Luke 20

Jesus’ Authority Challenged

1 And it happened that on one of the days [while] he was teaching the people in the temple [courts] and proclaiming the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes approached together with the elders
2 and said, saying to him, "Tell us, by what authority you are doing these [things], or who is the one who gave you this authority?
3 And he answered [and] said to them, "I also will ask you a question, and you tell me:
4 The baptism of John--was [it] from heaven or from men?
5 And they discussed [this] with one another, saying, "If we say 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why did you not believe him?'
6 But if we say, 'From men,' all the people will stone us to death, because they are convinced [that] John was a prophet."
7 And they replied [that they] did not know where [it was] from.
8 And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these [things]."

The Parable of the Tenant Farmers in the Vineyard

9 And he began to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenant farmers, and went on a journey for a long time.
10 And at the proper time he sent a slave to the tenant farmers, so that they would give him [some] of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenant farmers sent him away empty-handed [after] beating [him].
11 And he proceeded to send another slave, but they beat and dishonored that one also, [and] sent [him] away empty-handed.
12 And he proceeded to send a third, but they wounded [and] threw out this one also.
13 So the owner of the vineyard said, 'What should I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.'
14 But [when] the tenant farmers saw him, they began to reason with one another, saying, 'This is the heir. Let us kill him so that the inheritance will become ours!'
15 And they threw him out of the vineyard [and] killed [him]. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?
16 He will come and destroy those tenant farmers and give the vineyard to others." And [when they] heard [this], they said, "[May this] never happen!"
17 But he looked intently at them [and] said, "What then is this that is written: 'The stone which the builders rejected, this has become {the cornerstone}.'
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and [the one] on whom it falls--it will crush him!"
19 And the scribes and the chief priests sought to lay [their] hands on him at [that] same hour, and they were afraid of the people, for they knew that he had told this parable with reference to them.

Paying Taxes to Caesar

20 And they watched [him] closely [and] sent spies who pretended they were upright, in order that they could catch him in a statement, so that they could hand him over to the authority and the jurisdiction of the governor.
21 And they asked him, saying, "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and do not {show partiality}, but teach the way of God in truth.
22 Is it permitted [for] us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
23 But seeing through their craftiness, he said to them,
24 "Show me a denarius! Whose image and inscription does it have?" And they answered [and] said, "Caesar's."
25 So he said to them, "Well then, give to Caesar the things of Caesar, and to God the things of God!"
26 And they were not able to catch [him] in a statement in the sight of the people, and astonished at his answer, they became silent.

A Question About Marriage and the Resurrection

27 Now some of the Sadducees--who deny {that there is a resurrection}--came up [and] asked him,
28 saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us if someone's brother dies having a wife, and this man is childless, that his brother should take the wife and {father} descendants for his brother.
29 Now there were seven brothers, and the first took a wife [and] died childless,
30 and the second,
31 and the third took her, and likewise also the seven did not leave children and died.
32 Finally the woman also died.
33 Therefore in the resurrection, the woman--whose wife will she be? For the seven had her [as] wife."
34 And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,
35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and [to] the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
36 for they are not even able to die any longer, because they are like the angels and are sons of God, [because they] are sons of the resurrection.
37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses revealed in [the passage about] the bush, when he calls the 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 live to him!"
39 And some of the scribes answered [and] said, "Teacher, you have spoken well."
40 For they no longer dared to ask him anything.

David’s Son and Lord

41 But he said to them, "In what sense do they say [that] the Christ is David's son?
42 For David himself says in the book of Psalms, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand,
43 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." '
44 David therefore calls him 'Lord,' and how is he his son?"

Warning to Beware of the Scribes

45 And [while] all the people were listening, he said to the disciples,
46 "Beware of the scribes, who like walking around in long robes and who love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets,
47 who devour the houses of widows and pray lengthy [prayers] for the sake of appearance. These will receive more severe 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.

Footnotes 36

  • [a]. *Here "[while]" is supplied as a component of the temporal genitive absolute participle ("was teaching")
  • [b]. *Here "[courts]" is supplied to distinguish this area from the interior of the temple building itself
  • [c]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("answered") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [d]. *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  • [e]. Some manuscripts have "A certain man"
  • [f]. *Here "[after]" is supplied as a component of the participle ("beating") which is understood as temporal
  • [g]. *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  • [h]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the two previous participles ("beat" and "dishonored") have been translated as finite verbs
  • [i]. *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  • [j]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("wounded") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [k]. *Here "[when]" is supplied as a component of the participle ("saw") which is understood as temporal
  • [l]. *The imperfect tense has been translated as ingressive here ("began to reason")
  • [m]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("threw") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [n]. *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  • [o]. *Here "[when]" is supplied as a component of the participle ("heard") which is understood as temporal
  • [p]. *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  • [q]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("looked intently at") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [r]. *Literally "the"; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  • [s]. *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  • [t]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("watched closely") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [u]. Literally "receive face"
  • [v]. Or "the tribute tax"
  • [w]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("answered") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [x]. Some manuscripts have "And they said"
  • [y]. *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  • [z]. Some manuscripts explicitly state "him"
  • [aa]. Literally "resurrection not to exist"
  • [ab]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("came up") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [ac]. Literally "raise up"
  • [ad]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("took") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [ae]. *Here "[because]" is supplied as a component of the participle ("are") which is understood as causal
  • [af]. *The words "[the passage about]" are not in the Greek text but are implied; here a common form of rabbinic citation is being used to refer to an Old Testament passage
  • [ag]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("answered") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [ah]. A quotation from Ps 110:1
  • [ai]. *Here "[while]" is supplied as a component of the temporal genitive absolute participle ("were listening")
  • [aj]. Some manuscripts have "to his disciples"

Luke 20 Commentaries