Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 2 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. 5 And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. 6 Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.They knew the parable was about him . . . and acted exactly as the evil vinedressers in it anyway, seeking to lay hands on the Son and kill him.
9 “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
11 This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”12 And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.
13 Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. 14 When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?”Why did they think they could trip him up with the tax question? I suspect it's in part because they were still expecting anyone claiming to be the Messiah to be preaching freedom from Rome, not freedom from sins. This man was being proclaimed as the Christ, the King of the Jews . . . but he wasn't acting like David or Solomon. He wasn't trying to set up a kingdom on earth or denying the authority over the empire who ruled them.
But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” 16 So they brought it.
And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”
17 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
And they marveled at Him.
18 Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him, saying: 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And the third likewise. 22 So the seven had her and left no offspring. Last of all the woman died also. 23 Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.”In usual Jesus fashion, he sees right through the trip-him-up question (that failed to trip him up) and to the heart of the matter. The Sadducees didn't really care what his answer was to their question, they were just trying to prove the concept of a resurrection ridiculous.
24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.”
I love Jesus's answer here though--our God is a living God. He is I AM. And is a living, eternal God the God of the dead? Is a living, eternal God alone throughout eternity? Is a living, eternal God incapable of creating man so that his breath of life lasts longer than a mere 80-or-so years? I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. But He, the living God, is not defined by the dead--he's defined by LIFE. Here and forevermore.
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”I feel like cheering--a scribe who actually perceived the truth! Who understood the point of the law! Because they can indeed all be summed up in those two commandments. Love God first and best and with all that you are; love your neighbor as yourself. If you've got those two, everything else falls into place.
29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
But after that no one dared question Him.
35 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:This harkens, I think, to that same idea of expecting an earthly king. The scribes are teaching that there will be another king like David--and Jesus is pointing out that the Messiah is a different kind of king, one who was king before David. Not one who will aspire to the same earthly majesty, but one who David recognized as reigning ultimately.
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’37 Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”And the common people heard Him gladly.
38 Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
Are we giving to God only out of our abundance--the things we won't miss? Or are we giving him our all?