12:1Then Jesus began to talk to them in parables: “Someone planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a vat, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went traveling abroad.12:2When it was time to harvest he sent a slave to them to collect it.12:3But the tenants beat him up and sent him away empty-handed.12:4So he sent another slave, and they hit him on the head and humiliated him.12:5He sent yet another slave, whom they killed, and so on. The tenants beat some and killed others.
12:6“Now the owner still had one dear son, and he sent him last to them and thought, ‘They will respect my son!’12:7But the tenants said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let’s kill him and the inheritance will go to us!’12:8So they took him and killed him, then threw him out of the vineyard.12:9So what will the owner do? He will come and wipe out the tenants, and lease the vineyard to others.
12:10“Have you not read this scripture? ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;112:11this is the Master’s doing, and wonderful to see!’ ”12:12Then they intended to arrest him but didn’t because of the crowd, since they knew the parable was about them. So they left him alone and went away.
12:13Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to entrap him by something he might say:12:14“Teacher, we know that you are genuine and don’t care what others think about you. You don’t judge by appearances but truly teach the way of God. So are we permitted to pay the poll tax2 to Caesar, or not?12:15Should we pay or not pay?”
But Jesus, knowing they were pedants, said to them, “Why do you test me? Bring me a coin so I can examine it.”12:16So they brought him one and he asked them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
12:17So Jesus said to them, “Repay Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and repay God what belongs to God!” And they were stumped.
12:18Now the Sadducees, who don’t believe in the resurrection, came to him and asked,12:19“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if someone’s brother dies and leaves a widow behind but no children, that he should marry the widow and produce children for his brother.12:20Suppose there were seven brothers; the first marries and then dies childless.12:21So the second brother marries her, and he too dies childless. Likewise with the third,12:22and so on through all seven brothers. Finally the woman dies too.12:23When they rise up at the resurrection, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all of them?”
12:24And Jesus said to them, “You are mistaken; don’t you know the scriptures or the power of God?12:25For when they rise from the dead they do not marry; they are like the angels in heaven.12:26And regarding the dead being raised, haven’t you read in the book of Moses about the burning bush and how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?12:27He is not the God of the dead but of the living; you are badly mistaken!”
12:28One of the scripture scholars came along and heard them debating, and he saw that Jesus had answered them well. So he asked him, “What is the greatest commandment of all?”
12:29And Jesus answered, “The greatest is, ‘Listen, Israel! The Master our God is the only one.12:30You must love the Master your God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.’12:31The second is very similar: ‘You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There are no greater commandments than these.”
12:32“Well said, Teacher!” the scripture scholar replied. “You are correct in saying that there is one God and no other.12:33To love him with one’s whole heart, understanding, and strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is far better than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
12:34When Jesus saw how astutely he had answered, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
12:35Jesus went on teaching in the temple compound: “How is it that the scripture scholars say that the Anointed is the descendant of David?12:36For David himself said through the Holy Spirit, ‘The Master said to my Master, “Sit here at my right until I place your enemies under your feet.”’12:37Since David himself calls him ‘master’, how can he be his descendant?” Many in the crowd were delighted with what Jesus said.
12:38In another teaching he said, “Observe the scripture scholars; they like to walk around in their robes, to be greeted in the marketplaces,12:39to have the best seats in the synagogues, and to have the most prominent places at banquets.12:40Yet they prey upon widows to take their property, and they like to show off with their lengthy prayers. They will endure extreme judgment!”
12:41Then Jesus sat down facing the treasury, and he watched how the crowd threw money into it. Many rich people threw in a lot,12:42but one destitute widow threw in two tiny coins worth only a fraction of a day’s wages.312:43He called his disciples to himself and said, “I tell you truly that this destitute widow has thrown a greater sum into the treasury than all the others.12:44For they gave out of their excess, but she gave out of what she needed— everything she had to live on.”
- 1Both “head of the corner” and “cornerstone” are identical in meaning. Some interpret “head of the corner” as a capstone (finishing stone) or keystone (the uppermost stone that holds an arch in place). But the word “corner” contradicts this, and no one would trip over an upper or finishing stone.
- 2The purpose of the poll tax was to remind the Jews of their subservience to Rome.
- 3“worth only a fraction of a day’s wages” is literally a Roman quadrans, which was 1/64 of a denarius.