Luke 20:1-26 … GROWING OPPOSITION TO THE CLAIMS OF JESUS.
Q.1. How did Jesus outwit the religious leaders? Why didn’t He give them a direct answer? – (Lk.20:1-8) =
Q.2. What message did the parable of Jesus imply to His hearers? What does Jesus prophecy about the future? – (Lk.20:9-18) =
Q.3. How did the religious leaders try to trap Jesus? What does the incident teach us about our responsibilities to God and the authorities? – (Lk.20:19-26) =
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
20 One day, as Jesus[a] 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 man?” 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 man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know where it came from. 8 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
The Parable of the Wicked Tenants
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[b] to the tenants, so that they would 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. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast 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 said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 And 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, “Surely not!” 17 But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?[c]
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
Paying Taxes to Caesar
19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality,[d] 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 denarius.[e] Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” 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 in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.
Q.1. How did Jesus outwit the religious leaders? Why didn’t He give them a direct answer? – (Lk.20:1-8) = Once again the Scribes and Pharisees challenged the authority of Jesus. He knew that John’s call to repent and be baptised had been widely accepted by the people, but rejected by the leaders. He used this knowledge to expose their hypocrisy. He asked a simple question: Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? (Lk.20:4). A response either way would have them in trouble. They were caught out, so refused to answer Christ’s question (Lk.20:5-7). The source of His authority was obvious (Lk.20:8).
Q.2. What message did this parable of Jesus imply to His hearers? What did Jesus prophecy about the future? – (Lk.20:9-18) = This parable of Jesus revealed the brilliance and insight you would expect from God alone. (c.f. Lk.20:2 & 8). In the story, He alluded to the shameful way the nation of Israel had treated God’s servants (Lk.20:9-12). God’s answer to the rejection of His servants was to send His beloved Son (Lk.20:13). Jesus predicted their response in the allegory – This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours. So, they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him … (Lk.20:14-15). He gave a clear prediction about Himself, by quoting a well-known Psalm about the Messiah. He warned them – 17 … “What then is this that is written: `The stone which the builders rejected this became the chief corner stone’? 18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” (Lk.20:17-18 c.f. Ps.118:22 & 23). Jesus knew what was to happen to Him, because of what had been written in the Scriptures.
Q.3. How did the religious leaders try to trap Jesus? What does the incident teach us about our responsibilities to God and the authorities? – (Lk.20:19-26) = The leaders understood that the rebellious vine-growers in the story represented Israel. They knew this story applied to them – 19 … for they understood that He spoke this parable against them. 20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some statement, so that they could deliver Him to the rule and the authority of the governor (Lk.20:19-20 c.f. Is. 5:1-7). The stage was set for a contest. They had to gain evidence of Christ’s opposition to Caesar, even though they hated everything for which Rome stood. They approached Jesus with flattery and a trick question – Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? (Lk.20:22). Jesus asked for a coin. He outsmarted their treachery, when He told them – Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s (Lk.20:25). Jesus’ amazing way of handling these questions was more evidence that He is God.
(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.) If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com or discuss it with your Community Group leader or email firstname.lastname@example.org