Verse 1 – Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.
Israel is symbolized here being the vineyard, that the Lord had cultivated to bring salvation to the world. The vinedressers are their religious leaders. He set a divine hedge of protection around it. The wine vat, where they squeezed the grapes, may have represented the altar. And the tower may represent the watch tower where men stood watch on the wall of Jerusalem.
Verse 2 – “Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vineyards, that he might receive some fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers.
The servants were the prophets and priests who remained faithful to God.
Verse 3 – “And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
Verse 4 – “Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated.
Verse 5 – “And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating and some and killing some.
If you’ve read the Old Testament, you would see how many times God sent prophets to the Jewish people to teach them and tell them to repent before God sent His judgment because of their wickedness. Some they beat and stoned and some they killed.
Verse 6 – “Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
And then the man that owned the vineyard, God sent His only beloved Son, Jesus the Christ. Surely they would show Him respect and reverence.
Verse 7 – “But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.
Israel knew that Jesus was the one that the prophecies of the Old Testament had described, by the miracles He did. They knew that the house of Judah rightly belonged to Him. But they refused to embrace Him, confess Him, and declare that He was their King.
Verse 8 – “And they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.
Verse 9 – “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others.
Give the vineyard to others, alludes to the upcoming gospel mission to the Gentiles.
Verse 10 – “Have you not read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
Verse 11 – This was the LORD’S doing and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
Jesus is the stone rejected by the builders. Although He was rejected by most of the religious leaders, He would become the cornerstone of a “New building,” the church. The cornerstone was used as a base to make sure the other stones of the building were straight and level. Likewise, Jesus life and teachings would become the foundation for the church.
Verse 12 – And they sought to lay hold of Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.
The Pharisees, scribes, and elders, would have killed Jesus right hen, but they feared for their own lives.
Question of Taxes
Verse 13 – Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words.
Nothing has changed in our society today. Leaders and other Christians go after other ministries with a vengeance to try to destroy the message of true grace.
Verse 14 – When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
This specific tax that they referred to was the Roman poll tax, imposed when Judea became a Roman province. This tax represented Jewish subjection to Rome. A yes answer, would mean He supported Rome and a no answer would accuse Him of treason and rebellion against Rome. They had laid a trap of no escaping, so they thought.
Verse 15 – “Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” But He knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.”
Verse 16 – So they brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this? and they said, “Caesar’s.
Verse 17 – Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Rinder to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him.
The coin had Caesar’s image, so it belonged to Caesar. Jesus supported the legitimacy of human government, but He raised the issue to a higher level. He did not identify the things that are God’s, but since humans bear God’s image we have an obligation to give to God that which bears His image – ourselves!
Questions of the Resurrection
Verse 18 – Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him saying:
Verse 19 – “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.
Verse 20 – “Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no offspring.
Verse 21 – “And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And the third likewise.
Verse 22 – “So the seven had her and left no offspring. Last of all the woman died also.
Verse 23 – “Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife shall she be? For all seven had her as wife.”
The books of Moses were the only scriptures that the Sadducees followed. Since there was no teaching of life after death in them, they thought they could trap Jesus with this silly question. However, Jesus was about to show them otherwise.
Verse 24 – Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?
Verse 25 – “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Jesus statement doesn’t mean that people won’t recognize their spouses or other people in the coming kingdom. Nor does it mean that we turn into angels when we die. It simply means that God’s new order of things will not be an extension of this life and that the same physical and natural rules won’t apply.
Verse 26 – “But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
Verse 27 – “He is not the God of the dead, but God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.
God’s covenant with all people’s, exists beyond death. By stating, “God is the God of the living, was proof of the after life.
The Greatest Commandment
Verse 28 – Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
Verse 29 – Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.
Verse 30 – ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
Verse 31 – “And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
According to Jesus, these two commandments summarized all God’s laws. We are to let them rule our thoughts, decisions, and actions. If you love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, it won’t be hard to treat others right!
Verse 32 – So the scribe said to Him, “Well said Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He.
Verse 33 – “And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Verse 34 – So when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared question Him.
Do you see the significance of these two commandments? If we love others the same way we love ourselves, we won’t murder, steal, covet, lie on others, deceive, or do any harm. But is that the way people are today? No. And why is that? Because people let selfishness and self-centerdness override everything. They let their emotions rule. However, if those who call themselves Christians would act like Christians bearing these two commandments, then we would have peace among the brethren.
Verse 35 – Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?
This question related to the scribes and their understanding of the Messiah as the Son of David.
Verse 36 – “For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ‘
Verse 37 – “Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’, how is He then his Son?” And the common people heard Him gladly.
Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1, to show that David considered the Messiah to be his Lord, not just his son. The religious leaders did not understand that the Messiah would be far more than a human descendant of David’s, He would be God Himself in the flesh.
Jesus Condemns the Leaders
Verse 38 – Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces,
Verse 39 – “the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts,
Verse 40 – “who devour widow’s houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
These teachers of the law were hypocrites who had no love for God. True followers of Christ are not distinguished by showy spirituality. We are to live for Christ, even when no one is looking. These leader’s behavior oppressed and misled the very people they were supposed to lead.
Verse 41 – Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.
Verse 42 – Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrants.
Previously Jesus was in the Court of the Gentiles. The temple treasury was in the Court of the Women, so named because that was as close as women could come to the sanctuary. The collection boxes amplified the sound of coins when they were dropped in, making it obvious when rich people deposited large sums.
Then one poor widow dropped two copper coins – mites, of little value. She gave in spite of her poverty.
Verse 43 – So He called His disciples to Him and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;
Verse 44 – “for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
The value of a gift is not determined by the amount, but by the spirit in which it is given. A gift given grudgingly or for recognition loses its value. Gifts of any size are pleasing to the God when they are given out of gratitude and a spirit of generosity.