Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Luke 20 - Disputing in the Temple

LINK: Luke 20

Tuesday Morning of Holy Week

189. Religious leaders challenge Jesus' authority: Matthew 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8

This event and the three parables following it (Mark and Luke only record one of them) stem from the religious leaders questioning Jesus about what authority He had to do "these things" (probably meaning purging the temple the previous day, miracles, healing, deliverance, and teaching that proved His authority). Jesus was not trying to avoid the issue by taking them all the way back to John's ministry but using a common debating approach with Rabbis.

John was sent by God and prepared the way for Jesus, but they rejected John (Herod had him beheaded). Therefore, they could not accept John's authority but rejected him. If they did this to John, they had done it to Jesus. If they rejected John's teaching, they would not understand Jesus' answer as to what authority He had cleansed the temple. 

191. Jesus tells the parable of the evil farmers: Matthew 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19

This parable is based on Isaiah 5:1-7. The Jewish leaders are the vinegrowers whom God appointed to bear fruit for His glory, but they did not. The landowner's servants are the prophets and priests who tried to warn Israel. The landowner could have sent armies to destroy them, but he sent his son, and they killed him. Jesus is the Son that was rejected by the Jewish leaders. Just as the son was "cast out" of the vineyard and killed. Jesus was crucified "outside the gate" (Hebrews 13:12-13). 

Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22-23 to clarify this parable. The crowds had just quoted Psalm 118:26 during Jesus' triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. In the Old Testament, God is often referred to as a rock or stone (Deuteronomy 32:4, 18; 30-31; Psalm 18:2, 31, 46). To Israel, Jesus was a stumbling stone (Isaiah 8:14-15; Romans 9:32-33; 1 Corinthians 1:23). 

Because they were not faithful, God would take the kingdom away from Israel and give it to a people (ethnei) that would produce fruit (Matthew 21:43). Since the Greek word for people/nation is singular, many interpreters think this refers to the church (called a nation in Romans 10:19 and 1 Peter 2:9-10). Others believe the word for "nation/people" means that generation. So the kingdom would be taken away from that particular generation of Israel to be given back at a future generation that would repent (Romans 11:15, 25-27). 

Matthew omitted something in this parable that Mark and Luke include "He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved (Mark 12:6; Luke 20:13). 

This parable would have been greatly understood in the social climate of Palestine. Wealthy landowners from foreign countries leased their estates to tenant farmers with a contractual agreement that a portion of the crop would be paid as rent. Agents would come to collect that rent, and there were always conflicts that arose as a result. 

Jesus' counter question and parables angered the religious leaders, but they were too afraid of the crowd that supported Him to do anything . . . yet.

Religious leaders question Jesus about . . . 

193. Paying taxes: Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26

Like the Sadducees and Pharisees in Matthew 16, these lifelong enemies united against their common enemy: Jesus. The Pharisees were purists who opposed Roman rule, and the Herodians were those who supported the rule of Herod the Great and favored change dictated by Rome. They knew if Jesus answered that it was good to pay taxes to Rome, most of the Jews would consider Him a traitor. If He said they should not be paid, He would be trapped as a rebel against Rome. He solved the dispute by saying that we have "dual citizenship" (1 Peter 2:17) by being a citizen under an authority on earth and a citizen of heaven which requires obedience and commitment to God.  He was saying that we all have political and spiritual responsibilities. He is so smart!!!

194. The Resurrection: Matthew 22:23-33, Mark 12:18-27, Luke 20:27-40

The Sadducees were considered the religious liberals because they did not believe in the resurrection or angels or spirits (Acts 23:8). So, of course, they would try to trap Him in a question about the resurrection, but Jesus knew that they did not know the Scriptures because it taught of the resurrection and that God had the power to bring people back to life. Since the Sadducees believed only in the Pentateuch, He used Exodus 3:6 implying that their patriarchs are alive with God. 

196. Religious leaders cannot answer Jesus' question: Matthew 22:41-46, Mark 12:35-37, Luke 20:41-44

He had silenced His interrogators. Now, He would question them by asking who they thought the Messiah (Christ) was.  Quickly they replied, "the Son of David." Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1 to show that the Messiah would be greater than David. They did not understand He would be God. 

The Mark account adds that the "great crowd enjoyed listening to Him" (Mark 12:37). The Matthew account adds that "no one dared to ask Him any more questions" (Matthew 22:46).  Jesus had silenced all challenges from the different groups of religious leaders: the chief priests and elders (Matthew 21:23-27), the Pharisees and Herodians together (Matthew 22:15-22), the Sadducees (Matthew 22:23-33), and the Pharisees (Matthew 22:34-36).

197. Jesus warns against the religious leaders: Matthew 23:1-12, Mark 12:38-40, Luke 20:45-47

Matthew's gospel gives the most thorough account of this event. Jesus goes for the jugular by calling the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees hypocrites. They did everything for show like wearing phylacteries, but they did not practice what they preached.  Phylacteries were little leather boxes containing Scripture that they wore on their forehead and arms in keeping with Deuteronomy 6:8 and Exodus 13:89,16. Jesus proclaimed that the way to exaltation is via humility. 



Lord, I thank You for the model of Jesus who knew who He was and were He was going and could confidently answer all challenges to His authority. May we walk in confidence in You. We ask this in Jesus' name, Amen. 
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