23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authorityo are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”p
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’q
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectorsr and the prostitutess are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness,t and you did not believe him, but the tax collectorsu and the prostitutesv did. And even after you saw this, you did not repentw and believe him.
33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who plantedx a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower.y Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.z 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servantsa to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.b 36 Then he sent other servantsc to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir.d Come, let’s kill hime and take his inheritance.’f 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
“ ‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from youj and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”i k
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.l
Some manuscripts do not have verse 44.