Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, April 13th, 2024
the Second Week after Easter
StudyLight.org has pledged to help build churches in Uganda. Help us with that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Luke 20

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verses 1-19

    1. When Christian Herter was governor of Massachusetts, he was running hard for a 2nd term in office. One day, after a busy morning chasing votes (& no lunch) he arrived at a church barbecue. It was late afternoon and Herter was famished. As Herter moved down the serving line, he held out his plate to the woman serving chicken. She put a piece on his plate and turned to the next person in line. “Excuse me,” Governor Herter said, “do you mind if I have another piece of chicken?”
      “Sorry,” the woman told him. “I’m supposed to give 1 piece of chicken to each person.” “But I’m starved,” the governor said. “Sorry,” the woman said again. “Only 1 to a customer.” Governor Herter was a modest and unassuming man, but he decided that this time he would throw a little weight around. “Do you know who I am?” he said. “I am the governor of this state.” “Do you know who I am?” the woman said. “I’m the lady in charge of the chicken. Move along, mister.”
      1. ​​​​​​​What we’re dealing with hear is regarding authority, submission, surrendering, yielding…or not!
      2. Q: What gives you the right to come into Jerusalem like a King?
      3. Q: What gives you the right to cleanse the Temple?
      4. Q: What gives you the right & Who gives you the right?
      5. Vindicate your position; justify your deeds!
      6. Well, we’ll see it wasn’t their ignorance but their intentional opposition to God’s will.
    3. [1st] their Rejection of Jesus was not because of a lack of knowledge but because of unwillingness to accept the truth! (1-8)
    4. “You want to talk authority? Ok, what about John’s Authority?”
      1. Where’d it come from?
    5. They had rejected the ministry of John the Baptist, & that led to their refusal to trust Christ.
      1. “You may forget your decisions, but they will not forget you!” (www)
    6. (5) Who says that’s what Jesus would’ve said?
      1. If they’d agree to John being “from heaven” then maybe he would have answered their question with simply, “consult what He said about Me!” {didn’t feel worthy to “loose My sandals”; “I had come w/fan, fire, & axe, the Messiah of God”; “behold the Lamb of God”}
    7. We would rather run our own lives, and live as we please.
      1. We would rather be like God, than to be answerable to Him.
      2. Sin rejects God’s authority and seeks to live autonomously.
    8. For centuries people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all time, and surely he would not be wrong. Anyone, of course, could have taken 2 objects, 1 heavy and 1 light, and dropped them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one did until nearly 2, 000 years after Aristotle’s death. In 1589 Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then he went to the top and pushed off a 10-pound & a 1-pound weight. Both landed at the same instant. The power of belief was so strong, however, that the professors denied their eyesight. They continued to say Aristotle was right!
    9. Their Rejection of Jesus was not because of a lack of knowledge but because of unwillingness to accept the truth!
      1. God never condemns men for ignorance, but for those who have the light & disobey it.
      2. Q: Does Christ have authority in your life?
    10. [2nd] their Rejection of Jesus would ultimately result in His Death! (9-16)
    11. Listen to this great summary of Jewish history past & present. (God’s redemption)
      1. Here is God’s Cliff Notes to the Big Picture!
    12. The story of a vine & vinedresser was not a new figure to them.
      1. Asaph talks about a vine that God brought out of Egypt & planted Ps80:8.
      2. Ezekiel uses this 4/5 times; Jeremiah refers to it; Hosea uses it.
      3. The Vine was the symbol of the Jewish people. Even found on the great & beautiful gate of the Temple, known as the golden vine. (Gospel According to Luke; G. Campbell Morgan; pg.225.)
        1. The Vine failed to produce the fruit!
    13. They also knew what was required as the “renters/tenants” of the field.
      1. Just like you do when you rent a car, an apartment, or go to a rental yard. [Chainsaw rental – I knew exactly what was expected of me]
    14. (13) Here is The Owners crowning effort…His only begotten Son.
      1. That’s right, they said when John the Baptist baptized Him, a voice was heard that said, “this is My beloved Son!”
    15. Illustration of Aesop’s fable of the wind and the sun trying to get the cloak off the man: The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveler coming down the road, and the Sun said: "I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveler to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin." So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveler. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveler wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveler, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.
      1. Unlike the wind, God could have forced submission; but He chooses to use Love that man might submit unto Him.
      2. Thus he does the most loving thing in sending His beloved Son!
    16. Does anyone realize, the murder of His Son, was the final rejection of the Owner!
    17. (16) The nation’s rejection would cost them. [Jesus excommunicated the nation]
      1. The kingdom would go to new tenants! (See Mt.21:43)
    18. Certainly not – “may this never be!”(NIV)
      1. (LKGNT) “May the whole story never happen.” (Ardnt)
      2. They are in danger of losing their authority! The gospel of John records that very statement.
    19. Q: Hey, how are the new tenants doing?
    20. Their Rejection of Jesus would ultimately result in His Death!
    21. [3rd] their Rejection of Jesus had solemn and eternal consequences! (17-19)
    22. (17) What then is this? – Why this verse?
    23. Here is God’s commitment to His Son, despite Jewish rejection.
      1. From rejected stone, to chief cornerstone(foundation stone)!
      2. I think they got their answer to authority! - Here is Christ’s clear claim to supreme authority!
      3. And all would be singing this Psalm w/in a few hours. (Hallel - Ps.113-118)
    24. In these verses God offers us a choice of “brokenness-es.”
      1. Those who cast themselves on Jesus, submitting their wills and all they are too him.
        1. They will be broken by him of arrogance, hard-heartedness, and self-centeredness.
      2. It is a not a pleasant process but a very necessary one.
    25. But for those who do not submit to him, he will ultimately “fall on them,” an experience infinitely worse which the Bible says will be “crushing.”
      1. The choice is yours, broken before him or crushed by him.
      2. Christ either saves you or judges you; there is no middle ground.
      3. Vs.19 reveals that the religious leaders “knew he had spoken this parable against them” but they were too proud to repent, & too hardened to turn from their sins.
    26. Their Rejection of Jesus had solemn and eternal consequences!
    27. Surrender:
    28. “When the will of God crosses the will of man, somebody has to die.”
    29. Andrew Murray, “God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.”

Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities. Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.” “Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out. The lookout replied, “Steady, Captain,” which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship. The captain then called to the signalman, “Signal that ship: ‘We are on a collision course, advise you change course twenty degrees.’ Back came the signal, “Advisable for you to change course twenty degrees.” The captain said, “Send: “I’m a captain, change course twenty degrees.’“ “I’m a seaman second -class,” came the reply. “You had better change course twenty degrees.” By that time the captain was furious. He spat out, “Send: ‘ I’m a battleship. Change course twenty degrees.’” Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”…We changed course!

Queen Victoria & her husband, Prince Albert, quarreled about something early in their marriage. Albert walked out of the room and went to his private quarters. Victoria followed, found the door locked, and began pounding on it. “Who’s there?” Prince Albert asked. “The Queen of England,” was the reply. But the door remained locked. More pounding followed, but then there was a pause. The next sound was that of a gently tap. “Who’s there?” Albert inquired. The queen’s reply: “Your wife, Albert.” Prince Albert opened the door immediately.

How do you wield your authority?

Verses 20-47

  1. Intro:
    1. Questions!!! Consider this true story about a very successful grocery store in Connecticut. Stu Leonards' grocery store grossed over $100 million last year. The average grocery store makes $300 per square foot. Stu's preparation generates an amazing $3,000 per square foot. The average grocery store stocks 15,000 items; Stu stocks only 700. Stu has profited immensely from the art of listening and asking the right questions.

      One day Stu asked a lady, "What do you think of our fresh fish?" She says, "I don't think that the fish is fresh." After explaining it is fresh every day from Boston’s Pier she still wasn’t convinced so he asked two questions:(1) "What do you mean our fish is not fresh?" She said, "Look at it. It just doesn't look fresh to me. You have that filet sitting on a green cardboard container. You have plastic wrap over the filet -- and it's wrinkled. Finally, you have a price sticker over half of the filet." He asked her a second question:(2) "What would fresh fish look like to you?" "I go to Boston all the time," she said. "I like to see the fish on ice." Stu walked across the aisle and laid the fish flat on the ice. Fish sales soared from 15,000 lbs. a week to 30,000 lbs. a week and stayed at that level. - Listening & asking the right questions holds tremendous opportunity for all of us…unless you’re not sincere with your questions!!!
    2. Outline: [1] Paying Taxes [2] Resurrection & Marriage [3] The Nature of Messiah [4] Jesus denounces the Jewish Leaders.
  2. PAYING TAXES! (20-26)
    1. Well, I missed teaching on paying taxes before April 15th but here we go…
    2. Their Deceit! (20–22)
    3. Still people today pretending to be righteous!
    4. Oh that we might seize upon His words! (the right way, not to entrap)
    5. 2 attempts to set Jesus up:
      1. 1st by flattery; 2nd by asking him a double-edged question.
    6. (24) Show me a denarius – show pic.
      1. On the obverse(main side of coin) was the image of Tiberius Caesar.
      2. On the reverse was the inscription Pontif(ex) Maxim(us) [Chief Pontiff/Priest]
        1. His face on one side, his title on the other. [mom Livia seated]
    7. This was an annual poll tax. (Romans began to impose this in 6 ad)
      1. The imposition of this tax led to a Jewish rebellion under Judas the Galilean in Acts 5:37.
        1. Use of this coin angered the Jews.
        2. Romans required the payment of the tax w/a special coin imprinted w/a likeness of the emperor.
    8. I don’t think he had a denarius of his own.
      1. We know Judas carried the bag, & Luke told us the women who followed Him supported his ministry.
      2. I remember watching a special on Bill Gates & the last question of the interview was “how much money do you carry on you?” A: “none”.
        1. The wealthiest man on earth w/no cash on him. (like Jesus)
      3. But here I picture Jesus taking that coin & laying it on his hand.
        1. Very soon that hand was to be pierced by a nail under the authority of the man whose portrait He looked at.
        2. Whose image & inscription is this? Caesar, Pontifex Maximus?
    9. Their Defeat! (23–26)
    10. It was a perfect trap!
      1. To affirm would alienate him from the Jews who were against this tax.
      2. To deny the lawfulness of this tax would bring Roman wrath upon him
      3. So Jesus hits them right between the horns of their dilemma.
    11. But Jesus did not deal with it as a political question. He saw it as a spiritual issue!
      1. Just as the coin bore the image of Caesar, so man bears the image of God and has a responsibility to Him.
        1. But that also means we have a responsibility to human government, because government was instituted by God (Rom13)
      2. It is not an either/or situation, but a both/and!
    12. If you live under a governments rule; If you are protected by your government (police, military, national guard, etc); If you are using your governments money to buy & sell; then you are in debt to the gov under which you live & enjoy its benefits.
    13. Q: But whose image & superscription is upon you?
      1. The greatest Potentate is stamped upon every human face...God Himself! – We have been made in the image & likeness of God!
        1. The superscription on every human life is that God alone is Pontifex Maximus.
      2. Thus He said in effect, “As is the coin to Caesar, so are you to God.”
      3. Give to Caesar what’s his, but don’t forget to give to God what is His!
    14. Q: So what’s God’s? [Everything I have, everything I am!]
    15. If you live under a God’s rule; If you are protected by your God; If you are using God’s power & gifts; then you are in debt to God under which you live & enjoy His benefits.
      1. Read - Rom.13:7,8 (our debt to Him is love)
    16. Christians must accept the state as ordained by God & render respect & obedience to the governments.
      1. When a conflict arises between our allegiance to the state & our allegiance to God, we must be true to God. (Shepherd’s notes; pg.74)
    1. 1st let me define a Sadducee: “conservative, aristocratic, high-priestly party, worldly minded & very ready to co-operate w/the Romans.”
    2. The Sadducees’ Silly Example! (27–33)
      1. Their intent was to make the idea of a resurrection…a joke!
      2. A woman marries 7 brothers & was left a widow after each marriage. Finally, she dies. In the resurrection, whose wife will she be?
        1. “When they meet on the other side, whose wife will she be?”
      3. Hypothetical situation or true story? – doesn’t really matter but I mentioned on Wed night bible study, “Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor, & Lana Turner have each been married 8 x’s.”
    3. The Sadducees’ Serious Errors! (34–40) 2 objections:
      1. There are no marriages as such in heaven (34-36); There is a resurrection (37-40).
      2. Note this age vs. that age!
    4. God speaks to Moses at the burning bush “I am the God of your father the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (Ex.3:5,6)
      1. God didn’t say, “I was the God of…” but “I am the God of…” proving Patriarchs still live!
        1. Imagine a man standing in a cemetery boasting, “I have authority over all these dead bodies!” Ok! (what kind of authority is that???)
        2. A continuation of life after death implies a future resurrection; for God had made covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that included future blessings.
        3. These men you call “dead” were not dead!
    5. So, their question was answered; their Naturalism was denied (belief that all religious truth is derived from nature and natural causes, & not from revelation); their Philosophy was contradicted; their trivial question was laughed out of court.
      1. He affirmed the immortality of man. He declared that men who died(as we use the word) do not die because God is the God of the living!
    1. ​​​​​​​His critics decided to ask no further questions, so Jesus took the offensive & asked them a question, about their designation of Messiah as the Son of David.
      1. Jesus quotes the most often quoted OT scripture…Ps.110:1.
    2. The answer, of course, is in the incarnation.
      1. Messiah is David’s Lord because He is God, but He is David’s son because He became man and was born into David’s family.
      2. Jesus is both “the root and offspring of David” (Rev 22:16).
      3. As the “root of David,” He brought David into existence; but As the “offspring of David,” David brought Him into the world.
    3. He is David’s son, thus affirming his humanity.
    4. He is David’s Lord, thus affirming his deity.
    1. ​​​​​​​Jesus moved from doctrine to practice and publicly exposed the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.
      1. Here is religion at its worst!
      2. These leaders were using their religions to advance their own personal ambitions & to feed their pride.
      3. Q: I wonder what are parallels in today’s religious structure?
    2. Their Pride! (45–46)
      1. In their garments, their desire for greetings and compliments, and their quest for prominent places, they proved themselves to be anything but servants.
      2. They loved their uniform because it indicated their office wherever they went!
    3. Their Cruelty! (47a)
      1. They cheat widows out of their property.
      2. They used religion to rob the needy and keep the money for themselves.
      3. Did you know: When Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans legions, they found no less than 2 ½ million sterling inside! (G. Campbell Morgan; Luke; pg. 233)
        1. Maybe this is why Jesus overturned the tables in the temple both at the beginning & again at the end of his ministry!
    4. ​​​​​​​Their Hypocrisy! (47b)
      1. They make long prayers in public.
      2. Samuel Chadwick(minister during the late 1800’s & early 1900’s) said when he went away from his home, he wrote every day to his wife. And when he was going a short journey their letters were short; and the further away he went, the longer his letters were; & that reminded him of some people. He thought “some people must be a long distance from God because their prayers were so long!
    5. The inspiration of all their activity was self-centered.
    6. God is seeking servants, not celebrities; He sees the heart!
    7. Listen,…those people who seem “too spiritual to be true”…usually aren’t!
    8. Their Punishment! (47c)
      1. Their punishment will be great.
      2. And what a sober warning Jesus ends with, “beware of those who love only the things that minister to themselves.”
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Luke 20". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/luke-20.html. 2017.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile