Contemporary English Version
Renters of a Vineyard
12 Jesus then told them this story:
A farmer once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he rented out his vineyard and left the country.
2 When it was harvest time, he sent a servant to get his share of the grapes. 3 The renters grabbed the servant. They beat him up and sent him away without a thing.
4 The owner sent another servant, but the renters beat him on the head and insulted him terribly. 5 Then the man sent another servant, and they killed him. He kept sending servant after servant. They beat some of them and killed others.
6 The owner had a son he loved very much. Finally, he sent his son to the renters because he thought they would respect him. 7 But they said to themselves, “Someday he will own this vineyard. Let’s kill him! That way we can have it all for ourselves.” 8 So they grabbed the owner’s son and killed him. Then they threw his body out of the vineyard.
9 Jesus asked, “What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? He will come and kill those renters and let someone else have his vineyard. 10 You surely know that the Scriptures say,
‘The stone that the builders
is now the most important
stone of all.
11 This is something
the Lord has done,
and it is amazing to us.’”
12 The leaders knew that Jesus was really talking about them, and they wanted to arrest him. But because they were afraid of the crowd, they let him alone and left.
13 The Pharisees got together with Herod’s followers.[a] Then they sent some men to trick Jesus into saying something wrong. 14 They went to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are honest. You treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are. And you teach the truth about what God wants people to do. Tell us, should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not?”
15 Jesus knew what they were up to, and he said, “Why are you trying to test me? Show me a coin!”
16 They brought him a silver coin, and he asked, “Whose picture and name are on it?”
“The Emperor’s,” they answered.
17 Then Jesus told them, “Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God.” The men were amazed at Jesus.
Life in the Future World
18 The Sadducees did not believe that people would rise to life after death. So some of them came to Jesus and said:
19 Teacher, Moses wrote that if a married man dies and has no children, his brother should marry the widow. Their first son would then be thought of as the son of the dead brother. 20 There were once seven brothers. The first one married, but died without having any children. 21 The second brother married his brother’s widow, and he also died without having children. The same thing happened to the third brother, 22 and finally to all seven brothers. At last the woman died. 23 When God raises people from death, whose wife will this woman be? After all, she had been married to all seven brothers.
24 Jesus answered:
You are completely wrong! You don’t know what the Scriptures teach. And you don’t know anything about the power of God. 25 When God raises people to life, they won’t marry. They will be like the angels in heaven. 26 You surely know about people being raised to life. You know that in the story about Moses and the burning bush, God said, “I am the God worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”[b] 27 He isn’t the God of the dead, but of the living. You Sadducees are all wrong.
The Most Important Commandment
28 One of the teachers of the Law of Moses came up while Jesus and the Sadducees were arguing. When he heard Jesus give a good answer, he asked him, “What is the most important commandment?”
29 Jesus answered, “The most important one says: ‘People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God. 30 You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.’ 31 The second most important commandment says: ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is more important than these.”
32 The man replied, “Teacher, you are certainly right to say there is only one God. 33 It is also true that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and that we must love others as much as we love ourselves. These commandments are more important than all the sacrifices and offerings that we could possibly make.”
34 When Jesus saw that the man had given a sensible answer, he told him, “You are not far from God’s kingdom.” After this, no one dared ask Jesus any more questions.
About David’s Son
35 As Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “How can the teachers of the Law of Moses say that the Messiah will come from the family of King David? 36 The Holy Spirit led David to say,
‘The Lord said to my Lord:
Sit at my right side[c]
until I make your enemies
into a footstool for you.’
37 If David called the Messiah his Lord, how can the Messiah be his son?”[d]
The large crowd enjoyed listening to Jesus teach.
Jesus Condemns the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law of Moses
38 As Jesus was teaching, he said:
Guard against the teachers of the Law of Moses! They love to walk around in long robes and be greeted in the market. 39 They like the front seats in the meeting places and the best seats at banquets. 40 But they cheat widows out of their homes and pray long prayers just to show off. They will be punished most of all.
A Widow’s Offering
41 Jesus was sitting in the temple near the offering box and watching people put in their gifts. He noticed that many rich people were giving a lot of money. 42 Finally, a poor widow came up and put in two coins that were worth only a few pennies. 43 Jesus told his disciples to gather around him. Then he said:
I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 44 Everyone else gave what they didn’t need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had. Now she doesn’t have a cent to live on.
The Temple Will Be Destroyed
13 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, look at these beautiful stones and wonderful buildings!”
2 Jesus replied, “Do you see these huge buildings? They will certainly be torn down! Not one stone will be left in place.”
Warning about Trouble
3 Later, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him in private. 4 They asked, “When will these things happen? What will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
5 Jesus answered:
Watch out and don’t let anyone fool you! 6 Many will come and claim to be me. They will use my name and fool many people.
7 When you hear about wars and threats of wars, don’t be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn’t the end. 8 Nations and kingdoms will go to war against each other. There will be earthquakes in many places, and people will starve to death. But this is just the beginning of troubles.
9 Be on your guard! You will be taken to courts and beaten with whips in their meeting places. And because of me, you will have to stand before rulers and kings to tell about your faith. 10 But before the end comes, the good news must be preached to all nations.
11 When you are arrested, don’t worry about what you will say. You will be given the right words when the time comes. But you will not really be the ones speaking. Your words will come from the Holy Spirit.
12 Brothers and sisters will betray each other and have each other put to death. Parents will betray their own children, and children will turn against their parents and have them killed. 13 Everyone will hate you because of me. But if you keep on being faithful right to the end, you will be saved.
The Horrible Thing
14 Someday you will see that “Horrible Thing” where it should not be.[e] Everyone who reads this must try to understand! If you are living in Judea at that time, run to the mountains. 15 If you are on the roof[f] of your house, don’t go inside to get anything. 16 If you are out in the field, don’t go back for your coat. 17 It will be an awful time for women who are expecting babies or nursing young children. 18 Pray that it won’t happen in winter.[g] 19 This will be the worst time of suffering since God created the world, and nothing this terrible will ever happen again. 20 If the Lord doesn’t make the time shorter, no one will be left alive. But because of his chosen and special ones, he will make the time shorter.
21 If someone should say, “Here is the Messiah!” or “There he is!” don’t believe it. 22 False messiahs and false prophets will come and work miracles and signs. They will even try to fool God’s chosen ones. 23 But be on your guard! That’s why I am telling you these things now.
When the Son of Man Appears
24 In those days, right after that time of suffering,
“The sun will become dark,
and the moon
will no longer shine.
25 The stars will fall,
and the powers in the sky[h]
will be shaken.”
26 Then the Son of Man will be seen coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 He will send his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the earth.
A Lesson from a Fig Tree
28 Learn a lesson from a fig tree. When its branches sprout and start putting out leaves, you know summer is near. 29 So when you see all these things happening, you will know that the time has almost come.[i] 30 You can be sure that some of the people of this generation will still be alive when all this happens. 31 The sky and the earth will not last forever, but my words will.
No One Knows the Day or Time
32 No one knows the day or the time. The angels in heaven don’t know, and the Son himself doesn’t know. Only the Father knows. 33 So watch out and be ready! You don’t know when the time will come. 34 It is like what happens when a man goes away for a while and places his servants in charge of everything. He tells each of them what to do, and he orders the guard to keep alert. 35 So be alert! You don’t know when the master of the house will come back. It could be in the evening or at midnight or before dawn or in the morning. 36 But if he comes suddenly, don’t let him find you asleep. 37 I tell everyone just what I have told you. Be alert!
- 12.13 Herod’s followers: People who were political followers of the family of Herod the Great and his son Herod Antipas.
- 12.26 “I am the God worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”: Jesus argues that if God is worshiped by these three, they must still be alive, because he is the God of the living.
- 12.36 right side: The place of power and honor.
- 12.37 David. . . his son: See the note at 10.47.
- 13.14 where it should not be: Probably the holy place in the temple.
- 13.15 roof: See the note at 2.4.
- 13.18 in winter: In Palestine the winters are cold and rainy and make travel difficult.
- 13.25 the powers in the sky: In ancient times people thought that the stars were spiritual powers.
- 13.29 the time has almost come: Or “he (that is, the Son of Man) will soon be here.”