21:23 Now after Jesus 1 entered the temple courts, 2 the chief priests and elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority 3 are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 21:24 Jesus 4 answered them, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 21:25 Where did John’s baptism come from? From heaven or from people?” 5 They discussed this among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 21:26 But if we say, ‘From people,’ we fear the crowd, for they all consider John to be a prophet.” 21:27 So 6 they answered Jesus, 7 “We don’t know.” 8 Then he said to them, “Neither will I tell you 9 by what authority 10 I am doing these things.
21:28 “What 11 do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 21:29 The boy answered, 12 ‘I will not.’ But later he had a change of heart 13 and went. 21:30 The father 14 went to the other son and said the same thing. This boy answered, 15 ‘I will, sir,’ but did not go. 21:31 Which of the two did his father’s will?” They said, “The first.” 16 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, 17 tax collectors 18 and prostitutes will go ahead of you into the kingdom of God! 21:32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe. Although 19 you saw this, you did not later change your minds 20 and believe him.
21:33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner 21 who planted a vineyard. 22 He put a fence around it, dug a pit for its winepress, and built a watchtower. Then 23 he leased it to tenant farmers 24 and went on a journey. 21:34 When the harvest time was near, he sent his slaves 25 to the tenants to collect his portion of the crop. 26 21:35 But the tenants seized his slaves, beat one, 27 killed another, and stoned another. 21:36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first, and they treated them the same way. 21:37 Finally he sent his son to them, 28 saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 21:38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and get his inheritance!’ 21:39 So 29 they seized him, 30 threw him out of the vineyard, 31 and killed him. 21:40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 21:41 They said to him, “He will utterly destroy those evil men! Then he will lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him his portion at the harvest.”
21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 32
This is from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 33
21:43 For this reason I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people 34 who will produce its fruit. 21:44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.” 35 21:45 When 36 the chief priests and the Pharisees 37 heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 21:46 They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, because the crowds 38 regarded him as a prophet.
1 tn Grk “he.”
2 tn Grk “the temple.”
3 tn On this phrase, see BDAG 844 s.v. ποῖος 2.a.γ.1
4 tn Grk “answering, Jesus said to them.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation. Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
5 tn The plural Greek term ἀνθρώπων (anqrwpwn) is used here (and in v. 26) in a generic sense, referring to both men and women (cf. NAB, NRSV, “of human origin”; TEV, “from human beings”; NLT, “merely human”).
sn The question is whether John’s ministry was of divine or human origin.
6 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “So” to indicate that the clause is a result of the deliberations of the leaders.
7 tn Grk “answering Jesus, they said.” This construction is somewhat awkward in English and has been simplified in the translation.
8 sn Very few questions could have so completely revealed the wicked intentions of the religious leaders. Jesus’ question revealed the motivation of the religious leaders and exposed them for what they really were – hypocrites. They indicted themselves when they cited only two options and chose neither of them (“We do not know”). The point of Matt 21:23-27 is that no matter what Jesus said in response to their question, they were not going to believe it and would in the end use it against him.
9 sn Neither will I tell you. Though Jesus gave no answer, the analogy he used to their own question makes his view clear. His authority came from heaven.
11 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
12 tn Grk “And answering, he said.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation. Here the referent (“the boy”) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
13 tn The Greek text reads here μεταμέλομαι (metamelomai): “to change one’s mind about something, with the probable implication of regret” (L&N 31.59); cf. also BDAG 639 s.v. The idea in this context involves more than just a change of mind, for the son regrets his initial response. The same verb is used in v. 32.
14 tn “And he”; here δέ (de) has not been translated.
15 tn Grk “And answering, he said.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation. Here δέ (de) has not been translated. Here the referent (“this boy”) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
16 tc Verses 29-31 involve a rather complex and difficult textual problem. The variants cluster into three different groups: (1) The first son says “no” and later has a change of heart, and the second son says “yes” but does not go. The second son is called the one who does his father’s will. This reading is found in the Western
17 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”
19 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
20 sn The word translated change your minds is the same verb used in v. 29 (there translated had a change of heart). Jesus is making an obvious comparison here, in which the religious leaders are viewed as the disobedient son.
21 tn The term here refers to the owner and manager of a household.
22 sn The vineyard is a figure for Israel in the OT (Isa 5:1-7). The nation and its leaders are the tenants, so the vineyard here may well refer to the promise that resides within the nation. The imagery is like that in Rom 11:11-24.
23 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
24 sn The leasing of land to tenant farmers was common in this period.
sn These slaves represent the prophets God sent to the nation, who were mistreated and rejected.
26 tn Grk “to collect his fruits.”
27 sn The image of the tenants mistreating the owner’s slaves pictures the nation’s rejection of the prophets and their message.
28 sn The owner’s decision to send his son represents God sending Jesus.
30 tn Grk “seizing him.” The participle λαβόντες (labontes) has been translated as attendant circumstance.
31 sn Throwing the heir out of the vineyard pictures Jesus’ death outside of Jerusalem.
32 tn Or “capstone,” “keystone.” Although these meanings are lexically possible, the imagery in Eph 2:20-22 and 1 Cor 3:11 indicates that the term κεφαλὴ γωνίας (kefalh gwnia") refers to a cornerstone, not a capstone.
sn The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The use of Ps 118:22-23 and the “stone imagery” as a reference to Christ and his suffering and exaltation is common in the NT (see also Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:6-8; cf. also Eph 2:20). The irony in the use of Ps 118:22-23 here is that in the OT, Israel was the one rejected (or perhaps her king) by the Gentiles, but in the NT it is Jesus who is rejected by Israel.
34 tn Or “to a nation” (so KJV, NASB, NLT).
35 tc A few witnesses, especially of the Western text (D 33 it sys Or Eussyr), do not contain 21:44. However, the verse is found in א B C L W Z (Θ) 0102 Ë1,13 Ï lat syc,p,h co and should be included as authentic.
tn Grk “on whomever it falls, it will crush him.”
36 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
38 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the crowds) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Both previous occurrences of “they” in this verse refer to the chief priests and the Pharisees.