Luke 20



This chapter showcases Jesus' wisdom in responding to various challenges, his authority, and his warnings against the hypocrisy of religious leaders in four ways:


  1. Question of Authority (verses 1-8): The religious leaders challenge Jesus' authority and question him about the source of his authority. In response, Jesus asks them about John the Baptist's authority, leaving them unable to answer.
  2. Parable of the Wicked Tenants (verses 9-19): Jesus tells a parable about wicked tenants who mistreat the owner's servants and even kill his son, representing the rejection of God's messengers and ultimately Jesus himself by the religious leaders.

  3. Question about Paying Taxes (verses 20-26): The religious leaders attempt to trap Jesus by asking about paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus responds with the famous statement, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."
  4. Question about Resurrection (verses 27-40): The Sadducees challenge Jesus with a hypothetical scenario about marriage in the afterlife, trying to undermine the concept of resurrection. Jesus answers by affirming the reality of resurrection and explaining that in the afterlife, people will be like angels, not marrying.
  5. Question about David's Son (verses 41-44): Jesus poses a question to the Pharisees about the identity of the Messiah, emphasizing that the Messiah is not just the son of David but also his Lord.
  6. Warning against Hypocrisy (verses 45-47): Jesus warns the people about the religious leaders who love to be honored and seen as important but exploit and harm the vulnerable. He condemns their hypocrisy.



"And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority? And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not? But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet. And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things."


Christ is in Jerusalem and knows His time is short on earth (Luke 18:31-33). Yet, we read in the first verse that He continues to preach the gospel or Good News. In Greek, the word, 'gospel' is εὐαγγελίζω (yoo-ang-ghel-id'-zo). This word means 'Good tidings', or 'good news'. However. Christ had not died, was not yet buried, or even resurrected (1 Cor. 15) according to the gospel we have been given through the apostles. Thus, Christ is most likely referring to passages in the Old Testament (OT) like Isaiah 61 about the coming kingdom of God. The disciples, religious leaders, and surrounding peoples did not fully grasp what Jesus was preaching in the temple at this time.


Not at all interested in what Jesus was preaching, the chief priests, scribes, and elders ask Him by whose authority is He preaching the gospel. They were skeptical of His message. They were essentially saying, "What gives you the right to preach to us? Who do you think you are?" Christ responds with another question. Interestingly, there are few instances where Christ answers questions directly. In most cases, the synoptic gospels of the New Testament indicate that Christ paired questions with questions of His own. Christ used John as an example because of his divine appointment to reign in Christ (John 1:6-9). In challenging Christ's authority, their leadership gets challenged. If they respond that John's baptisms were from God, then Christ is the Messiah. They must acknowledge His authority is from God, then. The reason is that John baptized Christ and promoted the same gospel He was preaching in the temple on this day. If they were to reply that John was not, then John was a fraud and not a prophet of God. But the latter would get the leaders in trouble with the people.

So they don't give an answer, of which Christ having made it plain His authority is divinely appointed by God, offers no reply to them, either.



"Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?"


After this conversation with the leaders of the temple, Christ speaks to the surrounding people using a parable about a man and his vineyard. This vineyard was lent to husbandmen. Some bible versions render husbandmen as 'tenants' but this word doesn't accurately portray the parable and subsequent application as well. Husbandmen, in Greek is, 'γεωργός' (gheh-ore-gos'). It means a 'tiller of the soil', or a 'farmer'. The implication here means the husbandmen are responsible for tending to this vineyard. The man who owned this vineyard 'went away for a long time'. At harvest time the man sent servants to give him some fruit from the vineyard. However, the farmers beat these servants on different occasions, sending them all away empty-handed. The man finally sends his son to collect fruit from the farmers. They kill his son expecting to receive an inheritance from the man now that his son is killed.


This parable is about God entrusting his Kingdom and its fruit, in this case, the rewards of the Old Testament covenant, to the religious leaders of Israel. These leaders were responsible for tending to the Kingdom of God and responding positively to His servants, the OT prophets. Instead, they rejected and mistreated the prophets and even rejected and killed His Son, Christ in their foolishness. The irony was that these leaders fully expected to be rewarded with God's inheritance of this Kingdom and all its rewards.


Anyabwile points out in verses 15-16,


"In rejecting the son, they rejected the owner's highest expression of love. So now we need to feel the question of verse 15: "What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?" Doesn't verse 16 make perfect sense in this story? "He will come and kill those farmers and give the vineyard to others." No one can safely reject the Father's prophets or the Father's Son, Jesus Christ. "How will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?"(Hebrews 2:3). We will not. We will be destroyed."



"Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them."


The entire Kingdom of God is built off of Christ, the Cornerstone. A cornerstone is a stone from which all other stones are to be built. Acts 4:11 says, "This Jesus is the stone rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone." Thus, to everyone that rejects Christ when He offers Himself to them, that "cornerstone" will "fall on" them through condemnation, which will result in their destruction, or "grind them to powder".



"Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's. And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."


In verse 24, the word in the KJV, "penny" is not as accurate as to what the Greek word, 'δηνάριον' (day-nar'-ee-on), really means. The Greek word translated in other Bible versions calls 'penny' a 'denarius'. This word is more accurate because it was a Roman silver coin that was paid to workers for a day's wage. We can ascertain this value through other passages in Scripture like Matthew 20:2-13.




1. Anyabwile T. M. (2018). Exalting Jesus in Luke. Holman Reference.