for this week: Isa 9:6 For unto us a
child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be
upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of
We continue our study of
the book of Luke this week as we continue in chapter 20. Last
week, we began our study with the conversion of Zacchaeus. Jesus
taught on the parable of the ten pounds. Later He entered into
Jerusalem in a triumphal entry as the people cried out in joy. We
ended last week’s lesson studying about Christ purifying the temple
by driving out the moneychangers.
Leaders Question Jesus’ Authority
20:1 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught
the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests
and the scribes came upon him with the elders,
20:2 And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest
thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?
We find a
controversy developed between Jesus and the chief priests, scribes,
and elders of Israel. We know these had from the very first
rejected the testimony of Christ, and did not accept that he was the
Messiah sent from God. The religious leaders of the people were now
gathered around Him as he taught the people in the temple. They
had gathered on the outer court of the temple where the teachers met
with their disciples. They begin by asking two questions found in
verse 2. “By what authority doest thou these things? Or who is he
that gave thee this authority?” The first question is in regards
to him driving out the moneychangers from the temple as we studied
at the end of Chapter 19. The second question concerning authority
really upset these people. How could a mere carpenter from Nazareth
dare enter into the precincts of the temple and drive out those who
sold doves, lambs, and other animals for sacrifices. To them Jesus
was not qualified nor did he have the authority to do these
things. But he did it with GREAT authority, which had to be very
confusing to them. Jesus didn’t check the popularity polls to
decide what He would do. He was God Himself manifested in the
flesh, and He was always about doing the Will of the Father.
20:3 And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one
thing; and answer me:
20:4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?
Jesus was not
taken by surprise by these men’s question. Instead of answering
them, he replies back with another questions. “The Baptism of
John, was I from heaven or of men?”
20:5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say,
From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
20:6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for
they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
20:7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.
leaders get together and discuss this among themselves. They
realize that this was a loaded question. If they were to say it
was from heaven, then Jesus would ask why they did not believe him.
However, because the people regarded John the Baptist as a great
prophet (which he was), if they said it was from men, most likely
the people would stone them. So to get out of the predicament,
they say that they could not tell whence it was.
20:8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority
I do these things.
“Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.” They
didn’t get their smooth answer to help them with Jesus. Jesus was
God and knew their thoughts and motives.
II. Parable of
20:9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain
man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went
into a far country for a long time.
20:10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that
they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the
husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
In this parable
of the vineyard, we have an account that speaks of Israel and the
treatment of both the prophets and Jesus Christ. The certain man
who planted the vineyard is God. The vineyard is the nation of
Israel. The husbandmen who were to take care of the vineyard
represent the rulers. These were the temporal rulers as well as
the spiritual rulers. The servant sent forth speaks of the
prophets. God used these men over and over to call Israel back to
God and His law. But the people turned deaf ears to their messages
and persecuted them for telling the truth.
18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt
ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if
Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created
him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
43:8 Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that
43:9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people
be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former
43:11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
20:11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also,
and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
20:12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and
cast him out.
repeated again and again. God would send forth a prophet to his
chosen nation of Israel, but they would not hear and they would
persecute God’s chosen man.
5:19 And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth
the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer
them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your
land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours.
5:20 Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah,
5:21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding;
which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
20:13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will
send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see
20:14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among
themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that
the inheritance may be ours.
20:15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What
therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?
Finally the Lord
sent His own son into the vineyard. “They will reverence him when
they see him.” He reasoned. But not only did they not reverence
Christ, they put him on the Cross and crucified Him. The parable
puts forth a question… “What therefore shall the lord of the
vineyard do unto them?” There is a price that sin earns.
20:16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give
the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God
20:17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is
written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become
the head of the corner?
20:18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on
whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
When the Jews
heard what Jesus said God would do to them, they say “God forbid.”
The bible says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God.
Without Christ, no one has any hope.
The stone which
the builders (meaning the nation of Israel and their leaders)
rejected became the head of the corner. The church itself is built
upon the precious cornerstone of Jesus Christ. He is now head of
4:5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and
elders, and scribes,
4:6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and
Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest,
were gathered together at Jerusalem.
4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what
power, or by what name, have ye done this?
4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye
rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
4:9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the
impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel,
that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified,
whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here
before you whole.
4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders,
which is become the head of the corner.
4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none
other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Pet 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed
of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
Pet 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house,
an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to
God by Jesus Christ.
Pet 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I
lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that
believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Pet 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto
them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed,
the same is made the head of the corner,
Pet 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to
them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also
they were appointed.
It says that
whosoever falls upon this stone will be broken. And on whomsoever
the stones falls it shall grind him to powder. The stone falling
speaks of the judgment Christ will mete out. The first time Jesus
came, He came as a loving and forgiving Savior. When He returns
this second time, He comes as the Righteous Judge. All those who
do not come by the blood of Christ will be crushed and ground to
powder. And even worse, they face eternal separation from God in
Hell. Oh what an awesome responsibility we have to warn those who
are lost about what they face. If we warn them, and they reject
us, their blood is not on our hands. But if we fail to tell them,
we have no excuse.
3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou
givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his
wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his
iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
3:19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his
wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity;
but thou hast delivered thy soul.
of the Tribute Money
20:19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to
lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived
that he had spoken this parable against them.
20:20 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should
feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words,
that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the
The leaders are
very upset with Christ and sought that same hour to lay hands on
Jesus because they perceived the parable was against them. They
were right in that part. They were unable to answer the Lord on
this matter, and because they rejected him, they stoop to the lowest
of methods when they seek to send forth spies to discredit Him
before the people. The send forth these to also find some occasion
against Him that they might accuse Christ before Pilate.
They were not
match in words with Christ because he was the Living Word made
manifest to man. They were never going to defeat Jesus in a debate
of words because Christ was God Himself. So they sought mean and
wicked ways to try and take Christ.
20:21 And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest
and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but
teachest the way of God truly:
20:22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?
crafty, they lie as they say “Master, we know that thou sayest and
teachest rightly.” They didn’t really believe that, nor the last
part about “teachest the way of God truly.” But they were pouring
on the charm that they might trick him with a question about giving
tribute unto Caesar. If they could get him to speak against the
Roman government, they would have him. This shows how desperate
they were since they all hated the Roman government and would have
delighted to see it overthrown and the Jews liberated as a nation.
But their goal was to find fault in Jesus one way or another.
20:23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why
tempt ye me?
20:24 Show me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They
answered and said, Caesar's.
20:25 And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the
things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.
that because God gave the land to Abraham, the father of Israel, and
to his descendants, Jesus would lash out against the Romans for
making them give tribute unto them. What right did they have to
bring authority over God’s people? But Jesus knew their minds and
‘perceived their craftiness’ it says in verse 23. By having pointed
out that the money had Caesar’s image on it, that proved that it was
his money and they were required to pay the tribute to the Romans.
And more importantly, they were required to render unto God the
things which be God’s.
J. Vernon McGee
had some good points about the tribute money question.
The question of the
Herodians was a loaded one designed to trap Jesus. Had He said
“Yes”—to pay tribute to Caesar, then He would have put Caesar ahead
of Moses and ahead of their Messiah. If He had said “No”—not to pay
tribute to Caesar, then He would have been subject to arrest by
The method Jesus
adopted in dealing with this question is a masterpiece. He asked for
the Roman denarius. Does this mean that Jesus did not have any
money? At least He made them produce the coin.
And he said
unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be
Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s [Luke 20:25].
They were using the
legal tender of the Roman Empire. Rome did provide certain
advantages and privileges. Rome maintained law and order by her
standards and provided protection. Rome made and maintained roads
and kept the sea lanes open. She had a universal currency system
which was an aid to business. The Jews owed Rome something for the
use of coins, roads, and law and order. Caesar had something coming
God had something
coming to Him also. He provided all the utilities: lights, air,
water, and the elements from which roads and coins are made. There
are two areas of life in which we have a responsibility. Man has
both an earthly and a heavenly obligation. He has both a physical
and a spiritual responsibility. Citizens of heaven pay taxes down
here. Pilgrims down here should deposit eternal wealth in heaven.
20:26 And they could not take hold of his words before the people:
and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.
Spoiled again in
their little trick, they could not take hold of his words before the
people. Even the religious leaders marvelled at his answer.
Answers the Sadducees about the Resurrection
20:27 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that
there is any resurrection; and they asked him,
20:28 Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother
die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother
should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
20:29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a
wife, and died without children.
20:30 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.
20:31 And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also:
and they left no children, and died.
20:32 Last of all the woman died also.
20:33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for
seven had her to wife.
Talk about a far
fetched question. This one must have taken them a while to come up
with. What made it so unbelievable was that it came from the
Sadducees who did not even believe in a resurrection. The come up
with a doctrinal question this time to try and confuse Jesus. The
two leading religious sects of this time period were the Pharisees
and the Sadducees. The Pharisees were a very self righteous people
who were the most orthodox. In other words they took the Word of
God as important and based most of their beliefs on those books of
the law. They believed in the resurrection, in angels, and in
spirits. The Sadducees didn’t believe in much of anything, and they
denied all three of these. So it is this group that comes with
this unusual question about the resurrection hoping to find
something in which they could betray Christ. They wanted to know if
seven brothers married the same woman after each of the prior
brother had died, and note had any children, whose wife would the
woman be in the next life… or in the resurrection. Jesus answers
them directly and from the Word of God.
20:34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this
world marry, and are given in marriage:
20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that
world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are
given in marriage:
20:36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the
angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the
20:37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush,
when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob.
20:38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all
live unto him.
that in the next life, there will not be marriage as we know it here
on earth. He explains how the dead will be raised and be equal
unto the angels in the resurrection. But God is not the God of the
dead, but of the living. And because of that, we all live unto
Questions the Scribes
20:39 Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast
20:40 And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.
While they may
not have truly believed him, the scribes said that Jesus had
answered the question well. And after that, they didn’t ask him
any more questions.
20:41 And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David's
20:42 And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said
unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
20:43 Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
20:44 David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?
20:45 Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his
20:46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes,
and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the
synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;
20:47 Which devour widows' houses, and for a show make long
prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.
They found that
it was impossible to answer the question Jesus puts forth. How
could Christ be a son of David, but yet David call Christ Lord?
The then taught them in whom they should fear. Fear those who love
to make greetings in the markets and sit in the highest seats of the
synagogues and the chief rooms at feasts. He was warning them about
the scribes and religious leaders who were appearing to be
religious, but in reality, far from God in their heart. God’s
desire now is for us to worship Him in Spirit and truth. That is
what Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well who questioned where
they should go to worship.
4:19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a
4:20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in
Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when
ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the
4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for
salvation is of the Jews.
4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father
seeketh such to worship him.
4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in
spirit and in truth.
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4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day.
e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will
McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file],
electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas
Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.