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CHAPTER 20

Lu 20:1-19. The Authority of Jesus Questioned, and His ReplyParable of the Wicked Husbandmen.

(See on Mt 21:23.)

2. these things—particularly the clearing of the temple.

4. baptism of John—his whole ministry and mission, of which baptism was the seal.

5. Why then believed ye him not?—that is, in his testimony to Jesus, the sum of his whole witness.

7. could not tell—crooked, cringing hypocrites! No wonder Jesus gave you no answer (Mt 7:6). But what dignity and composure does our Lord display as He turns their question upon themselves!

9-13. vineyard—(See on Lu 13:6). In Mt 21:33 additional points are given, taken literally from Isa 5:2, to fix down the application and sustain it by Old Testament authority.

husbandmen—the ordinary spiritual guides of the people, under whose care and culture the fruits of righteousness might be yielded.

went, &c.—leaving it to the laws of the spiritual husbandry during the whole length of the Jewish economy. (See on Mr 4:26.)

10. beat, &c.—(Mt 21:35); that is, the prophets, extraordinary messengers raised up from time to time. (See on Mt 23:37.)

13. my beloved son—Mark (Mr 12:6) still more affectingly, "Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved"; our Lord thus severing Himself from all merely human messengers, and claiming Sonship in its loftiest sense. (Compare Heb 3:3-6.)

it may be—"surely"; implying the almost unimaginable guilt of not doing so.

14. reasoned among themselves—(Compare Ge 37:18-20; Joh 11:47-53).

the heir—sublime expression of the great truth, that God's inheritance was destined for, and in due time to come into the possession of, His Son in our nature (Heb 1:2).

inheritance … ours—and so from mere servants we may become lords; the deep aim of the depraved heart, and literally "the root of all evil."

15. cast him out of the vineyard—(Compare Heb 13:11-13; 1Ki 21:13; Joh 19:17).

16. He shall come, &c.—This answer was given by the Pharisees themselves (Mt 21:41), thus pronouncing their own righteous doom. Matthew alone (Mt 21:43) gives the naked application, that "the kingdom of God should be taken from them, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof"—the great evangelical community of the faithful, chiefly Gentiles.

God forbid—His whole meaning now bursting upon them.

17-19. written—(in Ps 118:22, 23. See on Lu 19:38). The Kingdom of God is here a Temple, in the erection of which a certain stone, rejected as unsuitable by the spiritual builders, is, by the great Lord of the House, made the keystone of the whole. On that Stone the builders were now "falling" and being "broken" (Isa 8:15), "sustaining great spiritual hurt; but soon that Stone should fall upon them and grind them to powder" (Da 2:34, 35; Zec 12:3)—in their corporate capacity in the tremendous destruction of Jerusalem, but personally, as unbelievers, in a more awful sense still.

19. the same hour—hardly able to restrain their rage.

Lu 20:20-40. Entangling Questions about Tribute and the ResurrectionThe Replies.

20-26. sent forth—after consulting (Mt 22:15) on the best plan.

spies—"of the Pharisees and Herodians" (Mr 12:13). See Mr 3:6.

21. we know, &c.—hoping by flattery to throw Him off His guard.

22. tribute—(See on Mt 17:24).

25. things which be Cæsar's—Putting it in this general form, it was impossible for sedition itself to dispute it, and yet it dissolved the snare.

and unto God—How much there is in this profound but to them startling addition to the maxim, and how incomparable is the whole for fulness, brevity, clearness, weight!

27-34. no resurrection—"nor angel nor spirit" (Ac 23:8); the materialists of the day.

34. said unto them—In Mt 22:29, the reply begins with this important statement:—"Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures," regarding the future state, "nor the power of God," before which a thousand such difficulties vanish (also Mr 12:24).

36. neither … die any more—Marriage is ordained to perpetuate the human family; but as there will be no breaches by death in the future state, this ordinance will cease.

equal—or "like."

unto the angels—that is, in the immortality of their nature.

children of God—not in respect of character but nature; "being the children of the resurrection" to an undecaying existence (Ro 8:21, 23). And thus the children of their Father's immortality (1Ti 6:16).

37, 38. even Moses—whom they had just quoted to entangle Him.

38. not … of the dead, … for all, &c.—To God, no human being is dead, or ever will be; but all sustain an abiding conscious relation to Him. But the "all" here meant "those who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world." These sustain a gracious covenant relation to God, which cannot be dissolved. In this sense our Lord affirms that for Moses to call the Lord the "God" of His patriarchal servants if at that moment they had no existence, would be unworthy of Him. He "would be ashamed to be called their God, if He had not prepared for them a city" (Heb 11:16). How precious are these glimpses of the resurrection state!

39. scribes … well said—enjoying His victory over the Sadducees.

they durst not—neither party, both for the time utterly foiled.

Lu 20:41-47. Christ Baffles the Pharisees by a Question about David and Messiah, and Denounces the Scribes.

41. said, &c.—"What think ye of Christ [the promised and expected Messiah]? Whose son is He [to be]? They say unto Him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit [by the Holy Ghost, Mr 12:36] call Him Lord?" (Mt 22:42, 43). The difficulty can only be solved by the higher and lower—the divine and human natures of our Lord (Mt 1:23). Mark the testimony here given to the inspiration of the Old Testament (compare Lu 24:44).

46, 47. Beware, &c.—(See on Mt 23:5; and Lu 14:7).

47. devour, &c.—taking advantage of their helpless condition and confiding character, to obtain possession of their property, while by their "long prayers" they made them believe they were raised far above "filthy lucre." So much "the greater damnation" awaits them. What a lifelike description of the Romish clergy, the true successors of "the scribes!"

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