Jesus tells a story about a garden
1 Then Jesus began to speak again to the important Jews. He told them stories. He said, ‘There was a man who made a garden. He planted vines to grow grapes there. He built a wall round the garden. He dug a hole in the ground where he could make the grapes into wine. He also built a tall building to watch over the garden. He found some farmers who would work in the garden for him. Then he went away to another country.
12:1From a tall building, someone could watch for any animals or bad people who were coming to the garden.
12:1In this story, the man was like God. The garden was like Israel, and the farmers were like the leaders in Israel.
2 The time to cut off the grapes arrived. The man sent a servant to speak to the farmers. He wanted them to give him some fruit from the garden. 3 But the farmers took hold of the servant and they hit him with sticks. They sent him away with nothing. 4 So the man sent another servant to the farmers. They also hit this servant on the head, and they did other bad things to him. 5 The man then sent another servant, but the farmers killed this servant. He sent many other servants to them. The farmers hit some of these servants with sticks, and they killed other servants.
12:2The servants that the master sent to the field were like the prophets.
6 The man had only one person that he could still send. This was his own son, and the man loved him very much. So, last of all, he sent his son to the farmers. He thought, “The farmers will surely respect my son.”
12:6The master's son was like Jesus.
7 But those farmers said to each other, “This is the son of our master. The garden will belong to him when his father dies. We should kill the son and then the garden will be ours.” 8 So, the farmers took the son and they killed him. Then they threw his dead body out of the garden.’
12:8The farmers were cruel to the man's servants because the farmers did not want to obey the man. They killed his son for the same reason. They are like people who do not want to obey God. God may give them many chances to change their minds. But if they do not obey God, he will certainly punish them in the end.
9 Jesus went on to ask, ‘What will the master of the garden do then? I tell you, he will come and he will kill those farmers. Then he will give the garden to other people to work in. 10 I am sure that you have read these words in the Bible:
“The builders refused to use a certain stone.
12:10The stone is like Jesus. The leaders did not think that he was important. But God decided that Jesus was important. In the end, he will rule over everybody and over everything.
They thought that it had no value.
But now that stone has become the most important stone at the corner of the building.
11 The Lord God did this.
And we can see that he did something great.” ’
12 The Jewish leaders knew that Jesus had told this story about them. They were the bad farmers in the story. So they wanted to take hold of Jesus. But they were afraid of the crowd. So, they left him and they went away.
The Pharisees ask about the money that Caesar demanded
13 Then the leaders sent some Pharisees to Jesus. They also sent some men who were friends of King Herod. They tried to use Jesus' words to cause trouble for him. 14 These men came to Jesus and they said, ‘Teacher, we know that you only say true things. It does not matter to you what other people think. If someone is important, you do not change your answers to make them happy. You really do teach us what God wants us to do. Tell us, should we pay our taxes to the Roman ruler, Caesar? Is it right to give that money to him, or not?’
15 Jesus knew that those men were not honest. So he said, ‘You just ask that question to cause trouble for me. Now, bring me a coin. I want to see it.’ 16 So they brought a coin to him. Jesus asked them, ‘Whose picture is on this coin? Whose name is on it?’
They replied, ‘It is Caesar's picture, and Caesar's name.’
17 Jesus then said to them, ‘So you should give to Caesar the things that are for him. And give to God the things that are for God.’
They were very surprised at his answer.
The Sadducees ask Jesus a question
18 Also, some Sadducees came to Jesus. Sadducees do not believe that anyone becomes alive again after they die. They wanted to ask Jesus a question.
12:18The Sadducees were a group of Jewish leaders. They taught that death was the end.
19 ‘Teacher,’ they said to him, ‘Moses wrote these things for us in the Bible: If a man dies without children, his brother must marry the man's wife. Then their children will be called the children of the brother who died. 20 But once there were seven brothers. The oldest brother married a wife. But he died before they had any children. 21 So the second brother married her. He also died without children. Then the third brother married this woman. 22 And the same thing happened to all seven brothers. They all died but they had no children. After all this, the woman also died. 23 You teach that at some time dead people will become alive again. On that day, whose wife will that woman be? She had married all seven of those brothers.’
24 Jesus said to the Sadducees, ‘You are very wrong. This is because you do not know the Bible. And you do not know how powerful God is. 25 All people who have died will become alive again one day. But then men and women will not marry. They will not have husbands or wives. Instead, they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 But God does really make dead people alive again. You have read what Moses wrote about the bush in the wilderness. There, God said to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham. I am the God of Isaac. And I am the God of Jacob.” 27 God is not the God of people who are dead. He is the God of people who are alive. So you see, you are very wrong.’
Jesus teaches people about the most important rule
28 One of the teachers of God's Law came near to the group of people. He heard Jesus speaking with the leaders. The teacher knew that Jesus had answered them well. So then the teacher asked Jesus, ‘Which rule is the most important among God's Laws?’
29 Jesus replied, ‘This rule is the most important rule: “Listen, Israel's people! The Lord alone is our God. There is no other Lord. 30 Love the Lord, your God completely: Love him with all your mind. Love him with all your strength. Love him in all that you think and you do.” 31 The second most important rule is this: “You should love other people as much as you love yourself.” No other rules are as important as these two.’
32 The teacher of God's Law said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, you have answered well. You are right to say that the Lord is the only God. And there is no other God except him. 33 We must love him with all our mind. We must love him in all that we think and in all that we do. We must also love other people as much as we love ourselves. This is more important than all the gifts or animals that we could offer to God.’
34 Jesus heard that the man had answered well. So Jesus said to him, ‘You are almost ready for God to rule in your life.’ After that, everybody was afraid to ask Jesus any more questions.
Jesus teaches the people about the Messiah
35 Jesus was teaching people in the yard at God's Great House. He said, ‘The teachers of God's Law say that the Messiah is King David's son. What do you think about that? 36 The Holy Spirit helped David himself to say:
12:35The Messiah was a special person that the Jews were waiting for. They believed that God would send him to save them.
“The Lord said to my Lord:
Sit at my right side until I beat your enemies completely.
You will even be able to put your feet on them.”
12:36In this verse the first time that David says ‘Lord’ he is talking about God. The second time that he says ‘Lord’ he is talking about Jesus, the Messiah.
37 In these words, David himself calls the Messiah his Lord. So can you really say that he is just David's son?’
12:37Jesus explained a very important fact to the teachers of God's Law. Jesus is a man but he is also God.
The large crowd liked to listen to the things that Jesus was saying. It made them happy.
38 While Jesus was teaching the people, he said, ‘Be careful not to do the same as the teachers of God's Law. They want people to think that they are important. So they walk about in beautiful long clothes. They like people to praise them in the market place. 39 They want to sit in the best seats in the meeting places. They choose the most important places at special meals. 40 But these men take things away from women after their husbands have died, even their houses. Then they pray for a long time so that other people will praise them. Because they do these things, God will punish those men much more than other people.’
Jesus talks about people who give to God
41 The crowd were giving their gifts for God's Great House. There was a box for money there. People threw their coins into it. Jesus sat near the box and he watched them. Many rich people put a lot of money into the box. 42 But then a woman came there. Her husband had died and she was very poor. She put two small coins that had only a little value into the box.
43 Jesus asked his disciples to come to him. He said to them, ‘I tell you this: This poor woman has put a better gift into the box than all the other people have put in there. 44 All those rich people have plenty of money. They only put a small part of that into the box. But this woman has almost nothing. She put in all the money that she had. That was all the money that she needed to live.’