Then He began to speak to them in figurative language. “There was once a man,” He said, “who planted a vineyard, fenced it round, dug a pit for the wine-tank, and built a strong lodge. Then he let the place to vine-dressers and went abroad.
At vintage-time he sent one of his servants to receive from the vine-dressers a share of the grapes.
But they seized him, beat him cruelly and sent him away empty-handed.
Again he sent to them another servant: and as for him, they wounded him in the head and treated him shamefully.
Yet a third he sent, and him they killed. And he sent many besides, and them also they ill-treated, beating some and killing others.
He had still one left whom he could send, a dearly-loved son: him last of all he sent, saying, “`They will treat my son with respect.’
“But those men–the vine-dressers–said to one another, “`Here is the heir: come, let us kill him, and then the property will one day be ours.’
“So they took him and killed him, and flung his body outside the vineyard.
What, therefore, will the owner of the vineyard do?” “He will come and put the vine-dressers to death,” they said; “and will give the vineyard to others.”
“Have you not read even this passage,” He added, <“`The stone which the builders rejected has become the Cornerstone:
this Cornerstone came from the Lord, and is wonderful in our esteem?’”>
And they kept looking out for an opportunity to seize Him, but were afraid of the people; for they saw that in this parable He had referred to *them*. So they left Him and went away.
Their next step was to send to Him some of the pharisees and of Herod’s partisans to entrap Him in conversation.
So they came to Him. “Rabbi,” they said, “we know that you are a truthful man and you do not fear any one; for you do not recognize human distinctions, but teach God’s way truly. Is it allowable to pay poll-tax to Caesar, or not?
Shall we pay, or shall we refuse to pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, replied, “Why try to ensnare me? Bring me a shilling for me to look at.”
They brought one; and He asked them, “Whose is this likeness and this inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied.
“What is Caesar’s,” replied Jesus, “pay to Caesar–and what is God’s, pay to God.” And they wondered exceedingly at Him.
Then came to Him a party of Sadducees, a sect which denies that there is any Resurrection; and they proceeded to question Him.
“Rabbi,” they said, “Moses made it a law for us: <`If a man’s brother should die and leave a wife, but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up a family for his brother.’>
There were once seven brothers, the eldest of whom married a wife, but at his death left no family.
The second married her, and died, leaving no family; and the third did the same.
And so did the rest of the seven, all dying childless. Finally the woman also died.
At the resurrection whose wife will she be? For they all seven married her.”
“Is not this the cause of your error,” replied Jesus–“your ignorance alike of the Scriptures and of the power of God?
For when they have risen from among the dead, men do not marry and women are not given in marriage, but they are as angels are in Heaven.
But as to the dead, that they rise to life, have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the Bush, how God said to him, <`I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’>
He is not the God of dead, but of living men. You are in grave error.”
Then one of the Scribes, who had heard them disputing and well knew that Jesus had given them an answer to the point, and a forcible one, came forward and asked Him, “Which is the chief of all the Commandments?”
“The chief Commandment,” replied Jesus, “is this: <`Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord;
and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, thy whole soul, thy whole mind, and thy whole strength.’>
“The second is this: <`Thou shalt love thy fellow man as thou lovest thyself.’> “Other commandment greater than these there is none.”
So the scribe said to Him, “Rightly, in very truth, Rabbi, have you said that <He stands alone, and there is none but He;>
and <To love Him with all one’s heart, with all one’s understanding, and with all one’s strength, and to love one’s fellow man no less than oneself,> is far better than all our <whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.”>
Perceiving that the Scribe had answered wisely Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” No one from that time forward ventured to put any question to Him.
But, while teaching in the Temple, Jesus asked, “How is it the scribes say that the Christ is a son of David?
David himself said, taught by the holy Spirit, <“`The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, until I have made thy foes a footstool under thy feet.’>
“David himself calls Him `Lord:’ how then can He be his son?” And the mass of people found pleasure in listening to Jesus.
Moreover in the course of His teaching He said, “Be on your guard against the Scribes who like to walk about in long robes and to be bowed to in places of public resort,
and to occupy the best seats in the synagogues and at dinner parties,
and who swallow up the property of widows and then mask their wickedness by making long prayers: these men will receive far heavier punishment.”
Having taken a seat opposite the Treasury, He observed how the people were dropping money into the Treasury, and that many of the wealthy threw in large sums.
But there came one poor widow and dropped in two farthings, equal in value to a halfpenny.
So He called His disciples to Him and said, “In solemn truth I tell you that this widow, poor as she is, has thrown in more than all the other contributors to the Treasury;
for they have all contributed out of what they could well spare, but she out of her need has thrown in all she possessed–all she had to live on.”