The Pharisees try to entrap Jesus in speech

Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers


One day, the chief priests and the elders of the people approached Jesus as he taught in the Temple.

“By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” they asked.

Jesus refused to answer them, because they were afraid to answer his questions about whether John the Baptist’s baptism was of human or heavenly origin.

Jesus then told two parables, one of which was about a landowner who leased his vineyard to tenants.

The landowner twice sent his servants to collect the vineyard’s produce. Each time, the servants were beaten or killed.

Then the landowner sent his son, thinking the tenants would respect him. Instead, his son was thrown out of the vineyard and killed.

“What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” Jesus asked.

“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times,” the chief priests and elders answered.

“Did you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes’? Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit,” Jesus said.

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest Jesus, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus a prophet.

Instead, the Pharisees went off and plotted how to entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their followers to Jesus to ask a question.

“Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” they asked.

Jesus wanted to see the coin that pays the census tax. They handed him the Roman coin.

“Whose image is this, and whose inscription?” Jesus asked.

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

“Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God,” Jesus said.


Matthew 21 & 22


  1. How many parables did Jesus tell?
  2. What coin was Jesus given?

TRIVIA: What did the scholar of the law ask Jesus to test him? (Hint: Matthew 22:36)

Answer: Which commandment in the law is the greatest?


In the Gospel of Matthew, we can read another story about Jesus and a coin.

In verse 22, we learn that Jesus and the apostles had gathered in Galilee, and Jesus had just finished explaining that he would be killed and raised on the third day.

Jesus and the apostles then traveled to Capernaum. There they were met by a man who was responsible for collecting the Temple tax.

According to a note in the New American Bible, this payment was required of every male Jew above 19 years of age, and the money was used for the Temple’s upkeep.

The man who was collecting the tax spoke to Peter.

“Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?” he asked.

“Yes,” Peter replied.

Peter then entered the house in which they were staying. Before he could say anything, Jesus spoke.

“What is your opinion,” Jesus asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?”

“From foreigners,” Peter answered.

“Then the subjects are exempt,” Jesus said. “But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth, and you will find a coin worth twice the Temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”


St. Martin of Tours

St. Martin of Tours was born into a pagan family in Hungary in the early fourth century. His father was a member of the Roman army who moved the family to Italy, which is where Martin became a catechumen.

He eventually followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the military. After he was discharged, Martin lived a monastic life and founded France’s first monastery. The people of Tours, France, declared him their bishop in 372.

Martin was the first nonmartyr to be honored as a saint. He died in 397, and we remember him on Nov. 11.


Unscramble the letters in each word and arrange them to form a quotation from the children’s story.

si showe stih gemia

Answers: is, whose, this, image

Whose image is this?


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