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The Jewish Leaders Ask Jesus a Question

20 1One day Jesus was in the temple* area. He was teaching the people. Jesus told the people the Good News [about the kingdom of God]. The leading priests, teachers of the law, and older Jewish leaders came to talk to Jesus. 2They said, "Tell us! What authority do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?" 3Jesus answered, "I will ask you a question too. Tell me: 4When John* baptized* people, did that come from God or from man?" 5The priests, the teachers of the law, and the Jewish leaders all talked about this. They said to each other, "If we answer, 'John's baptism was from God,' then he will say, 'Then why did you not believe John?' 6But if we say, 'John's baptism was from man,' then all the people will kill us with rocks. They will kill us because they believe that John was a prophet.*" 7So they answered, "We don't know the answer." 8So Jesus said to them, "Then I will not tell you what authority I use to do these things!"

God Sends His Son

9Then Jesus told the people this story: "A man planted a field with grapes. The man leased the land to some farmers. Then he went away for a long time. 10Later, it was time for the grapes to be picked. So the man sent a servant to those farmers so that they would give him his share of the grapes. But the farmers beat the servant and sent him away with nothing. 11So the man sent another servant. The farmers beat this servant too. They showed no respect for him. The farmers sent the servant away with nothing. 12So the man sent a third servant to the farmers. The farmers hurt this servant badly and threw him out. 13The owner of the field said, 'What will I do now? I will send my son. I love my son very much. Maybe the farmers will respect my son!' 14When the farmers saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the owner's son. This field will be his. If we kill him, then his field will be ours!' 15So the farmers threw the son out of the field and killed him. "What will the owner of this field do? 16He will come and kill those farmers! Then he will give the field to some other farmers." The people heard this story. They said, "No! This should never happen!" 17But Jesus looked into their eyes and said, "Then what does this verse mean: 'The stone that the builders did not want became the cornerstone*'? Psalm 118:22

18Every person that falls on that stone will be broken. If that stone falls on you, it will crush you!" 19The Jewish leaders heard this story that Jesus told. They knew this story was about them. So they wanted to arrest Jesus at that time. But they were afraid of what the people would do.

The Jewish Leaders Try to Trick Jesus

20So the teachers of the law and the priests waited for the right time to get Jesus. They sent some men to Jesus. They told these men to act like they were good men. They wanted to find something wrong with the things Jesus said. (If they found something wrong, then they could give Jesus to the governor, who had power and authority [over him].) 21So the men asked Jesus, "Teacher, we know that what you say and teach is true. It doesn't matter who is listening--you teach the same to all people. You always teach the truth about God's way. 22Tell us, is it right that we should pay taxes to Caesar*? Yes or No?" 23But Jesus knew that these men were trying to trick him. Jesus said to them, 24"Show me a coin. Whose name is on the coin? And whose picture is on it?" They said, "Caesar's." 25Jesus said to them, "Then give to Caesar* the things that are Caesar's. And give to God the things that are God's." 26The men were amazed at his wise answer. They could say nothing. The men were not able to trick Jesus before the people. Jesus said nothing they could use against him.

temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. John John the Baptizer; he told people about Christ's coming (Read Mt. 3; Lk. 3). baptized A Greek word meaning to immerse, dip, or bury a person or thing briefly under water. prophet A person that spoke for God. cornerstone The first and most important rock of a building. Caesar The name given to the emperor (ruler) of Rome. 

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