Luke 20

Listen to Luke 20

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

1 1One day, 2as Jesus[a] was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, 3the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up
2 and said to him, "Tell us 4by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority."
3 He answered them, "I also will ask you a question. Now tell me,
4 was the baptism of John 5from heaven or from man?"
5 And they discussed it with one another, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 6'Why did you not believe him?'
6 But if we say, 'From man,' all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was 7a prophet."
7 So they answered that they did not know where it came from.
8 And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

9 8And he began to tell the people this parable: "A man planted 9a vineyard and 10let it out to tenants and 11went into another country for a long while.
10 When the time came, he sent a servant[b] to the tenants, so that 12they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. 13But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
11 14And 15he sent another servant. But they also beat and 16treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.
12 17And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out.
13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my 18beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.'
14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, 19'This is the heir. 20Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.'
15 And they 21threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?
16 22He will 23come and destroy those tenants and 24give the vineyard to others." When they heard this, they said, "Surely not!"
17 But he 25looked directly at them and said, "What then is this that is written: 26"'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'?[c]
18 27Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls 28on anyone, it will crush him."

Paying Taxes to Caesar

19 29The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people.
20 30So they 31watched him and sent spies, who 32pretended to be sincere, that they might 33catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of 34the governor.
21 So they asked him, "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and 35show no partiality,[d] but truly teach 36the way of God.
22 Is it lawful for us to give 37tribute to 38Caesar, or not?"
23 But he perceived their 39craftiness, and said to them,
24 "Show me 40a denarius.[e] Whose likeness and inscription does it have?" They said, "Caesar's."
25 He said to them, "Then 41render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
26 And they were not able in the presence of the people 42to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection

27 There came to him 43some Sadducees, 44those who deny that there is a resurrection,
28 and they asked him a question, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us 45that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man[f] must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.
29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children.
30 And the second
31 and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died.
32 Afterward the woman also died.
33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife."
34 And Jesus said to them, 46"The sons of this age 47marry and 48are given in marriage,
35 but those who are 49considered worthy to attain to 50that age and to the resurrection from the dead 51neither marry 52nor are given in marriage,
36 for 53they cannot die anymore, because they are 54equal to angels and 55are 56sons of God, being 57sons[g] of the resurrection.
37 But that the dead are raised, 58even Moses showed, in 59the passage about the bush, where he calls 60the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.
38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all 61live to him."
39 Then some of the scribes 62answered, "Teacher, you have spoken well."
40 For 63they no longer dared to ask him any question.

Whose Son Is the Christ?

41 64But he said to them, "How can they say that 65the Christ is 66David's son?
42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, 67"'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand,
43 until I make your enemies 68your footstool.'
44 David thus calls him Lord, so 69how is he his son?"

Beware of the Scribes

45 70And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples,
46 "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and 71the places of honor at feasts,
47 72who devour widows' houses and 73for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."

Luke 20 Commentary

Chapter 20

The priests and scribes question Christ's authority. (1-8) The parable of the vineyard and husbandmen. (9-19) Of giving tribute. (20-26) Concerning the resurrection. (27-38) The scribes silenced. (39-47)

Verses 1-8 Men often pretend to examine the evidences of revelation, and the truth of the gospel, when only seeking excuses for their own unbelief and disobedience. Christ answered these priests and scribes with a plain question about the baptism of John, which the common people could answer. They all knew it was from heaven, nothing in it had an earthly tendency. Those that bury the knowledge they have, are justly denied further knowledge. It was just with Christ to refuse to give account of his authority, to those who knew the baptism of John to be from heaven, yet would not believe in him, nor own their knowledge.

Verses 9-19 Christ spake this parable against those who resolved not to own his authority, though the evidence of it was so full. How many resemble the Jews who murdered the prophets and crucified Christ, in their enmity to God, and aversion to his service, desiring to live according to their lusts, without control! Let all who are favoured with God's word, look to it that they make proper use of their advantages. Awful will be the doom, both of those who reject the Son, and of those who profess to reverence Him, yet render not the fruits in due season. Though they could not but own that for such a sin, such a punishment was just, yet they could not bear to hear of it. It is the folly of sinners, that they persevere in sinful ways, though they dread the destruction at the end of those ways.

Verses 20-26 Those who are most crafty in their designs against Christ and his gospel, cannot hide them. He did not give a direct answer, but reproved them for offering to impose upon him; and they could not fasten upon any thing wherewith to stir up either the governor or the people against him. The wisdom which is from above, will direct all who teach the way of God truly, to avoid the snares laid for them by wicked men; and will teach our duty to God, to our rulers, and to all men, so clearly, that opposers will have no evil to say of us.

Verses 27-38 It is common for those who design to undermine any truth of God, to load it with difficulties. But we wrong ourselves, and wrong the truth of Christ, when we form our notions of the world of spirits by this world of sense. There are more worlds than one; a present visible world, and a future unseen world; and let every one compare this world and that world, and give the preference in his thoughts and cares to that which deserves them. Believers shall obtain the resurrection from the dead, that is the blessed resurrection. What shall be the happy state of the inhabitants of that world, we cannot express or conceive, ( 1 Corinthians. 2:9 ) are entirely taken up therewith; when there is perfection of holiness there will be no occasion for preservatives from sin. And when God called himself the God of these patriarchs, he meant that he was a God all-sufficient to them, ( Genesis 17:1 ) , their exceeding great Reward, ( Genesis 15:1 ) . He never did that for them in this world, which answered the full extent of his undertaking; therefore there must be another life, in which he will do that for them, which will completely fulfil the promise.

Verses 39-47 The scribes commended the reply Christ made to the Sadducees about the resurrection, but they were silenced by a question concerning the Messiah. Christ, as God, was David's Lord; but Christ, as man, was David's son. The scribes would receive the severest judgement for defrauding the poor widows, and for their abuse of religion, particularly of prayer, which they used as a pretence for carrying on worldly and wicked plans. Dissembled piety is double sin. Then let us beg of God to keep us from pride, ambition, covetousness, and every evil thing; and to teach us to seek that honour which comes from him alone.

Cross References 73

  • 1. For ver. 1-8, see Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33
  • 2. Luke 19:47
  • 3. Acts 4:1; Acts 6:12
  • 4. [Exodus 2:14; John 1:25; Acts 4:7]
  • 5. Luke 15:18, 21; John 3:27
  • 6. Luke 7:30; Matthew 21:32
  • 7. [John 5:35]; See Matthew 11:9
  • 8. For ver. 9-19, see Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12
  • 9. Psalms 80:8; Isaiah 5:1; Matthew 21:28
  • 10. Song of Songs 8:11, 12
  • 11. Matthew 25:14, 15; [Mark 13:34]
  • 12. [See ver. 9 above]
  • 13. Matthew 5:12; Matthew 22:6; Matthew 23:34, 37; [2 Chronicles 24:19; 2 Chronicles 36:15, 16; Nehemiah 9:26; Jeremiah 37:15; Jeremiah 38:6; Acts 7:52; 2 Corinthians 11:24-26; 1 Thessalonians 2:15; Hebrews 11:36, 37]
  • 14. Matthew 22:4
  • 15. [See ver. 10 above]
  • 16. Acts 5:41(Gk.)
  • 17. [See ver. 10 above]
  • 18. See Matthew 3:17
  • 19. Hebrews 1:2; [John 1:11; Romans 8:17]
  • 20. [1 Kings 21:19]
  • 21. Hebrews 13:12
  • 22. [Luke 19:27]
  • 23. [Matthew 24:50; Matthew 25:19]
  • 24. Matthew 21:43; Acts 13:46; Acts 18:6; Acts 28:28; [Matthew 8:11, 12]
  • 25. See Mark 10:21
  • 26. Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7; Cited from Psalms 118:22
  • 27. Isaiah 8:14, 15; Romans 9:32, 33; 1 Peter 2:8
  • 28. Dan. 2:34, 35, 44, 45
  • 29. Luke 19:47, 48
  • 30. For ver. 20-38, see Matthew 22:15-32; Mark 12:13-27
  • 31. Luke 14:1; Mark 3:2
  • 32. [1 Kings 14:6]
  • 33. ver. 26; Luke 11:54
  • 34. Matthew 27:2, 11; Matthew 28:14; See Acts 23:24
  • 35. See Acts 10:34
  • 36. Acts 18:25, 26; [Acts 13:10]
  • 37. Matthew 17:25
  • 38. Luke 2:1; Luke 3:1
  • 39. 1 Corinthians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 4:14; [2 Corinthians 12:16]
  • 40. See Matthew 18:28
  • 41. Romans 13:7
  • 42. ver. 20
  • 43. Matthew 3:7; Matthew 16:1; Matthew 22:34; Acts 4:1; Acts 5:17; Acts 23:6
  • 44. Acts 23:8; [Acts 4:2]
  • 45. [Deuteronomy 25:5]
  • 46. Luke 16:8; See Luke 10:6
  • 47. Luke 17:27; Matthew 24:38; [ver. 35]
  • 48. Luke 17:27; Matthew 24:38; [ver. 35]
  • 49. Acts 5:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:5, 11; See Matthew 22:8
  • 50. [Luke 18:30]; See Mark 10:30
  • 51. [ver. 34]
  • 52. [ver. 34]
  • 53. 1 Corinthians 15:54, 55; Revelation 21:4
  • 54. [Hebrews 2:7, 9]
  • 55. [Genesis 1:26; Psalms 82:6]
  • 56. [Romans 8:19, 23; 1 Corinthians 15:52]
  • 57. See Luke 10:6
  • 58. ver. 28
  • 59. Ex. 3:1 - 4:17
  • 60. Acts 7:32; Cited from Exodus 3:15; [Exodus 3:6]
  • 61. Romans 6:11; Romans 14:7, 8; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:10; 1 Peter 4:2; [Hebrews 9:14]
  • 62. Mark 12:28; [Matthew 22:34]
  • 63. Matthew 22:46; Mark 12:34
  • 64. For ver. 41-44, see Matthew 22:41-45; Mark 12:35-37
  • 65. See Matthew 1:1, 17
  • 66. See Matthew 1:1, 17
  • 67. Acts 2:34, 35; Hebrews 1:13; Cited from Psalms 110:1; [1 Corinthians 15:25; Hebrews 10:13]
  • 68. [Acts 7:49]
  • 69. [Romans 1:3, 4]
  • 70. For ver. 45, 46, see Matthew 23:1, 2, 5-7; Mark 12:38, 39; [Luke 11:43]
  • 71. Luke 14:7, 8
  • 72. [Luke 11:39; Luke 16:14]
  • 73. [Matthew 6:5, 7]

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Greek he
  • [b]. Greek bondservant; also verse 11
  • [c]. Greek the head of the corner
  • [d]. Greek and do not receive a face
  • [e]. A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer
  • [f]. Greek his brother
  • [g]. Greek huioi; see preface

Luke 20 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.