers married that woman, one by one, but they had no children, and one by one they died. Afterwards the woman died, too. 23 Therefore, if it were true what some people say, that people will become alive again after they die, whose wife do you think that woman will be when people become alive again? ◄ Keep in mind that she was married to all seven brothers!/She was married to all seven brothers, so how can anyone decide [RHQ]?►” 24 Jesus replied to them, “You are certainly wrong [RHQ]. You do not know what they have written in the Scriptures about this. You also do not understand God's power to make people alive again. 25 That woman will not be the wife of any of them, because when people have become alive again, instead of men having wives and women having husbands, they will be like the angels in heaven, who do not marry. 26 But as to people becoming alive again after they die, in the book that Moses wrote, he said something about people who have died that I am sure that you have read [RHQ]. When Moses was looking at the bush that was burning, God said to him, ‘I am the God whom Abraham worships and the God whom Isaac worships and the God whom Jacob worships.’ 27 It is not dead people who worship God. It is living people who worship him. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob died long before Moses lived, but God said that they were still worshipping him, so we know their spirits were still alive! So your claim that dead people do not become alive again is very wrong.”
Jesus commended a scribe who accepted Jesus' assessment of the two greatest commandments, after which they asked Jesus no more questions to trap him.
28 A man who taught the Jewish laws heard their discussion. He knew that Jesus answered the question well. So he stepped forward and asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the most important?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, you people of Israel! You must worship the Lord, our God, our only Lord. 30 You must show that you love him in all the ways that you live Show it in all that you want and feel, in all that you think, and in all that you do!’ 31 The next most important commandment is: ‘You must love people you come in contact with as much as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is more important than these two!” 32 The man said to Jesus, “Teacher, you have answered well. You correctly said that he is the only God and that there is no other God we must worship/obey. 33 You have also said correctly that we ◄ should/must show that we► love God by all that we are, by all that we think, and by the way that we live. And you have said correctly that we must love ◄people with whom we come in contact/others► as much as we love ourselves. And you have also implied that doing these things pleases God more than offering/giving animals to him or burning other sacrifices.” 34 Jesus realized that this man had answered wisely. So he said to him, “ I perceive that you will soon decide to let God rule your life.” After that, the Jewish leaders were afraid to ask him any more questions like that to try to trap him.
Jesus showed from Scripture that the Messiah must be David's Lord as well as his descendant.
35 Later, while he was teaching in the Temple courtyard, Jesus said to the people, “These men who teach the Jewish laws, ◄they must be wrong when they say that the Messiah is merely a descendant of King David!/why do they say that the Messiah is merely a descendant of King David?► [RHQ] 36 The Holy Spirit caused David himself to say about the Messiah,
God said to my Lord, ‘Sit here beside me at the place where I will highly honor you! Sit here while I completely defeat your enemies! [MTY]’
37 Therefore, because David himself calls the Messiah ‘my Lord,’ ◄the Messiah cannot be just a man who descended from King David!/how can the Messiah be just a man who descended from King David?► [RHQ] He must be much greater than David”! Many people listened to him gladly as he taught those things.
Jesus warned them about the scribes' hypocritical actions.
38 While Jesus was teaching the people, he said to them, “Beware that you do not act like the men who teach our Jewish laws. They like people to honor them, so they put on long robes and walk around in order to show people how important they are. They also like people to greet them respectfully in the marketplaces. 39 They like to sit in the most important seats in our ◄synagogue/Jewish meeting place►. At festivals, they like to sit in the seats where the most honored people sit. 40 They ◄swindle/take for themselves► the houses and property of widows by cheating them. Then they pretend that they are good by praying long prayers publicly. God will certainly punish them severely!”
Jesus told them that a poor widow's tiny sacrificial offering was worth more in God's sight than large amounts of money from rich people.
41 Later, Jesus sat down in the Temple courtyard opposite the boxes in which people put offerings. As he was sitting there, he watched as all the people put money in the box. Many rich people put in large amounts of money. 42 Then a poor widow came along and put in two small copper coins, which had a very small value. 43-44 He gathered his disciples around him and said to them, “The truth is that these other people have a lot of money, but they gave only a small part of it. But this woman, who is very poor, has put in all the money that she had to pay for the things she needs. So God considers that this poor widow has put more money into the box than all the other people!”