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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary
Luke 20



Verse 25

Luke 20:25

I. Let us look at the use which has so long been made of our Lord's reply, and ask whether it is justifiable or wise. His words have been perpetually quoted, as if "Cæsar" meant civil government, and "God" ecclesiastical government, and as if Cæsar and God had separate spheres of jurisdiction, each limiting the other. All intelligent students of the New Testament know that our Lord has made no such distinction as He is popularly supposed to have made. The question on which He was asked to pronounce had nothing whatever to do with the rival claims of Church and State; their respective rights were not even contemplated, the cunning cavillers who had conspired to entangle Him knew nothing of the distinction between the two. It was indeed a distinction utterly foreign to the Jewish mind. What feature in the prophetic writings is more marked than the interpretation of religion and politics?

II. Our Lord here recognises no division of allegiance. He does not regard man as under two masters—as owing duty to Cæsar and duty to God. No; God is set forth by Him always and everywhere as the sole Lord of man's being and powers. Nothing man has can be Cæsar's in contradiction to that which is God's. Christ claims all for the Sovereign Master. Rightly understood, therefore, the great precepts of the text are in perfect accord with the doctrine of God's sole and supreme lordship over every thought, and faculty, and possession of man. "Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's." Why? Who enacts it? The answer is, "God." It is a part of your religious obedience to be a loyal citizen. God has bound up together our relation to the "powers that be" in this world with our relation to Himself. He has set us under rulers and in societies as a kind of interior province of His mighty kingdom, but our loyalty as subjects and our duty as citizens are but a part of the one supreme duty which we owe to Him.

R. Duckworth, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 273.

References: Luke 20:25.—M. Wilks, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvii., p. 344. Luke 20:34-38.—J. J. Murphy, Expositor, 2nd series, vol. iv., p. 102. Luke 20:35.—J. H. Evans, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 353. Luke 20:35, Luke 20:36.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 49; Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times," vol. x., p. 125.

Verse 36

Luke 20:36

The Mortal and the Immortal.

I. Ours is a dying world; and immortality has no place upon this earth. That which is deathless is beyond these hills. "Neither can they die any more" is the prediction of something future, not the announcement of anything either present or past. We are still under the reign of death, and this is the hour and power of darkness. The day of the destruction of death and the unlocking of sepulchres is not yet. It will come in due time. Meanwhile, we have to look on death; for our dwelling is in a world of death—a land of graves.

II. If then we would get beyond death's circle and shadow we must look above. Death is here, but life is yonder. The fading is here, the blooming is yonder. Death, which is now a law, an inevitable necessity, shall then be an impossibility. They who are partakers of the first resurrection and of the world to come are made for ever immortal. This is the triumph of life. It is more than resurrection: for it is resurrection with the security that death can never again approach them throughout eternity.

H. Bonar, Short Sermons, p. 416.

References: Luke 20:36.—I. Taylor, Saturday Evening, p. 322. Luke 20:37.—J. Vaughan, Sermons, 13th series, p. 142. Luke 20:37, Luke 20:38.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxi., No. 1863; T. C. Finlayson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 65; J. Baldwin Brown, Ibid., vol. xii., p. 328; Ibid., vol. xxvi., p. 182.

Verse 38

Luke 20:38

Consider some of the consequences of the truth of this text:—

I. As regards the body. In heaven's language—i.e. in the real truth of the case—the body never dies. There is that which lives. At least God sees it alive. The relation of the body to the soul, and of the soul to the body, subsists through the interval between death and the resurrection. Can we suppose that the spirit, in the intermediate state, does not affect and desire its own body? St. Paul leads us on to that thought. He did not rest in, he did not like the idea of, unclothed spirit—"Not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon"—i.e. with the old body renovated, and no longer, as now, burdensome. To God, nothing dies: it changes, but it does not die, "For all live unto Him."

II. But as respects the spirit. Surely it cannot be that energies are dormant, that existence is torpid, and all things in abeyance, and life as if it were not life after we die, till the day of Christ. For, then, could it be said of souls in such a state, we "live unto Him"? We say it of the body, indeed, though it be asleep, because of its relations to an animated soul. But would it be true if the soul also slept that long sleep. Are they not rather living in a very ecstasy of being and of joy, if they live unto Him? And to think of that life of theirs, may it not help us to live indeed an earnest, and a busy, and a holy, and a happy life? To think of them dead, is not it to sadden, to hinder, and to deaden us? But to think of them living, so living, is not it to gladden and animate us?

III. What, then, is death? Who are the dead? They who, living, live separate from their own souls; and, which is the same thing, they whose souls and bodies are both separate from God—they are the dead. That is the distance, and that is the parting. But do not think of those who sleep in Jesus as far off. Their life and our life is one.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 5th series, p. 20.

References: Luke 20:38.—I. Taylor, Saturday Evening, p. 280; G. Macdonald, Unspoken Sermons, p. 232. Luke 20:41.—T. T. Lynch, Three Months' Ministry, p. 265. Luke 20:46.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 251. Luke 20—F. D. Maurice, The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 301. Luke 20-21—A. B. Bruce, The Training of the Twelve, p. 328. Luke 21:1, Luke 21:2.—R. L. Browne, Sussex Sermons, p. 213. Luke 21:1-11.—G. Calthrop, Pulpit Recollections, p. 192. Luke 21:9.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 252.


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Bibliography Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 20:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

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