Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”
But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?”
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it was from.
And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time. Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.
“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’ But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.”
And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!”
Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone’?
Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people —for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.
So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.
Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me? Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?”
They answered and said, “Caesar’s.”
And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.