Luke 20

1 One day when Jesus was in the Temple teaching the people and preaching the Good News, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law, together with the elders, came
2 and said to him, "Tell us, what right do you have to do these things? Who gave you such right?"
3 Jesus answered them, "Now let me ask you a question. Tell me,
4 did John's right to baptize come from God or from human beings?"
5 They started to argue among themselves, "What shall we say? If we say, "From God,' he will say, "Why, then, did you not believe John?'
6 But if we say, "From human beings,' this whole crowd here will stone us, because they are convinced that John was a prophet."
7 So they answered, "We don't know where it came from."
8 And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you, then, by what right I do these things."
9 Then Jesus told the people this parable: "There was once a man who planted a vineyard, rented it out to tenants, and then left home for a long time. 1
10 When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent a slave to the tenants to receive from them his share of the harvest. But the tenants beat the slave and sent him back without a thing.
11 So he sent another slave; but the tenants beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him back without a thing.
12 Then he sent a third slave; the tenants wounded him, too, and threw him out.
13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, "What shall I do? I will send my own dear son; surely they will respect him!'
14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to one another, "This is the owner's son. Let's kill him, and his property will be ours!'
15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. "What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to the tenants?" Jesus asked.
16 "He will come and kill those men, and turn the vineyard over to other tenants." When the people heard this, they said, "Surely not!"
17 Jesus looked at them and asked, "What, then, does this scripture mean? 2 "The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all.'
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be cut to pieces; and if that stone falls on someone, that person will be crushed to dust."
19 The teachers of the Law and the chief priests tried to arrest Jesus on the spot, because they knew that he had told this parable against them; but they were afraid of the people.
20 So they looked for an opportunity. They bribed some men to pretend they were sincere, and they sent them to trap Jesus with questions, so that they could hand him over to the authority and power of the Roman Governor.
21 These spies said to Jesus, "Teacher, we know that what you say and teach is right. We know that you pay no attention to anyone's status, but teach the truth about God's will for people.
22 Tell us, is it against our Law for us to pay taxes to the Roman Emperor, or not?"
23 But Jesus saw through their trick and said to them,
24 "Show me a silver coin. Whose face and name are these on it?" "The Emperor's," they answered.
25 So Jesus said, "Well, then, pay to the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay to God what belongs to God."
26 There before the people they could not catch him in a thing, so they kept quiet, amazed at his answer.
27 Then some Sadducees, who say that people will not rise from death, came to Jesus and said, 3
28 "Teacher, Moses wrote this law for us: "If a man dies and leaves a wife but no children, that man's brother must marry the widow so that they can have children who will be considered the dead man's children.' 4
29 Once there were seven brothers; the oldest got married and died without having children.
30 Then the second one married the woman,
31 and then the third. The same thing happened to all seven - they died without having children.
32 Last of all, the woman died.
33 Now, on the day when the dead rise to life, whose wife will she be? All seven of them had married her."
34 Jesus answered them, "The men and women of this age marry,
35 but the men and women who are worthy to rise from death and live in the age to come will not then marry.
36 They will be like angels and cannot die. They are the children of God, because they have risen from death.
37 And Moses clearly proves that the dead are raised to life. In the passage about the burning bush he speaks of the Lord as "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' 5
38 He is the God of the living, not of the dead, for to him all are alive."
39 Some of the teachers of the Law spoke up, "A good answer, Teacher!"
40 For they did not dare ask him any more questions.
41 Jesus asked them, "How can it be said that the Messiah will be the descendant of David?
42 For David himself says in the book of Psalms, 6 "The Lord said to my Lord: Sit here at my right side
43 until I put your enemies as a footstool under your feet.'
44 David called him "Lord'; how, then, can the Messiah be David's descendant?"
45 As all the people listened to him, Jesus said to his disciples,
46 "Be on your guard against the teachers of the Law, who like to walk around in their long robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplace; who choose the reserved seats in the synagogues and the best places at feasts;
47 who take advantage of widows and rob them of their homes, and then make a show of saying long prayers! Their punishment will be all the worse!"

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 6

  • 1. 20.9Isaiah 5.1.
  • 2. 20.17Psalms 118.22.
  • 3. 20.27Acts 23.8.
  • 4. 20.28Deuteronomy 25.5.
  • 5. 20.37Exodus 3.6.
  • 6. 20.42, 43Psalms 110.1.

Luke 20 Commentaries

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation - Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.