Luke 20:1-40

On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, and they spoke, saying to Him, “Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?” Jesus answered and said to them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me: Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?” They reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

And He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‘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. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.” When they heard it, they said, “ May it never be!” But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:

‘ The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone’?

Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.

The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, and they feared the people; for they understood that He spoke this parable against them. 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. They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But He detected their trickery and said to them, “Show Me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presence of the people; and being amazed at His answer, they became silent.

Now there came to Him some of the Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection), and they questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he is childless, his brother should marry the wife and raise up children to his brother. Now there were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and died childless; and the second and the third married her; and in the same way all seven died, leaving no children. Finally the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, which one’s wife will she be? For all seven had married her.”

Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.” Some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.” For they did not have courage to question Him any longer about anything.

Understanding And Applying the Text

In this chapter of Luke Jesus address 3 questions

  • “Where did you receive your authority?”
  • “Is it permissible to pay taxed to Caesar?”
  • “In the resurrection, whose wife will the woman be who had several husbands?”

Chief priests and scribes asked Jesus. who do you think you are? It was like the taunt of little children. “Who died and made you King.” The chief priest and scribes believed they alone conferred religious authority. Their authority came from the tradition of the patriarchs. They were the ones credentialed and degreed. They had the diplomas to prove it. They were more than teachers. They were the teachers’ teachers. They had not given Jesus a degree, certificate, or authority. Jesus did not have a diploma. So, Jesus was not authorized to teach in any synagogue. let alone the temple.

They raised the question. But they did not care about the answer. They already knew the answer. “No one.” None of them had given Jesus authority. And of course, Jesus’ authority did not come directly from God. God used them to confer authority. Jesus’ answer is very interesting. Jesus refers back to John. John had not received any certificates or degrees. No chief priest or scribe had authorized John to teach. John, from their viewpoint, was an illegitimate teacher. If John had any authority at all, it came directly from God. Jesus’ implied He and John received their authority from the same place. So in not answering their question, Jesus answered their question. They were wrong to assume only a degreed teacher had the authority to teach. And of course, they conferred the degrees.

From chapter 19 we know that the chief priest and scribes wanted to destroy Jesus. They kept a watchful eye on Jesus. They wanted to catch him in a statement or act they could use to destroy him. They sent spies to catch him. They hoped he would say something they could use against him. And if it was against Rome that would be the best. Then Rome could do their dirty work. They could bring Jesus before a Roman court. If that failed they wanted to discredit Him with the Jewish populace. They saw the Roman Empire as gentiles. They were occupiers. They were illegitimate rulers. It appeared they had the perfect question. Is it permissible to pay taxes to the Roman government? If Jesus answered no, then they can turn him over to Roman authorities. He was a subversive. If he answered yes, then He denied God His right to the tithe. There were only two answers yes or no. They had Him. Jesus pointed out the false dichotomy. The answer was to do both.

A false dichotomy is a logical fallacy. We commit this when considering only two answers valid. But the truth is several answers are possible. Jesus pointed out their logical error.

There were batting 0 for 2. So here come the Sadducees. So Jesus you are using logic. Well here is a logic problem. The Sadducees asked Jesus a question. 

Jesus taught the resurrection. But the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. To them it was irrational. If they could get Jesus to admit He had taught a false doctrine, that would destroy Him.

Their question they thought proved the irrationality of the resurrection. There was no answer to the question. If the resurrection were true, it violated God’s law.

Here is the step up. A woman had several husbands. Each husband was the result of obeying God’s law. And everyone lived according to the law. But if there were a resurrection. no one man could be her husband. She could not have more than one husband. That violated God’s law. So there is only one answer. There is no resurrection. The idea of the resurrection was irrational.

Jesus’ answer was hey guys love your logic. But your assumptions are wrong. You assumed marriage in the resurrection. That is a false assumption.

In every case, Jesus showed there was no error in God’s law. When we find a supposed error in God’s word there are at least two options. Either our logic or our assumptions are incorrect. God’s word is true. We are in error.

There are times when God’s word does not make sense. It appears illogical, and irrational and some have even said evil. When those situations appear do not despair. Do not run away from the problem. Do not fall into easy believe-ism. .“Something is beyond our understanding.” or “You just have to take it by faith.” That does not honor our Lord. When that happens the world holds His word and His bride, the church, up to ridicule. That is lazy. And slothfulness is a sin. Instead of giving up, examine your assumptions. Review your logic. God is not a god of chaos and contradictions. God is the god order.

If your assumptions are incorrect. And your logic is sound your conclusions are incorrect. Your assumptions can be correct. But if your logic is erroneous, your conclusions are incorrect.

You can think of the Bible as a high school algebra book with the answers in the back. It has the correct answer. If your answer is different. It is wrong. If everyone else’s answer is different their answer is wrong.

It is tempting to rely on the answers “in the back of the book.” But that is not faith. That is superstition. American Heritage Dictionary defines superstition as a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge. Scripture commands us to know why we believe. (1 Peter 3:15)

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