Parable of the Tenants.* 1He began to speak to them in parables.a “A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey.b 2At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard. 3But they seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4Again he sent them another servant. And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully. 5He sent yet another whom they killed. So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed. 6He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9What [then] will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others. 10Have you not read this scripture passage:c
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes’?”
12They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd, for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them. So they left him and went away.
Paying Taxes to the Emperor. 13* They sent some Phariseesd and Herodians to him to ensnare hime in his speech.* 14They came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?” 15Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” 16They brought one to him and he said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They replied to him, “Caesar’s.” 17So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” They were utterly amazed at him.f
The Question About the Resurrection.* 18Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and put this question to him, 19saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’g 20Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants. 21So the second married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise. 22And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died. 23At the resurrection [when they arise] whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.” 24Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God? 25When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven. 26As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, [the] God of Isaac, and [the] God of Jacob’?h 27He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.”
The Greatest Commandment.* 28One of the scribes,i when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” 29Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! 30You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’j 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”k 32The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ 33And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”l 34And when Jesus saw that [he] answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.m
The Question About David’s Son.* 35As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said,n “How do the scribes claim that the Messiah is the son of David? 36David himself, inspired by the holy Spirit, said:
‘The Lord said to my lord,
“Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet.”’o
37David himself calls him ‘lord’; so how is he his son?” [The] great crowd heard this with delight.
Denunciation of the Scribes.* 38In the course of his teaching he said,p “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, 39seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. 40They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”
The Poor Widow’s Contribution.* 41He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.q Many rich people put in large sums. 42A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. 43Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. 44For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
* [12:1–12] The vineyard denotes Israel (Is 5:1–7). The tenant farmers are the religious leaders of Israel. God is the owner of the vineyard. His servants are his messengers, the prophets. The beloved son is Jesus (Mk 1:11; 9:7; Mt 3:17; 17:5; Lk 3:22; 9:35). The punishment of the tenants refers to the religious leaders, and the transfer of the vineyard to others refers to the people of the new Israel.
* [12:13–34] In the ensuing conflicts (cf. also Mk 2:1–3:6) Jesus vanquishes his adversaries by his responses to their questions and reduces them to silence (Mk 12:34).
* [12:13–17] See note on Mt 22:15–22.
* [12:18–27] See note on Mt 22:23–33.
* [12:28–34] See note on Mt 22:34–40.
* [12:35–37] Jesus questions the claim of the scribes about the Davidic descent of the Messiah, not to deny it (Mt 1:1; Acts 2:20, 34; Rom 1:3; 2 Tm 2:8) but to imply that he is more than this. His superiority derives from his transcendent origin, to which David himself attested when he spoke of the Messiah with the name “Lord” (Ps 110:1). See also note on Mt 22:41–46.
* [12:38–40] See notes on Mk 7:1–23 and Mt 23:1–39.
* [12:41–44] See note on Lk 21:1–4.
a. [12:1–12] Mt 21:33–46; Lk 20:9–19.
c. [12:10–11] Ps 118:22–23; Is 28:16.
d. [12:13–27] Mt 22:15–33; Lk 20:20–39.
i. [12:28–34] Mt 22:34–40; Lk 10:25–28.
k. [12:31] Lv 19:18; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8.
m. [12:34] Mt 22:46; Lk 20:40.
n. [12:35–37] Mt 22:41–45; Lk 20:41–44.
p. [12:38–40] Mt 23:1–7; Lk 11:43; 20:45–47.