Luke 20

1 One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders
2 and said to him, "Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?"
3 He answered them, "I will also ask you a question, and you tell me:
4 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?"
5 They discussed it with one another, saying, "If we say, "From heaven,' he will say, "Why did you not believe him?'
6 But if we say, "Of human origin,' all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet."
7 So they answered that they did not know where it came from.
8 Then Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."
9 He began to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time.
10 When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
11 Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed.
12 And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out.
13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, "What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.'
14 But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, "This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.'
15 So 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 tenants and give the vineyard to others." When they heard this, they said, "Heaven forbid!"
17 But he looked at them and said, "What then does this text mean: "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'?
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls."
19 When the scribes and chief priests realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.
20 So they watched him and sent spies who pretended to be honest, in order to trap him by what he said, so as to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor.
21 So they asked him, "Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth.
22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?"
23 But he perceived their craftiness and said to them,
24 "Show me a denarius. Whose head and whose title does it bear?" They said, "The emperor's."
25 He said to them, "Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's."
26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to trap him by what he said; and being amazed by his answer, they became silent.
27 Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him
28 and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.
29 Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless;
30 then the second
31 and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless.
32 Finally the woman also died.
33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her."
34 Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage;
35 but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.
36 Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.
37 And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
38 Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive."
39 Then some of the scribes answered, "Teacher, you have spoken well."
40 For they no longer dared to ask him another question.
41 Then he said to them, "How can they say that the Messiah 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 your footstool." '
44 David thus calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?"
45 In the hearing of all the people he said to the disciples,
46 "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets.
47 They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say 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.

Footnotes 4

Luke 20 Commentaries