20:1So one day while Jesus was teaching the people in the temple compound and proclaiming the Gospel, the ruling priests, scripture scholars, and elders were standing by.20:2And they said to him, “Tell us what gives you the right to do these things! Who gave you the jurisdiction?”
20:3“I’ll answer your question if you’ll answer mine,” Jesus replied.20:4“John’s immersion— was it authorized by heaven or by people?”
20:5Then they huddled together and said among themselves, “If we say ‘By heaven’, he will say ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’20:6But if we say ‘By people’, then they will all lynch us since they are convinced that John is a prophet.”20:7So they answered, “We don’t know who authorized it.”
20:8And Jesus replied, “Then I’m not telling you who authorized me to do these things!”
20:9Then Jesus began to give the people a parable: “There was a person who planted a vineyard, who then leased it to tenant farmers and went traveling abroad for an extended period of time.20:10After he had been gone for a while, he dispatched a slave to the tenants to collect produce from the vineyard. But the tenants beat up the slave and sent him back empty-handed.20:11So another slave was sent, but as with the first one, the tenants sent him away after beating and insulting him.20:12Then a third slave was sent, but they injured him and threw him out.
20:13“So the vineyard owner said, ‘What can I do? I will send my own dear son; maybe they’ll show him some respect!’20:14But when the tenants saw him, they huddled together and said, ‘This is the heir; let’s kill him so we will inherit the vineyard!’20:15And they threw him outside of the vineyard and killed him. So what do you think the vineyard owner will do to them?20:16He will go there and put the tenants to death, and then lease the vineyard to others.“ And when the people heard this, they exclaimed, “May this never happen!”
20:17Then Jesus looked at them and said, “What does this scripture mean? ”
“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.120:18All who trip over it will be shattered, and all upon whom it falls will be pulverized!”
20:19At that moment the scripture scholars and ruling priests wanted to seize him and put him under arrest because they knew that the parable was aimed at them, but they feared the people.
20:20So they put Jesus under surveillance and sent out spies posing as honest people, so that they could arrest him over something he might say and hand him over to the jurisdiction of the governor.20:21And they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach accurately, and that you look beneath the surface to expose the truth, teaching the ways of God.20:22So is it all right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
20:23But Jesus saw right through their ploy2 and said to them,20:24“Show me a coin, and tell me whose image and inscription are on it.”
“Caesar’s,” they answered.
20:25Then Jesus replied, “So repay Caesar with what belongs to him, and repay God with what belongs to him.”20:26They were unable to get him to say anything justifying arrest in front of everyone, and his ingenious response silenced them.
20:27Next the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came up to Jesus with a question:20:28“Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if someone’s brother dies and leaves a widow but no children, he must marry the widow to produce children for him.20:29Now there were seven brothers, and the oldest died and left a widow but no children.20:30The same happened with the second brother,20:31then the third, and so on through all seven brothers.20:32Then finally the woman herself also died.20:33So in the resurrection, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven?”
20:34And Jesus replied, “In this life, people marry and are given in marriage.20:35But those deemed worthy of eternal life and the resurrection of the dead do not marry and are not given in marriage.20:36Neither can they die, since they are like the Messengers; they are part of the resurrection because they belong to God.
20:37“As for the rising of the dead, Moses alluded to it at the thorn bush incident3 when he described the Master as ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’.20:38God is not the God of the dead but of the living, because everyone is alive from his perspective.”
20:39“Well said, Teacher!” exclaimed some of the scripture scholars.20:40And they dared not ask him any more questions.
20:41Then he said to them, “How can they say that the Anointed is the descendant of David?20:42David said himself in the book of praise songs, ‘My Master said to my Master, “Sit here at my right20:43until I make your enemies your footstool.”’20:44But how can David call him ‘Master’ if he’s his descendant?”
20:45Now while all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples,20:46“Beware of the scripture scholars! They want to walk around in long robes, and they love to be greeted in the marketplaces, to take the best seats in the synagogues, and to take the most prominent seats at banquets.20:47They confiscate the property of widows and make a big show of their long prayers. They will be judged severely!”
- 1Both “head of the corner” and “cornerstone” are mean the same thing. 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.
- 2Clearly the spies sought to put Jesus in an impossible position, such that ‘yes’ would anger the people for supporting Rome, and ‘no’ would make him guilty of sedition against Rome. A possible implication of Jesus’ answer would be, “If paying taxes to Caesar makes someone a friend of Rome, then why do you use and benefit from his money?”
- 3“thorn bush incident” is better known as “the burning bush,” though the text here does not specify “burning.” Also to clarify, if the patriarchs had been dead, Moses would have described God as “I was the God of…” rather than “I am the God of…”