Luke 20

1 Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him
2 and spoke to Him, saying, "Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?"
3 But He answered and said to them, "I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me:
4 The baptism of John--was it from heaven or from men?"
5 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say, 'Why then did you not believe him?'
6 But if we say, 'From men,' all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet."
7 So they answered that they did not know where it was from.
8 And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."
9 Then He began to tell the people this parable: "A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time.
10 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
11 Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.
12 And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.
13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.'
14 But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.'
15 So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them?
16 He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others." And when they heard it they said, "Certainly not!"
17 Then He looked at them and said, "What then is this that is written: 'The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone'?
18 "Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder."
19 And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people--for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.
20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.
21 Then they asked Him, saying, "Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth:
22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, "Why do you test Me?
24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?" They answered and said, "Caesar's."
25 And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.
27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him,
28 saying: "Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.
29 Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children.
30 And the second took her as wife, and he died childless.
31 Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died.
32 Last of all the woman died also.
33 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife."
34 And Jesus answered and said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.
35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord 'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'
38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him."
39 Then some of the scribes answered and said, "Teacher, You have spoken well."
40 But after that they dared not question Him anymore.
41 And He said to them, "How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David?
42 Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand,
43 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." '
44 "Therefore David calls Him 'Lord'; how is He then his Son?"
45 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples,
46 "Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts,
47 who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive 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.

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. NU-Text and M-Text omit then.
  • [b]. Psalm 118:22
  • [c]. NU-Text omits Why do you test Me?
  • [d]. NU-Text ends Luke 20:30 here.
  • [e]. NU-Text and M-Text read the seven also left no children.
  • [f]. Exodus 3:6, 15
  • [g]. Psalm 110:1

Luke 20 Commentaries