Mark 12 New Testament for Everyone (NTE)
The Parable of the Tenants
12 Jesus began to speak to them with parables.
‘Once upon a time,’ he began, ‘there was a man who planted a vineyard. He built a fence around it, dug out a wine-press, built a watchtower, and then let it out to tenant farmers. He himself went abroad. 2 When the time came he sent a slave to the farmers to collect from them his portion of the vineyard’s produce. 3 They seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
4 ‘So again he sent another slave to them. This one they beat about the head, and treated shamefully. 5 He sent another, and they killed him. He sent several more; they beat some and killed others.
6 ‘He had one more to send: his beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking “They will respect my son”.
7 ‘But the tenant farmers said to themselves,
“This is the heir! Come on – let’s kill him, and we’ll get the inheritance!” 8 So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
9 ‘So what will the vineyard owner do? He will come and destroy those tenants, and give the vineyard to others. 10 Or haven’t you read the scripture which says,
There is the stone the builders refused;
12 They tried to find a way of arresting him, because they realized he had directed the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd. They left him and went away.
On Paying Taxes to Caesar
13 They sent some Pharisees to Jesus, and some Herodians, to try to trick him into saying the wrong thing.
14 ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know you are a man of integrity; you don’t regard anybody as special. You don’t bother about the outward show people put up; you teach God’s way truly.
‘Well then: is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not? Should we pay it, or shouldn’t we?’
15 He knew the game they were playing. ‘Why are you trying to trap me?’ he said. ‘Bring me a tribute-coin; let me look at it.’
16 They brought one to him.
‘This image,’ he asked, ‘whose is it? And whose is this superscription?’
‘Caesar’s,’ they replied.
17 ‘Well then,’ said Jesus, ‘give Caesar back what belongs to Caesar – and give God back what belongs to God!’
They were astonished at him.
Marriage and the Resurrection
18 Some Sadducees approached Jesus (Sadducees, by the way, deny the resurrection).
19 ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘Moses wrote for us that “If a man’s brother dies, and leaves a wife but no child, the brother should take the wife and raise up descendents for his brother.” 20 Well now: there were once seven brothers. The first married a wife, and died without children. 21 The second married the widow, and died without children. The third did so as well, 22 and so did all seven, still without leaving children. Finally the woman died too. 23 So: when they rise again in the resurrection, whose wife will she be? All seven had her, after all.’
24 ‘Where you’re going wrong’, replied Jesus, ‘is that you don’t know the scriptures, or God’s power. 25 When people rise from the dead, they don’t marry, nor do people give them in marriage. They are like angels in heaven.
26 ‘However, to show that the dead are indeed to be raised, surely you’ve read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, what God says to Moses? “I am Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God and Jacob’s God”? 27 He isn’t the God of the dead, but of the living. You are completely mistaken.’
The Most Important Commandment
28 One of the legal experts came up, and overheard the discussion. Realizing that Jesus had given a splendid answer, he put a question of his own.
‘Which commandment’, he asked, ‘is the first one of all?’
29 ‘The first one’, replied Jesus, ‘is this: “Listen, Israel: the Lord your God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your understanding, and with all your strength.” 31 And this is the second one: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these ones.’
32 ‘Well said, Teacher,’ answered the lawyer. ‘You are right in saying that “he is one and there is no other beside him”, 33 and that “to love him with all the heart, and with all the intelligence, and with all the strength” and “to love one’s neighbour as oneself” is worth far more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’
34 Jesus saw that his answer came out of deep understanding.
‘You are not far from God’s kingdom,’ he said to him.
After that, nobody dared put any more questions to him.
David’s Son and the Widow’s Mite
35 By way of response to it all, Jesus began to teach in the Temple.
‘Why do the experts say’, he asked, ‘that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 David himself, inspired by the holy spirit, said:
The Lord said to my Lord:
37 ‘David himself calls him “Lord”; how then can he be his son?’
The whole crowd listened to him with delight.
38 During his teaching, he said, ‘Beware of the lawyers! They like to walk about in long robes, and to be greeted in the market-places. 39 They take the chief seats in the synagogue, and the best places at dinner parties. 40 They devour the property of widows, and make long prayers without meaning them. They will receive all the more condemnation.’
41 As he sat opposite the Temple treasury, he watched the crowd putting money into the almsboxes. Lots of rich people put in substantial amounts. 42 Then there came a single poor widow, who put in two tiny coins, together worth a single penny.
43 Jesus called his disciples.
‘I’m telling you the truth,’ he said. ‘This poor widow just put more into the treasury than everybody else. 44 You see, all the others were contributing out of their wealth; but she put in everything she had, out of her poverty. It was her whole livelihood.’
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