Avoiding the traps

In the temple, Jesus began to use various illustrations to give instruction to the people who gathered to listen to him.

“A man planted a vineyard,” he said. “Then he built a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress, and built a watchtower. He leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and then moved away to another town.

At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the tenants seized the servant, beat him, then sent him back empty-handed. The owner sent another servant, but they insulted him and struck him on the head. He sent yet another servant, and this one they killed. Still others he sent were either beaten or killed.

Eventually, there was only one person left to send – the owner’s son, whom he loved dearly. He sent him, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

But the tenants said to one another, ‘Here’s the heir to the whole estate. Let’s kill him, and then it will be ours!’ So they seized the son, murdered him, and threw his body out of the vineyard.

So, what do you think the owner of the vineyard will do next? Won’t he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others? Or haven’t you read the passage of Scripture, which says: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see’?”

The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling this parable against them, but they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.

 Later these same leaders sent Pharisees and some supporters of Herod to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested.

“Teacher,” they said, “we know how sincere you are. You’re quite impartial and don’t show favouritism. You teach the way of God honestly. Now tell us—is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?  Should we pay them, or shouldn’t we?”

Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, “Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a coin, and I’ll tell you.” When they handed one to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

 “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and to God that which is God’s.”

And his reply completely amazed them.

 Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: “Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife without children, his brother should marry the widow and have children to carry on his brother’s name. Well, there were once seven brothers. The eldest married, then died without having any children. So the second brother married the widow, but he also died without children. Then the third brother married the widow, and the same thing happened. In fact, all seven brothers married her, and still there were no children. Then, last of all, the woman died. So tell us, please, whose wife will she be in the resurrection, since all were married to her?”

Jesus replied: “Your mistake is that you don’t know either the Scriptures or the power of God. For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven.

“But as to whether the dead will be raised – remember what was written in the account of the burning bush. God said to Moses: ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Therefore, you have made a very serious error.”

Mark

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