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The Book of Jesus

Chapter Fifteen

The New Amsterdam Publishing Company
Copyright © 1997

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The Authority of Jesus is Questioned

NARRATOR.
They came to Jerusalem again, and as Jesus was walking in the Temple, teaching the people and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came up together along with the elders of the people and spoke to him as he taught.
GROUP.
Tell us, by what authority do you do all these things...who is that gave you this authority?
JESUS.
And I, will ask you a question, only one, and if you tell me the answer to it, I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, where did it originate? Was it from heaven, or from man? Give me your answer.
GROUP. [Discussing it among themselves]
If we say it is from heaven, he'll say, "Then why didn't you believe him?" And if we dare to say it is from man, we will have the people to contend with and we fear them. They will stone us, for they are convinced that John was a real prophet...We can't tell where it came from.
JESUS.
Then neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8

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Parable of the Two Sons

JESUS.
But, what's your opinion on this? A man had two sons. Going to the first son he said, "Son, I want you to go to work today in my vineyard." The son answered and said, "I don't want to go." but after thinking about it he changed his mind and went to the his father's vineyards. The man then went to his second son and asked him also to work in his vineyards for the day. The second son answered, "Sir, I'll go." but he never went. Which of the two sons did their father's will?
GROUP.
The first.
JESUS.
I tell you most sincerely, tax collectors and prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you didn't believe him. And yet, the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him. Even after you had seen that, you refused to change your thinking and repent so that you might believe in him.

Matthew 21:28-32

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Parable of the Vineyard

JESUS.
Here is another parable. There was a man who owned some land and decided to plant a vineyard. He fenced it in, dug out a trough for the winepress and built a tower. He then leased the operation out to some farmers and went away to a far off country. When the time for the harvesting of the fruit drew near, he sent some of his servants to the tenants in order to collect his share of the produce from the vineyard. But the tenants seized his servants, beat them up and sent them away empty-handed.
But he persevered and sent some more of his servants to them; this time they stoned them, wounding them in the head. Treating them shamefully, they sent them away empty-handed.
The owner still persevered and sent a third set of servants, more than the first. This time they killed some of them, beat the rest up and threw them out.
Finally the owner of the vineyard said, "What am I going to do?" I know! I'll send my beloved son. Perhaps they will respect my son." But when the tenants saw the son, they put their heads together and said, "This is the heir." They said, "Come on, let's kill him and take the inheritance that was his for ourselves." So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
Now what do you think the owner of the vineyard is going to do to those men when he comes?
GROUP.
Well, he'll put those wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season for the harvesting of the grapes arrives.
JESUS.
He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.
GROUP.
God forbid!
JESUS. [Looking hard at them]
Then what does this text on the scriptures mean: "The stone that was rejected by the builders, this same stone became the keystone. Whoever trips on this stone will be broken, but on whomever this stone will fall, it will grind him to powder. This was the Lord's doing and it is wonderful to see?" I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people bringing forth the fruits thereof.
NARRATOR.
When they heard this parable, the chief priests and the scribes realized he was speaking about them. Even so, they would have liked to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet. Jesus again began to speak to them in parables.

Matthew 21:33-46, 22:1; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19

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Parable of the Wedding Feast

JESUS.
The Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son's wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they declined the invitation and would not come. Once more he sent some more servants. Tell those who have been invited; "Look, I have prepared my banquet; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered and everything is ready. Come to the wedding." But they made light of the invitation and went their separate ways. One went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them.
When the king heard what had happened, he was furious. Despatching his troops, he destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. He then said to his servants, "The wedding is ready; but those who were invited were not worthy. Go through the streets of the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding." These servants then went into the streets and gathered together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment, and said to him, "My friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?" The man was speechless. The king then said to the attendants, "Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth". For many are called, but few are chosen.'

Matthew 22:2-14

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Paying Taxes

NARRATOR.
At this point, the scribes and the Pharisees left. The Pharisees went and discussed among themselves how they could use what he said to entrap him. Watching him, they sent their disciples and the Herodians to Jesus and waited for their opportunity. These men, posed as devote men of the Law, were to find something in what he said that they could use as cause that would enable them to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor. Going to him, they put this question:
DISCIPLES of the PHARISEES and the HERODIANS.
Master, we know you're an honest man. You say and teach what is right. You're not afraid of anyone, because a man's rank means nothing to you; you favor no one, but teach the way of God in truth and in all honesty. What is your opinion? Under God's Law, are we allowed to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay it or not?
NARRATOR.
But Jesus,, aware of their malice and cunning and seeing through their hypocrisy said to them:
JESUS.
You hypocrites! Why are you trying to set this trap for me? Show me the money you pay taxes with, hand me a denarius and let me see it!
NARRATOR.
They handed him a denarius and he said:
JESUS.
Whose head is this coin and whose name is on it?
DISCIPLES of the PHARISEES and the HERODIANS.
Caesar's?
JESUS.
Very well then, give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.
NARRATOR.
As a result, they were unable to find fault with anything he had to say in public. His answer took them by surprise and they were silenced. So the Chief Priests and the Scribes left him alone and went away.

Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26

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The Resurrection of the Dead

NARRATOR.
The same day some Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him:
SADDUCEES.
Master, Moses wrote to us and said; "If a man who he married dies and leaves his wife without giving her any children, the brother of the deceased man is supposed to marry his sister-in-law in order to raise up children for his brother. Now we had a matter involving seven brothers. The first, married a wife, died without children, and left his wife to his brother. The second brother married her and he likewise died without having any children. The same thing happened with the third and likewise to the rest of the seven, they married her but left her childless. Finally the woman herself died. Now in the resurrection when they rise again, which one of the seven bothers will be her husband, since they were all married to her at one time or another during her lifetime?
JESUS.
Is it because you do not understand the scriptures or the power of God that you're reasoning is so faulty. The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those men and women who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage when they rise from the dead because they can no longer die. They are like the angels in heaven. Being children of the resurrection, they are sons of God.
Now as for the resurrection of the dead, Moses himself wrote that the dead rise again. Haven't you never read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, what God himself said to you. God spoke to him and said: "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?" Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living. You are therefore making a very serious error; for to Him all men are in fact alive.
NARRATOR.
His teaching made a deep impression on all the people who had heard it.

Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38

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The Greatest Commandment

NARRATOR.
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they got together. One of them, a Scribe who was a lawyer, having heard them debate with the Sadducees and had observed how well Jesus had answered them, came up to Jesus and in an attempt to disconcert him, put a question to him and said:
SCRIBE 1.
Which is the first and greatest of all the commandments?
JESUS.
This is the first: "Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord! And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your being and with all your mind and with all your strength." This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is this: "You must love your neighbor as yourself." There is no greater than these. On these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets.
NARRATOR.
Some scribes then spoke up and said:
SCRIBES.
Well put, Master!
SCRIBE 1.
What you have said is true! Because there is only one God, and there is no other but Him. And to love Him with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your being and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, these are far more important than any burnt offerings or sacrifices!
NARRATOR.
When Jesus saw how wisely he had spoken, he said:
JESUS.
You are not far from the Kingdom of God.
NARRATOR.
After that, no one dared question him anymore.

Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 20:39,40

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David's Lord

NARRATOR.
While the Pharisees were gathered around, Jesus put this question to them:
JESUS.
How can the scribes maintain that the Christ is the son of David? What is your opinion about the Christ? Whose son is he?
SCRIBES.
David's son!
JESUS.
Then how is it that David, moved by Spirit, calls him Lord, where David himself says in the Psalms: 'The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand and I will put your enemies under your feet.' If David himself can call him Lord, in what way then can he be his son?'
NARRATOR.
Not one could think of anything to say in reply. The great majority of the people heard this with delight and from that day no one dared to ask him any further questions or to question him anymore.

Matthew 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44

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The Scribes And Pharisees Condemned

NARRATOR.
Jesus, then addressing the people and his disciples:
JESUS.
The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the seat of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do; since they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they!
NARRATOR.
While all the people were listening he said to the disciples:
JESUS.
Beware of the scribes, everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries, longer tassels and walking about in long robes, like wanting to take the place of honor at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues. They love being greeted with special honor in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi. These are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. These, will receive a greater damnation.
You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one father, and he is in Heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one teacher, the Christ, the greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.

Matthew 23:1-12; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47

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Further Condemnation of the Scribes And Pharisees

JESUS.
Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You shut up the Kingdom of Heaven in men's faces. For not only are you personally not going in, but you prevent those who are on their way in from entering.
Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You devour the property of widows even though you make a display with lengthy prayers. Because of this you will receive the greater damnation.
Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You will travel over land and sea to convert one person and and once he has been converted, you make him twice the child of Gehenna as you are.
Alas for you, blind guides because you say: "If a man swears by the Temple, it is nothing." But if a man swears by the gold of the Temple, he is bound.
Foolish and blind men! Which is greater, the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say that if a man swears by the alter, it's nothing. But if a man swears by the offering that is on the alter, he is bound.
Foolish and blind men! Which is of greater worth, the offering or the alter that makes the offering sacred. Therefore, when a man swears by the alter, he is swearing by that and by everything on it. And when a man swears by the Temple, he is swearing by that and by the One who dwells in it. And when a man swears by heaven, he is swearing by the throne of God and by the One who is seated there.
Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You do pay your tithe for even even the most insignificant plants, mint, dill and cumin. But you neglect the weightier matters of the law - justice, mercy, and faith! These you should have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.
Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You clean the outside of cup and dish, but leave the inside full of extortion and excesses [intemperance]. Blind Pharisee! Clean the inside of cup and dish first so that the outside of them may be clean as well.
Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You who are like whitewashed tombs that appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of corruption. In the same way, you outwardly appear to others as righteous men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the sepulchres of holy men. And you say, "If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have joined them in shedding the blood of the prophets."
Therefore, your own testimony bears witness against you. You are the sons of those who murdered the prophets. Finish off the work you fathers began! Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to Gehenna. Because of this, I send prophets, wise men and scribes to you. Some of them you will slaughter and crucify. Some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city. And so, you will bring upon yourselves the blood of every holy man that has been shed upon the earth. From the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the alter. I say to you most seriously, all of this will recoil on this generation.

Matthew 23:13-36

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The Message To Herod

NARRATOR.
The same day, some Pharisees came to him and said:
PHARISEES.
You better get out of here and leave this place, or else Herod will kill you.
JESUS.
You may go and tell that fox this message: "Observe, that I cast out devils and perform cures today and tomorrow and on the third day I will attain my end. Nevertheless, I must walk today and tomorrow and the day following for it would not be right for a prophet to die outside of Jerusalem.

Luke 13:31-33

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Jerusalem Admonished

JESUS.
Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You who have killed the prophets, stoned the ones who were sent to you. How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you refused. So be it! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I promise, you will not see me until the time comes when you will say; "Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord!"

Matthew 23:37-39; Luke 13:34,35

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The Widows Mite

NARRATOR.
He sat down opposite the treasury and as he looked up he saw people putting money [offerings] into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. He then happened to notice a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. He called his disciples and said to them:
JESUS.
I tell you most sincerely, this poor widow has put in more than any of them who have contributed to the treasury; for these have all contributed money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in all she possesses, all she had to live on.

Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4

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