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The Authority of Jesus Questioned

20

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 2and said to him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?” 3He answered them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell me: 4Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” 5They discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ 6But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7So they answered that they did not know where it came from. 8Then Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

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. 10When 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. 11Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. 12And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. 13Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14But 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.’ 15So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Heaven forbid!” 17But 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.” 19When 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.

The Question about Paying Taxes

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. 21So 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. 22Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 23But 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.” 25He said to them, “Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26And 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.

The Question about the Resurrection

27 Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him 28and 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. 29Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; 30then the second 31and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. 32Finally the woman also died. 33In 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; 35but 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. 36Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. 37And 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. 38Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.” 39Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40For they no longer dared to ask him another question.

The Question about David’s Son

41 Then he said to them, “How can they say that the Messiah is David’s son? 42For 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?”

Jesus Denounces the Scribes

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. 47They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”


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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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