The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Luke 20

Luk 20:1

Vv 1-8: A practical example of Pro 26:4,5: "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes."

Christ was policing the Temple. A follow-up on the cleansing of the Temple (Mat 21:12-17; Mar 11:15-19; Luk 19:45-48).

Luk 20:2

BY WHAT AUTHORITY: Christ was not a Levite, a priest, nor in any way accredited by some rabbi. Wandering "holy men" were allowed to speak freely -- but not with voice of authority, in Temple, etc. (Three years before, Nicodemus had come to Jesus as a delegate of Sanhedrin: Joh 3. What had they done with his report?)

Luk 20:4

Of course, this WAS his answer: Jesus was accredited by John the Baptist. If they had tested John's claim (Deu 18:21,22), they would have been prepared to accept Jesus.

Luk 20:5

In their analysis, there was no thought for truth, only for personal convenience.

Luk 20:8

NEITHER WILL I TELL YOU...: The evidence was already there. Their reasoning and understanding was based on flesh and on their own personal preferences -- regardless of truth. They openly denied obvious truth: "By Beelzebub" (Mar 3:22,23,28).

Notice: they answer, "We don't know" -- which really means, "We won't tell you." Thus Jesus reciprocates in his answer: not "I don't know", but instead, "Neither will I tell you!"

Luk 20:9

Israel as the vineyard of Yahweh // Isa 5:1-7.

Luk 20:13

MY SON: Many servants, but only one son!

Luk 20:14

WHEN THE TENANTS SAW HIM...: "But they saw him [Joseph] in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him" (Gen 37:18).

THEY TALKED THE MATTER OVER: This was a deliberate, enlightened rejection.

AND THE INHERITANCE WILL BE OURS: Ct Psa 2:8: "Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession."

Luk 20:15

When we cast the "true vine" (John 15) out of our vineyard, we will have no fruit!

OUT OF THE VINEYARD: "Outside the camp" (Heb 13:10-14). Note order: (1) took out of camp; and then (2) killed.

Luk 20:16

HE: God working through men. This is the wrath of God for the rejection of His Son.

MAY THIS NEVER BE: Used 14 other times in the NT -- all in the epistles of Paul! Does this phrase, otherwise quite characteristic of Paul, suggest that he was among the Jews here, listening to Jesus?

Luk 20:17

THE STONE: Cited from Psa 118:22; cp Eph 2:20.

"Men were engaged in the building of a house for the accommodation of the government of a state. They had made their plans, and were gathering the material. Many were engaged in the work; but as was usual in the East, the master-builders alone knew the plans and others worked to their directions. In every worthwhile building, just above ground level at the principal comer, a special stone was placed. It was selected for its freedom from flaws, and was carefully prepared -- its sides being accurately squared. It was, more than any other stone in the building, a 'tried stone.' All other stones would be built in alignment with it. A stone was offered the master-builders about which exceptional claims were made. The stone was examined, but certain prejudices in the builders prevented them from discerning its qualities. They rejected it. But another Master-builder knew of the stone and its perfect suitability for a building he was erecting. He obtained the stone, and it was placed in a structure of unique characteristics. The building was erected in line with the stone, and men marvelled at the beauty and grace of the building" (PM 150,151).

Luk 20:18

Cp Mat 21:44n.

FALLS ON... BE BROKEN: Could mean: "fall on" as in seeking for aid, and "be broken" as being humbled and made subservient to Christ.

...WILL BE CRUSHED: Condemnation.

Luk 20:19

TO ARREST HIM IMMEDIATELY: Trying to fulfill prophecy (Mat 21:39; Mar 12:8; Luk 20:15), but time was not yet right.

The parables of Christ, when perceived, only brought their wickedness to the fore, and increased their hatred of him. They convicted themselves.

Luk 20:20

PRETENDED: But it did not fool Christ (v 23).

Luk 20:22

IS IT RIGHT TO PAY TAXES TO CAESAR OR NOT?: A "no" would brand Jesus as rebel. A "yes" would destroy his influence with many of the people.

Luk 20:24

WHOSE PORTRAIT AND INSCRIPTION?: Christ is the image of the invisible God (2Co 4:4; Col 1:15; Joh 1:14).

Luk 20:25

See Ecc 12:13: "the whole duty of man".

CAESAR... GOD: Modern governments confuse the two, putting on their money: "In God we trust". Political considerations should play no part in the gospel.

GIVE: Or "give back". The coin belonged to Caesar in the first place. Cp attitudes to riches: the extortioner (Mar 12:40,41) and the poor widow (Mar 12:42).

"This basic principle pervades NT teaching. We must be sure that we stay within the confines of the law of the land and give honour to rulers. It is God's wish that we do this: Rom 13:6,7; 1Pe 2:13-17. On the other hand, if the law of the land denied worship, Peter was quick to put his faith on the line: Acts 4:19,20,29" (PC).

Luk 20:27

SADDUCEES: Who accepted only first five books, authority of Moses, but not the prophets (Elp 233).

Luk 20:35

IN THE RESURRECTION: "On the strength of this, it is contended that the unworthy will not come out of the grave at the time the worthy come forth to obtain the world. The argument is based on a misconstruction of the verse. The resurrection from the dead is something more than the act of rising from the grave. Resurrection involves the act of rising from the dust, but comprehends more than this in many parts of the NT. For instance, the Sadducees asked Jesus, IN THE RESURRECTION, whose wife shall she be (Mat 22:28,) that is, in the state to which the dead shall rise. How would the question read if construed, whose wife shall she be in the act of rising from the grave? Again, IN THE RESURRECTION, they neither marry nor are given in marriage (Mat 22:30,) that is, in the state to which the dead rise. Again, they that have done good (shall come forth) to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation; that is, one class come out of the grave to one resurrection-state, and the other to another resurrection-state. It is testified that Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection (Act 17:18). This could not mean that Paul simply preached the act of rising from the grave. The mere act of rising from the grave is not necessarily a good thing. Lazarus and the son of the widow of Nain rose from the grave, but not to the resurrection (state) preached by Paul. They merely received a renewal of mortal life. The wicked of a certain class will rise from the grave, but the act of rising will not be to them a gladsome event, but the contrary; they would prefer to be left in the oblivion of the tomb. Everything depends upon THE STATE to which the rising from the grave is the introduction. Paul preached the resurrection-state of incorruption and immortality. To this state, the dead have to rise. The mere act of rising is not the resurrection. It is involved in it; it is a part, but as employed in the Scriptures, it requires the state after coming out of the grave to be added, before the idea expressed by the word resurrection is complete" (Xdm Ast).

Luk 20:36

A popular false doctrine of the times: cp Lesson, Enoch, Book of. Angels cannot die, since they do not sin (Rom 6:23).

Luk 20:37

THE GOD OF ABRAHAM...: "Though he were dead, yet shall he live" (Joh 11:25).

Luk 20:38

For God to be known through the ages as the "God" of three eternally dead men would be a mockery of His power.

Luk 20:40

AND NO ONE DARED TO ASK HIM ANY MORE QUESTIONS: This marks the end of the "examination" of Jesus during the four days that the Passover lamb was kept up -- from the 10th to the 14th of the month. It is recorded in both other accounts: Mat 22:46; Mark 12:34; Luke 20:40.

Luk 20:46

There are many kind of "robes" in the Bible, because men may play many roles, and -- to some degree -- it is true that "the clothes make the man". For example, there is the long, flowing robe of pretension (Luk 20:46); the torn robe of sorrow (Job 1:20); the scarlet robe of mock kingship (Mat 27:28); the best robe of righteousness (Luk 15:22); and the white robe of the redeemed (Rev 7:9). We do well to ask ourselves periodically: which robe or robes are we wearing now?

Luk 20:47

THEY DEVOUR WIDOWS' HOUSES: "There is a conspiracy of her princes within her... they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her" (Eze 22:25).

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