Speaking in the Temple, the Lord Jesus Christ turning to the high priests,
scribes, and elders of the people told them this parable.
There was a Landowner, Who planted a vineyard, set
a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, built a tower, and let it out to
tenants, and went into another country.
When the season of fruit drew near, He sent his
servants to the tenants to get His fruit; and the tenants took His servants and
beat one, killed the other, and stoned another. Again, He sent other servants,
more than the first, and they did the same.
Afterward, He sent His only Son to them saying,
"They will respect my Son."
But when the tenants saw the Son, they said to
each other, "This is the Heir. Come, let us kill Him, and have His
inheritance." And they took Him, and cast Him out of the vineyard, and
Having told the parable, the Saviour asked them,
"When, therefore, the Owner of the vineyard comes, what will He do to
They said to Him, "He will put those wretches
to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give
Him the fruits in their season."
The Lord Jesus Christ emphasized their answer, saying,
"Therefore, I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and
given to a nation which will produce the fruits of it."
Then, the chief priests and Pharisees with the
elders understood that the Saviour was speaking about them. In a rage, they
tried to arrest Him, but they feared the multitude because the multitude
considered Him to be a prophet.
The explanation of this parable is thus: The Householder
is God. The tenants are the Jewish people chosen by God to preserve the true
faith. The hedges around the vineyard are the commandments of God given
through Moses. The wine press where the juice of the grapes flows is the
sacrifice in the Old Testament covenant prefiguring the death on the cross of
Jesus Christ; the tower is the Temple in Jerusalem. The overseers
are the chief priests, scribes, and elders of the Jewish people. The servants
of the Householder are the holy prophets. The Son of the Householder is
the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. Standing at the head of the Jewish
people, the chief priests, scribes, and elders had received the power to
prepare the people to accept the Saviour, but they used this power only for
their own benefit. God sent prophets to them, but they persecuted and killed
them. Thus, they turned out to be murderers of prophets and then murderers of
the apostles. Their Saviour they rejected; and leading Him out from their city,
they crucified Him. Therefore, the Kingdom
of God was taken away from them and given to another people; the Church
of Christ was opened to all nations.
The Question Concerning Tribute to Caesar.
The Lord Jesus Christ continued to teach in the Temple, and the Jewish elders took counsel among themselves how
to entangle Him in His speech in order to accuse Him in front of the people or
before the Roman authorities.
Having thought up a crafty question, they sent
several Pharisees to the Saviour from among their young apprentices and
Herodians, recognized lawyers of Roman authorities. Pretending respect, they
began flatteringly to say to Him, "Master, we know that You
are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and favour no man, for you do
not regard the position of men. Tell us then, is it lawful to pay taxes to
Caesar or not?"
The enemies of Christ who thought up this tricky
question reasoned thus: if Jesus Christ answers that it is appropriate to pay
the tribute, then he calls upon Himself indignation among the people, as the
Jews recognized only God as their king. They considered it to be unlawful and
against God’s will to be subject to a foreign king, moreover a heathen, and
only by coercion they did render tribute to Caesar. If Jesus Christ answered
that it was not necessary to pay tribute to Caesar, then in that case, He would
immediately be guilty before the Roman authority as one who stirred up the
people against the Roman powers, against Caesar.
But Jesus Christ knowing their malice said to
them, "Why do you tempt Me, you hypocrites?
(Hypocrites — people who affectedly, for some advantage, try to present
themselves before others as pious and virtuous) Show me the money for the
They brought Him a denarius, a Roman coin.
The Saviour asked, "Whose likeness and
inscription is on it?"
They said, "Caesar’s."
Then, Jesus Christ said to them, "Render
therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are
God’s." This means, give back to Caesar that what you receive from
him, pay tribute to him for that which you use from him (money, armies, etc.),
submit to him in everything that is not against God’s commandments, paying
taxes is a sign of submission, a legal obligation and necessity. But at the
same time, steadfastly fulfil everything that God requires from us in His
commandments and lovingly serve Him; for to God, you owe your existence, your
The answer of the Saviour amazed them all by the
wisdom and unusual simplicity, so that the questioners fell silent and went
away in shame.
The Question Concerning the Resurrection.
After this, having beforehand composed their
argument, some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection, came to
the Saviour. They thought that they could catch Him with a question and said,
"Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must
marry his widow and raise up children for his
brother.’ Now, there were seven brothers among us. The first married, and died,
and having no children, left his wife to his brother. So too, the second and
third, down to the seventh, did. After them all, the woman died. In the
resurrection therefore, to which of the seven will she be wife? For they all
But Jesus Christ answered them, "You are
wrong because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the
resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels
in Heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was
said to you by God, ‘I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. He
is not the God of the dead but of the living.’ "
In that time, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were no
longer living on earth; it followed that if God still nevertheless called
Himself their God, that meant they were alive for Him,
or He would be calling Himself God of the nonexistent.
Again, when the crowd heard it, they were
astonished at the answer of Jesus Christ. Some of the scribes answered,
"Teacher! You have spoken well."
About the Divinity of Christ the Messiah.
The Pharisees, standing at that time at some
distance, now gathered together and came closer to Jesus Christ, but they did
not dare to ask Him any question. Then, Jesus Christ Himself turning to the
gathered Pharisees asked them a question saying, "What do you think of
the Christ? Whose Son is He?"
The Pharisees immediately answered,
The word "son" in Hebrew meant not only
son in the proper sense but also line of descent. Therefore, the expression
"Son of David" meant in the lineage of David.
Jesus Christ again asked, "How is it then
that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls Him Lord saying, ‘The Lord said to
my Lord: Sit at My right hand, till I put Thy enemies under Thy feet?’ If
David thus called Him Lord, how is He his Son?"
No one was able to answer Him a word. The
Pharisees, not understanding the Scriptures in spirit and truth, did not
understand that Christ as God-man was of the lineage of David only by His human
nature; but by His divine nature, He always existed, for He is, as Son of
God, existing from eternity.
From that day, no one dared to ask Him any more
questions. Thus was the scholarly pride of man disgraced before the divine
wisdom of the Saviour. Multitudes of people listened to the Lord with
Then, Jesus Christ turned to His disciples and the
crowds; and in a formidable speech before them all, He clearly exposed the
hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the scribes and predicted woe to them.
Jesus Christ with grief said, "Woe to you,
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the Kingdom
of Heaven against men, for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow
those who would enter to go in.
"Woe to you, scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites! You tithe mint,
and dill, and cumin (things of little worth) and have neglected the weightier
matters of the law: justice, and mercy, and faith. These, you ought to have
done without neglecting the others. You are blind guides straining at a gnat
and swallowing a camel!" This means that they painstakingly care for
trivial things; but important matters, they leave unattended.
"You outwardly seem to the people to be
righteous; but inwardly, you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness... "
This was the last admonition of the Lord, the last
attempt to save them from the terrible judgement. But on their faces there was
no repentance; but rather, there was repressed anger toward the Saviour.
the Gospels of Matthew 21:33-46, -46; and
23; Mark 12:1-40; Luke 20:9-47.
The Widow’s Coin.
At the entrance to the Temple
of Jerusalem, there was placed a treasury, that is, a collection box,
in which worshippers put their freewill offerings for the Temple.
Jesus Christ sat down opposite the treasury and
watched the multitude putting their offering into the treasury. Many rich
people put in large sums.
A poor widow came and put in two copper coins,
which make a penny, the smallest denomination of money. Such a gift might seem
to people scarcely worthy of notice. But the Lord, who sees into men’s hearts,
pointed out to His disciples precisely this humble gift of the poor woman. The
Lord valued her gift for its internal worth. Having called His disciples to
Him, He said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more
than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all
contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in
everything she had, her whole living." She contributed her last coin and,
by so doing, consecration to God everything that she had.
the Gospels of Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4.