The Parable of the Tenants
There is a vineyard owner who leaves town and puts his vineyard in the hands of some tenants. After a while he a servant to the vineyard to get some fruit from it. The tenants kick his ass and send him away. He sends a string of servants, some of who get killed, eventually he sends his son and he gets killed to. Jesus says the owner will now evict the tenants.
The people who want to arrest Jesus are scared of the people now because this is directed toward them.
Everyone in this story seems to be acting irrationally, but I guess if Jesus is having the tenants play the part of the elders and scribes who want to arrest Jesus that makes a bit of sense.
Paying Taxes to Caesar
In an attempt to trick Jesus, some Pharisees and Herodians ask Jesus if it is lawful to pay taxes. He sees that they are trying to trick them and points out that Caesar's face is on the coin. So he says "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's"
I still don't understand this. First off, they are trying to trick Jesus, what is the trick? I'm guessing he would be in trouble if he said that it is ok to not pay taxes. If he says you should pay taxes then what happens? Because that is essentially what he did say right?
I think I'm missing some context here. Any help?
The Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection
In the old testament, if a married man dies without having children his brother has to marry his wife and raise offspring for the dead brother. The Sadducees ask Jesus, what if this happens a bunch of times where 7 brothers keep not having children and they are all wind up being married to the same woman before they die. (7 brothers seems unnecessary but I guess it highlights the absurdity they are pointing out). After the resurrection who is she married to. Jesus basically says there is no marriage in heaven.
This is not the heaven that most of us picture. One of the main points of heaven is being with family (at least that is how I always thought of it).
The Great Commandment
A scribe asked Jesus which commandment is the most important. Jesus said it is to love God with your mind, heart, and soul. He said the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.
I suppose the christian's response to this would be something like the following: Love of God is the root of everything good. If I love God, any other good you can think of will naturally follow. I don't need to try to not sin, I just need to love God and not sinning will just happen. For any other good, the same applies, don't focus on doing good, focus on loving God and you will naturally do good.
Here is the problem I see with this type of thing. It doesn't always work. What happens when you number one goal in life is to love God and then someone else doesn't love that God? People go to war over this stuff. There are long standing feuds between denominations, etc.
Whose Son Is the Christ?
Jesus asks how the Christ can be the son of David, David himself called him lord. How can you call your son lord? Everyone was glad.
I don't understand this either. Isn't Jesus supposed to be a descendant of David? What is the point here?
Beware of the Scribes
Beware the scribes who get a lot of perks for their position.
I'm guessing the point is they are doing it for the perks and not what they are supposed to be doing it for. Seems like a reasonable warning.
The Widow's Offering
A lot of rich people put in a bunch of money into the offering box, but a widow put just a penny. Jesus said she gave more because the rich gave out of their abundance, but she gave everything she had.
I remember this story from childhood too. It is a very important point I think, the richer you are, the less burden the giving is on you. Poor people giving what they can, although a small amount, has much more impact for them than rich people giving a lot.
It's funny, I see stuff like this and I look at politics and it never matches up. This seems to be a pretty good argument for a progressive tax structure, and yet the religious right always seems to be the ones arguing for a flat tax.