Luke 20

1 One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up
2 and said to him, "Tell us by 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 from heaven or from men?"
5 And 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, 'From men,' all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet."
7 So they answered that they did not know whence it was.
8 And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."
9 And he began to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country for a long while.
10 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, that they should give him some of the fruit of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.
11 And he sent another servant; him also they beat and treated shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.
12 And he sent yet a third; this one they wounded and cast out.
13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it may be they will respect him.'
14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir; let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.'
15 And they cast 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, "God forbid!"
17 But he looked at them and said, "What then is this that is written: 'The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner'?
18 Every one who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but when it falls on any one it will crush him."
19 The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people; for they perceived that he had told this parable against them.
20 So they watched him, and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might take hold of what he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor.
21 They asked him, "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God.
22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?"
23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them,
24 "Show me a coin. Whose likeness and inscription has it?" They said, "Caesar's."
25 He said to them, "Then render 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 to catch him by what he said; but marveling at his answer they were silent.
27 There came to him some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection,
28 and they asked him a question, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children 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, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage;
35 but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
36 for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where 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, "Teacher, you have spoken well."
40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.
41 But he said to them, "How can 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 till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.'
44 David thus calls him Lord; so how is he his son?"
45 And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples,
46 "Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and love salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,
47 who devour widows' houses and for 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.

Luke 20 Commentaries