April 9 - Luke 20.1-26

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A Question about Jesus' Authority
(Matthew 21.23-27; Mark 11.27-33)

Luke 20 One day, Jesus was teaching in the temple and telling the good news. So the chief priests, the teachers, and the nation's leaders 2asked him, "What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?"
3Jesus replied, "I want to ask you a question. 4Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God in heaven or merely some human being?"
5They talked this over and said to each other, "We can't say that God gave John this right. Jesus will ask us why we didn't believe John. 6And we can't say that it was merely some human who gave John the right to baptize. The crowd will stone us to death, because they think John was a prophet."
7So they told Jesus, "We don't know who gave John the right to baptize."
8Jesus replied, "Then I won't tell you who gave me the right to do what I do."

Renters of a Vineyard
(Matthew 21.33-46; Mark 12.1-12)

9Jesus told the people this story:
A man once planted a vineyard and rented it out. Then he left the country for a long time. 10When it was time to harvest the crop, he sent a servant to ask the renters for his share of the grapes. But they beat up the servant and sent him away without anything. 11So the owner sent another servant. The renters also beat him up. They insulted him terribly and sent him away without a thing. 12The owner sent a third servant. He was also beaten terribly and thrown out of the vineyard.
13The owner then said to himself, "What am I going to do? I know what. I'll send my son, the one I love so much. They will surely respect him!"
14When the renters saw the owner's son, they said to one another, "Someday he will own the vineyard. Let's kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves." 15So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
Jesus asked, "What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? 16I'll tell you what. He will come and kill those renters and let someone else have his vineyard."
When the people heard this, they said, "This must never happen!"
17But Jesus looked straight at them and said, "Then what do the Scriptures mean when they say, 'The stone that the builders tossed aside is now the most important stone of all'? 18Anyone who stumbles over this stone will get hurt, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces."
19The chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses knew that Jesus was talking about them when he was telling this story. They wanted to arrest him right then, but they were afraid of the people.

Paying Taxes
(Matthew 22.15-22; Mark 12.13-17)

20Jesus' enemies kept watching him closely, because they wanted to hand him over to the Roman governor. So they sent some men who pretended to be good. But they were really spies trying to catch Jesus saying something wrong. 21The spies said to him, "Teacher, we know that you teach the truth about what God wants people to do. And you treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are. 22Tell us, should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not?"
23Jesus knew that they were trying to trick him. So he told them, 24"Show me a coin." Then he asked, "Whose picture and name are on it?"
"The Emperor's," they answered.
25Then he told them, "Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God." 26Jesus' enemies could not catch him saying anything wrong there in front of the people. They were amazed at his answer and kept quiet.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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