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Luke Chapter Twenty


I. Content of the Chapter


The Wisdom of the Son of Man the Savior

I. He asked in reply where the baptism of John was from to remove the question of the religious leaders (v.1-8).

II. He told them a parable of the wicked vinedressers in order to blame religious leaders (v.9-19).

III. He answered the problem of paying taxes cleverly (v.20-26).

IV. He explained the problem of the resurrection (v.27-40).

V. He asked men why they said that Christ is the Son of David (v.41-44).

VI. He warned the disciples to beware of the scribes (v.45-47).

II. Verse by Verse commentary


Luke. 20:1 “Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him

   YLT: “And it came to pass, on one of those days, as he is teaching the people in the temple, and proclaiming good news, the chief priests and the scribes, with the elders, came upon [him],”

   Literal Meaning: “one of those days” indicates the following day after the Lord Jesus cleansed the Holy Temple. According to calculation of the general Bible scholars, the Lord Jesus went into Jerusalem on Sunday, cleansed the Holy Temple on Monday and debated with the chief priests, the scribes and others on Tuesday (See Mark. 11:19-20, 27-33).

  The chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him” The chief priests, the scribes and the elders constitute the three kinds of members of Judaic council.

   Spiritual Meaning: the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders” They symbolize the authority of the earth, men, letters and traditions.


Luke. 20:2 “and spoke to Him, saying, Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?’”

   YLT: “and spake unto him, saying, `Tell us by what authority thou dost these things? or who is he that gave to thee this authority?’”

   Literal Meaning: “by what authority are You doing these things?” “These things” refer to the acts after the Lord Jesus sat on the colt and went into Jerusalem, especially that He cleansed the Holy Temple (See 19:37-47).

  They questioned the Lord that by what authority He cleansed the Holy Temple, showing that they did not know the Lord or respect Him and contrarily withstood Him.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Religious believers pay attention to authority and one could do something unless they have given him the authority.

2) Those who truly have the authority do not need to stress the authority, however, their words and deeds naturally have the authority.


Luke. 20:3 “But He answered and said to them, I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me:

   YLT: “And he answering said unto them, `I will question you I also one thing, and tell me:”

   Literal Meaning: to those who had hardened their hearts and did not want to know the Lord intentionally, the Lord did not answer their question directly and contrarily asked them a question in reply to put them to silence.

Enlightenment in the Word: when men ask what they should not ask, believers should imitate the Lord and ask in reply so as to help us out of a predicament.


Luke. 20:4 “The baptism of John--was it from heaven or from men?’”

   YLT: “the baptism of John, from heaven was it, or from men?’”

   Literal Meaning: From heaven”: from God; the Jews usually refer to heaven as God.

  The Lord meant that where the authority of John the Baptism came from was also the place that His authority was from. If those who opposed Him could answer where the authority of John the Baptist was from, they would naturally know where His authority was from. Jesus asked it in return because if they confessed that John the Baptist was sent by God, they had to receive his testimony for Jesus (See 3:16-17). Therefore they would surely know that the authority of Jesus is from God.

   Spiritual Meaning: the baptism of John” is to bury those who have repented (See 3:7-8), i.e. to put the old man into death. The Lord Jesus asked this question with the aim of making them confess that it is of God. He also implied that the true authority of God was from resurrection, otherwise, it is only authority of men.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The true spiritual authority rests with God Himself------“from heaven”, not with men’s tradition or arrangement------“from men”.

2) Today in Christianity, many preachers pay great attention to titles, the theological academic degrees and ones by whom one has been ordained. Considering the principle, these are “from men”.

3) The most important condition in teaching the word of God is to be filled with the Holy Spirit------“from heaven”.


Luke. 20:5 “And they reasoned among themselves, saying, If we say, From heaven,' He will say, Why then did you not believe him?'

   YLT: “And they reasoned with themselves, saying `If we may say, From heaven, he will say, Wherefore, then, did ye not believe him?”

   Literal Meaning: if they answered that the baptism of John was from the heaven, they had just condemned themselves, for they did not believe Him.


Luke. 20:6 “But if we say, From men, all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.’”

   YLT: “and if we may say, From men, all the people will stone us, for they are having been persuaded John to be a prophet.’”

   The Background: “all the people will stone us” According to the Law of Moses, he whoever commits great sin (e.g. adultery, blasphemy and etc.) should be stoned to death by men (See John. 8:5; 10:33). The false prophets would specially be stoned to death (See Deut. 13:1-13).

   Literal Meaning: they could not directly say that the baptism of John was from men, for it would offend the people.

Enlightenment in the Word: “not believing” (v.5) and “fearing the people” were the two characteristics of religionists.


Luke. 20:7 “So they answered that they did not know where it was from.

   YLT: “And they answered, that they knew not whence [it was],”


Luke. 20:8 “And Jesus said to them, Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.’”

   YLT: “and Jesus said to them, ‘Neither do I say to you by what authority I do these things.’”

   Literal Meaning: the Lord did not say that “I do not know” but “neither will I tell you”. The chief priests and the elders of the people were fully aware of the answer, but pleaded that they did not know” (See v.7). It was lying. The Lord knew it and He “did not tell them”. It was true.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) God is pleased to reveal (Gal. 1:15). However, if men’s states are so bad that He cannot reveal to them------“neither will I tell you”. It is woeful.

2) If our hearts are not upright and we are dishonest towards the Lord, we should never dream to receive words from Him.

3) Today men may answer the Lord’s questions perfunctorily. However, all of us shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ and each of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:10-12).


Luke. 20:9 “Then He began to tell the people this parable: A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time.

   YLT: “And he began to speak unto the people this simile: `A certain man planted a vineyard, and gave it out to husbandmen, and went abroad for a long time,”

   Spiritual Meaning: “a certain man” refers to God; “vineyard” refers to the kingdom of Israel (Is. 5:7); “leased” unveils that the lordship of the vineyard still belongs to God; “vinedressers” refer to the chief priests and the Scribes (See v.19); “went into a far country”, it reveals the generosity of God------He gives men certain freedom to operate and manage His possessions.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The vineyard was “leased” to vinedressers and its lordship still belonged to the landowner. The Lord lets His servants govern His church and the lordship of the church is still in the Lord’s hands.

2) Service is our duty. However, we should not trespass the Lord’s lordship in service but obey the Lord’s guidance in everything.

3) Not only the church is of God but also all that we have are of God and they have been leased to us by Him. If we make them our own and are unwilling to dedicate them to God, actually we usurp God’s dominion.


Luke. 20:10 “Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed.

   YLT: “and at the season he sent unto the husbandmen a servant, that from the fruit of the vineyard they may give to him, but the husbandmen having beat him, did send [him] away empty.”

   Spiritual Meaning: “he sent a servant” refers to the prophet in the times of the Old Testament.

  “Some of the fruit of the vineyard” It shows that we should give account to God about our service. “Now at vintage-time”, it shows that we should give account to God on time.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) God has entrusted (leased) His spiritual inheritance to us and asks us to bring forth fruit in season. And we should dedicate the fruit to God and not keep them for ourselves.

2) What God hopes in us is that we can bear fruit------to manifest Christ by our life.


Luke. 20:11 “Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.

   YLT: “`And he added to send another servant, and they that one also having beaten and dishonoured, did send away empty;”


Luke. 20:12 “And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.

   YLT: “and he added to send a third, and this one also, having wounded, they did cast out.”

   Spiritual Meaning: “cast him out” It symbolizes casting out from their hearts and ignorance.

God sent His prophets (servants) from ages and from generations to the children of Israel to speak for God and guide them to glorify God. However, the prophets had been persecuted and killed by them.


Luke. 20:13Then the owner of the vineyard said, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.'

   YLT: “`And the owner of the vineyard said, What shall I do? I will send my son the beloved, perhaps having seen this one, they will do reverence;”

   Meaning of Words: “respect”: turn to, hear, honor;

Literal Meaning: “probably they will respect him” “Probably” expresses the reasonable hope.

Spiritual Meaning: it meant that God sent His only begotten son Jesus Christ to come to the Jews.


Luke. 20:14 “But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.'

   YLT: “and having seen him, the husbandmen reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir; come, we may kill him, that the inheritance may become ours;”

   The Background: “that the inheritance may be ours” According to the Judaic laws, if there was no heir to identify a certain land, the land would be claimed to be “a land without owners” and it could be owned by anyone.

   Spiritual Meaning: these leaders of Judaism (“vinedressers”) saw Jesus Christ and they sought to destroy Him (See 19:47). They thought that if they had killed Jesus, there would be no one who would challenge their rights of the leaders and teachers of the children of Israel (“that the inheritance may be ours”).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The deepest hidden purpose of the enemy’s persecutions to the servants sent by God (See v.10-12) is to destroy the beloved son of God and usurp His position that He inherits all.

2) After the wicked vinedressers had rejected the first servant that the owner of the vineyard had sent, they went from bad to worse and even killed the son of the owner of the vineyard (See v.10-14). If we are unwilling to receive the first enlightenment of God, we will be more in darkness. If we disobey the first anointment and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will become more disobedient and finally reject the Lord (kill the beloved son of God).


Luke. 20:15 “So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them?

   YLT: “and having cast him outside of the vineyard, they killed [him]; what, then, shall the owner of the vineyard do to them?”

   Spiritual Meaning: “they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him”, “out of the vineyard”, it typifies the outside of the city of Jerusalem. Jesus was crucified outside of the city of Jerusalem (See John. 19:17, Heb. 13:12).

  Enlightenment in the Word: the most important thing in the church is our attitude towards Christ------do we respect Him (v.13) or cast Him out and not seek Him?


Luke. 20:16 “He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it they said, Certainly not!’”

   YLT: “He will come, and destroy these husbandmen, and will give the vineyard to others.’ And having heard, they said, ‘Let it not be!’”

   Literal Meaning: “Certainly not!” means “hope that it would not happen!” It shows that those who heard the parable certainly understand the meaning of the parable.

   Spiritual Meaning: He will come and destroy those vinedressers”, God punished the obstinate and disobedient Judaic leaders and people. It was partially fulfilled in A.D. 70, the Raman prince Titus led soldiers to ruin the city of Jerusalem. And it will be fulfilled in the Great Tribulation in future (Rev. 11:2).

  “And give the vineyard to others.”------These other vinedressers should not be another race but all that have been granted grace and saved, i.e. “the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16)------the church.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) He whoever usurps God’s dominion, persecutes God’s servants and dishonors the Lord will be laid aside (“destroyed”) from the will of God and lose what God has entrusted (“give” to other vinedressers) to him.

2) Nowadays God has entrusted His spiritual inheritance to believers, and we should never recommit the same error: a) seize the fruit of service and usurp God’s sovereignty; b) persecute and kill God’s servants; c) dishonor the son of God.


Luke. 20:17 “Then He looked at them and said, What then is this that is written: The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone'?

   YLT: “and he, having looked upon them, said, ‘What, then, is this that hath been written: A stone that the builders rejected this became head of a corner?”

   Literal Meaning: “Then He looked at them and said” The Lord Jesus fixed His eyes on them when speaking, showing that the verse that He wanted to quote was very serious and it was an important thing to them.

   Spiritual Meaning: “builders” referred to the chief priests, the scribes and the Pharisees and etc.; “the stone” referred to the Lord Jesus. The Lord was rejected by the leaders of Judaism and was crucified on the cross. But God made Him be raised and become “the chief cornerstone” (See Ps. 118:22, Acts. 4:11), which, in the building of the church (house), is the most fundamental and important cornerstone in whom all the building fitly framed together (Is. 28:16, Eph. 2:20-21, 1Pet. 2:4-7).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The church must be built on the basis of Christ (“the chief cornerstone”). All the buildings outside of Christ will finally be fallen into pieces.

2) Any spiritual giant or knowledge cannot replace the position of Christ------the center of the building of the church.


Luke. 20:18 “Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.’”

   YLT: “every one who hath fallen on that stone shall be broken, and on whom it may fall, it will crush him to pieces.’”

   Meaning of words: “grind…to powder”: to winnow, to pulverize, to triturate.

   Spiritual Meaning: Whoever falls on that stone will be broken” Concerning the Jews who do not believe in the Lord, the Lord is the stumbling block (See Is. 8:14-15, Rom. 9:32-33, 1Cor. 1:23, 1Pet. 2:8).

  “But on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” When the Lord comes back, the Lord is the stone which breaks them to pieces to nations who do not believe in the Lord (See Dan. 2:34-35, 44-45).

  Another meaning of this verse: the first sentence indicates believers. Their old creation is broken on the stone the Lord. They were born from above and become the new creation. The last one indicates unbelievers and they will be ruined by Him the stone in the Day of Judgment finally.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) One’s attitude towards the Lord determines whether he is granted grace or disaster. He whoever receives the Lord will be built up by the Lord (See v.17) and he whoever rejects the Lord will be “ground to powder” by Him.

2) The Lord is the lord of grace and at the same time the lord of judgment. If men do not receive His grace, they will be judged by Him in due season.


Luke. 20:19 “And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people --for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.

   YLT: “And the chief priests and the scribes sought to lay hands on him in that hour, and they feared the people, for they knew that against them he spake this simile.”

   Enlightenment in the Word: though religious believers were fully aware that the Lord’s words were specially said to them, they did not want to repent at all and on the contrary they sought to lay hands on Him. It shows that the understanding of mind and knowledge is totally different from the insight of the enlightenment of the Lord’s words in the inner hearts. Every time we read the Bible, we should read it with right attitude and then we can profit from the Lord’s words.


Luke. 20:20 “So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.

   YLT: “And, having watched [him], they sent forth liers in wait, feigning themselves to be righteous, that they might take hold of his word, to deliver him up to the rule and to the authority of the governor,”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Pharisees cannot catch the Lord Jesus in deeds, so then they tried to find fault in His words. Believers should beware of both deeds and words (See Col. 4:5-6).

2) Today, the devil utilizes many people to find faults in Christians. We should, therefore, learn to be aware of words and be wise in words.


Luke. 20:21 “Then they asked Him, saying, Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth:

   YLT: “and they questioned him, saying, `Teacher, we have known that thou dost say and teach rightly, and dost not accept a person, but in truth the way of God dost teach;”

   Meaning of Words: “personal favoritism”: face; “preach”: teach, instruct; “way”: approach.

   Literal Meaning: teach the way of God” means teaching men to understand the will of God so as to walk on the way of God.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The flattering words of the Pharisees concerning the Lord Jesus indicated that the Lord’s testimony was so perfect that even the enemy could not but confess it. And it also showed that they knew the Lord in the moral aspect only and yet lacked spiritual insight. Such knowledge did not help them to receive the grace truly, so they came to tempt the Lord. We shall not ignore the external moral testimony, or rather remain in moral views, but seek the spiritual knowledge further.

2) Believers should imitate the example of the Lord Jesus in behaviors and works. Believers should never make a trade of the word of God (2Cor. 2:17) and the word should not be “Yes and No” (2Cor. 1:18). At the same time, we should not make a difference among men (James. 2:4) or be puffed up one for another against another (1Cor. 4:6).

3) Our enemies are not only from the outside of the church but also from the inside; they are not only from outside of ourselves, but also from the within.

4) Those who want to set a trap for you may say sweat words to you. Even Satan could hide itself in the beautiful snake and transform itself into an angel of light (See 2Cor. 11:3, 14). Therefore we should not be deceived by men’s apparent sweat words.


Luke. 20:22 “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’”

   YLT: “Is it lawful to us to give tribute to Caesar or not?’”

   The Background: “tax” means capitation in the original and it was only applied to provinces which were directly administered by the Roman Empire. Every male above fourteen and every female above twelve must pay the capitation until they are sixty-five. Some Jews greatly opposed this kind of tax and they thought that paying the tax was equal to the confession of dominion of the Romans and therefore they just refused to pay taxes.

   Literal Meaning: “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” this problem is very treacherous and it is the trap of Satan. One may be taken hold of whether he answers yes or no. If the Lord says yes, the Pharisees would accuse Him before the Jews that He is unfaithful to the kingdom of the Jews as a slave of the foreign power and betrayer of the Jews. If the Lord says no, the Herodians would accuse that He is rebellious to the Roman governor and He may be sentenced to death for this.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) In daily life, believers may be in a dilemma between things of God and things of men or between being of spiritual and of the world. We could learn the principle to deal with this kind of problems from the response of the Lord Jesus.

2) Believers should not be carless in dealing with people; the Lord teaches us to beware of men and be wise as serpents (See Matt. 10:16-17).


Luke. 20:23 “But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, Why do you test Me?

   YLT: “And he, having perceived their craftiness, said unto them, `Why me do ye tempt?”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Though the Lord Jesus is “in truth” (v.21), He is not muddy. Among the multitudes believes should be harmless as doves on one hand and wise as serpents on the other (Matt. 10:16).

2) We should primarily have spiritual sight to see men’s hidden hearts and thoughts in the contact with others. This ability will be improved by the growth of spiritual life because the spiritual discerns all things (1Cor. 2:15).


Luke. 20:24 “Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have? They answered and said, Caesar's.’”

   YLT: “shew me a denary; of whom hath it an image and superscription?’ and they answering said, ‘Of Caesar:’”

   The Background: “show Me a denarius” At that time, three kinds of currency systems were in common use in the land of Palestine. One was the denarion which was molded in Rome and one had to use this kind of currency to “pay taxes” (See v.17); the second was the drachma molded according to the Greek standard and it was the currency of provinces and was molded in Antioch and Tyre; the third was the local currency of the Jews and it was called shekel which may be molded in Caesarea.

  “Whose image and inscription does it have?” The image of the Roman Emperor Caesar was carved on one side of the Roman coin in common use at that time. And on the other side the inscription of Caesar was written in Latin, that “Tiberius Caesar, august son of the divine Augustus, sacred and honorable”.

   Literal Meaning: please note that there was not “the tax money” in the Lord Jesus. The Pharisees brought the money with them, showing that they were under the authority of Caesar. But they were unwilling to pay taxes and therefore the Lord Jesus called them “the hypocrites” (See Matt. 22:18), and that was why they were condemned.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The one who has “a denarius” should pay taxes (Rom. 13:7).

2) “The image and inscription”, it stood for the authority of men. The Lord also admitted that God had given men some authority (See Rom. 13:1).

3) Men’s authority given by God has its realm and boundary. He whoever is under this realm and boundary should fear, honor and obey the authority (See Rom. 13:1-7).

4) “Whose image and inscription does it have?” Coins have to go through the procedure of smelting and other procedures and finally be marked images. Our hearts also have to go through different stages and finally be marked the image of Jesus in the heavenly factory of coins. Dear believers, do you have “the marks of Jesus” in your body (Gal. 6:17)?


Luke. 20:25 “And He said to them, Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.’”

   YLT: “and he said to them, `Give back, therefore, the things of Caesar to Caesar, and the things of God to God;’”

   Meaning of Words: “Caesar”: to slit, cut open along a line (today men call the operation of cutting the belly open for birth as Caesarian operation); “render”: pay back, repay, requite.

   Literal Meaning: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's.” “Caesar” was the title of the Roman Emperor and it represented the whole Roman regime. The Lord Jesus here used the word “render” as “pay”, showing that paying taxes was not bribery but paying one’s debt----it was the duty of the people to pay taxes to the one who was in power. To God’s people who live in this world, paying taxes to the government is not contrary to being a citizen of the kingdom of God.

  “And to God the things that are God’s” It seems that all the possessions of believers are gained by their own abilities, physical power and time, but actually they are given by God (See 1Tim. 6:17) and therefore we should dedicate ourselves to God with gratitude (See Mal. 3:8-10).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When believer walk on the earth, we have two kinds of identities: we are citizens of both the kingdom of God and the earthly kingdom. We have to be good citizens of the kingdom of God first and then we could be good citizens of the earthly kingdom.

2) A good Christian could also be a good citizen. In normal conditions, it is not contradictory of the obligations to God and the country. We have responsibility for both of them. However, the most important is that we should take the responsibility to God first.

3) “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, some of the obligations of the people to the nation do not overpass our responsibilities for God.

4) Political and spiritual things should never be mentioned in the same breath. In political things, we should obey the authority (Rom. 13:1-7), and in spiritual things we should obey God and serve God wholeheartedly.

5) On one hand, believers are under the direct authority of God, and on the other, believers are under the indirect authority of men. When men’s authority exceeds the realm and trespasses the authority of God, believers ought to “obey God rather than men” (See Acts. 5:29).

6) We should learn to discern what is of God and what is of men, and spiritual things and worldly things. We should not garble them with each other.

7) “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's.” It shows that God will never accept anything that is not of Him. We should not use worldly things in spiritual things (such as using rock and other worldly ways to preach the glad tidings).

8) “Caesar” means cutting. Satan wants to cut off all that is of God and God is willing to cut off all that is of Satan.

9) “To God the things that are God’s.” It shows that God never allows anyone to trespass all that is of Him. Believers should be separated to God and not be gained by the king of the world.


Luke. 20:26 “But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.

   YLT: “and they were not able to take hold on his saying before the people, and having wondered at his answer, they were silent.”

   Literal Meaning: this implies that the Lord had overcome the difficulty. The enemy could do nothing for Him and had to keep silent.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Believers should not rely on themselves to deal with difficulties and we should look up to the Holy Spirit to give us what we shall speak (See Matt. 10:19-20).

2) Once the Lord speaks, the opposed shall shrink back from difficulties. And therefore when facing hecklings, the best way is to call upon Him because whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (See Rom. 10:13).


Luke. 20:27 “Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him,

   YLT: “And certain of the Sadducees, who are denying that there is a rising again, having come near, questioned him,”

   The Background: the Sadducees” was a Jewish party at that time, most of whose member were rich men in upper class. The name stemmed from the chief priest Zadok in the times of Solomon (See 1King 4:4). They opposed the Pharisees who focused on zeal only but ignored moral deeds, so they placed great emphasis on morality, thus inclining to another extreme, i.e. stressing on deeds only but ignoring faith. They did not believe resurrection, holding that men perished completely after death and therefore there were neither ghosts nor angels. They received the Pentateuch merely, but neither regarded the prophets as important, nor received the traditions of the elders. They had high places in politics------the chief priest Annas and Caiaphas and etc. were all the Sadducees.

   Enlightenment in the Word: “the Sadducees” were “rationalists” in Judaism. They are likened to the “Modernism Liberalism” in Christianity------they only stress on actuality and disregard the future and they only have hope in this life (See 1Cor. 15:19).


Luke. 20:28 “saying: Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.

   YLT: “saying, `Teacher, Moses wrote to us, If any one’s brother may die, having a wife, and he may die childless that his brother may take the wife, and may raise up seed to his brother.”

   Literal Meaning: this is a law in the Jewish social system in the dispensation of the Old Testament and it was the law concerning to raise up offspring for one’s brother (Deut. 25:5-6). Originally it was set up to protect widows and assure the continuation of the family pedigree. This is the well-known “Levirate Marriage”. The early ancestors of the Jews already had this established precedent (See Gen. 38:8).

   Enlightenment in the Word: “raise up offspring for his brother” The word spiritually means that believers should supply life to brothers who lack life so that they could have the continuance and offspring of life.


Luke. 20:29 “Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children.

   YLT: “`There were, then, seven brothers, and the first having taken a wife, died childless,”

   Literal Meaning: it is the fictitious narrative.


Luke. 20:30 “And the second took her as wife, and he died childless.

   YLT: “and the second took the wife, and he died childless,”


Luke. 20:31 “Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died.

   YLT: “and the third took her, and in like manner also the seven they left not children, and they died;”


Luke. 20:32 “Last of all the woman died also.

   YLT: “and last of all died also the woman:”


Luke. 20:33 “Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.’”

   YLT: “in the rising again, then, of which of them doth she become wife? for the seven had her as wife.’”

   Literal Meaning: they made up this story with the aim of making the resurrection seem to be ridiculous through this problem. They did not believe the resurrection and held that the so-called resurrection of others was only the resurrection of body and men would keep on the family life in this life. If the resurrection is so in deed, it may bring difficult problems to everybody. 

   Enlightenment in the Word: just as the Sadducees imagine the state after resurrection by the view of this life, if we live in nature and walk by sight, not by faith (See 2Cor. 5:7), we won’t comprehend spiritual things and absolutely there will be many queer opinions and problems.


Luke. 20:34 “Jesus answered and said to them, The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.

   YLT: “And Jesus answering said to them, `The sons of this age do marry and are given in marriage,”

   Literal Meaning: this verse means that marrying and being given in marriage only exist in this age and they won’t go on in heaven.


Luke. 20:35 “But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;

   YLT: “but those accounted worthy to obtain that age, and the rising again that is out of the dead, neither marry, nor are they given in marriage;”

   Meaning of Words: “are counted worthy”: deem entirely deserving, regard worthy; “attain”: obtain, achieve, experience.

   Literal Meaning: “but those who are counted worthy to attain that age” “That age” refers to the kingdom of God. Only those who have witnessed a good confession of the kingdom of God could be counted worthy of the kingdom of God (See 2Thess. 1:4-5).

  “And the resurrection from the dead” It indicates that the dead in Christ (See 1Thess. 4:16; 1Cor. 15:22) shall rise into the eternal life in future.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “This age” (v.34) and “that age” are two different ages. The things in “this age” won’t exist in “that age”. What believers pursue is not to gain “that age” but to be counted worthy “that age”.

2) One does not obtain “that age” by accident. One has to strive to run all his life and finally achieves and apprehends it (See Pill. 3:13-14).

3) Those who live in the hope of Christ’s abundant manifestation of the eternal age------“are counted worthy that age”, and the reality of resurrection------“the resurrection from the dead”, will forsake the temporary satisfaction------“do not marry” and the earthly reliance------“do not be given in marriage”.


Luke. 20:36 “nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

   YLT: “for neither are they able to die any more for they are like messengers and they are sons of God, being sons of the rising again.”

   Literal Meaning: “for they are equal to the angels” The main point is that angels do not have flesh and blood and therefore there aren’t differences between male and female and certainly they do not get married to have heirs. The Lord Jesus mentioned “angels” and this also rebutted the wrongness of the Sadducees that they did not believe angels.

  Now our bodies are earthly, corruptible, dishonorable, weak, of soul and of earth. However, the bodies after resurrection are heavenly, incorruptible, honorable, strong, of spirit and of heaven (See 1Cor. 15:35-50). The age wherein we live and that to come belong to different realms and therefore we should not infer the states that we will face in future according to works and deeds in the bodies today.

  “And are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” Believers are “sons of God” when we are alive. However, it is not obvious apparently. That we are “sons of God” will be manifested until Christ comes to carry us and will we appear with Him in resurrection (See 1John. 3:2; Col. 3:4).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The life style after men’s resurrection will be greatly distinct from that in this age.

2) Believers should manifest the image of “sons of God” by life and we should not walk as “sons of this age” (v.34). Only those who manifest the life of the son of God won’t love “this age” (v.34) and will pursue “that age” whole-heartedly.


Luke. 20:37 “But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'

   YLT: “`And that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the Bush, since he doth call the Lord, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;”

   Literal Meaning: “the burning bush” At that time the Old Testament of the Bible had not been marked with chapters and verses and therefore common people used it to call the scriptures in the front and rear of the third chapter of Exodus (See Exod. 3:2-4).

  When the Lord Jesus argued about the resurrection of dead with the Sadducees, He quoted the words in Pentateuch (See Exod. 3:6) for the Law of Moses was still in authority to the Sadducees who did not believe the resurrection. Jesus means that:

a) Since God calls Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and He Himself is not the God of the dead, though Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were dead, God will raise them, otherwise He may be the God of the dead.

b) Though Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all dead, when God mentioned them before Moses, He still testified that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, unveiling that He kept close relationship with them. We could see that the fleshly death did not end their life (See 16:19-31; 23:43; Phil. 1:23). In other words, they will surely rise again and be with God forever (See Matt. 8:11).

   Enlightenment in the Word: from the words of the Lord we could know that being familiar with and knowing the Scriptures are the key to open the mysteries of the coming age.


Luke. 20:38 “For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.’”

   YLT: “and He is not a God of dead men, but of living, for all live to Him.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “He is not the God of the dead”, showing that: a) all that make men die and unable to touch life have nothing to do with God. b) If believers live in dead conditions, we may bring disgrace to our God.

2) “God is the God of living” shows that: a) He is the lord of life------he should not be held by death (Acts. 3:15). b) He is the source of “life”------we can live only by drawing near to Him and enjoying Him.

3) Christ shall be magnified in believers’ bodies whether by life or by death (See Phil. 1:20). Thus though we have been dead in the flesh, our spirit will still live before God.


Luke. 20:39 “Then some of the scribes answered and said, Teacher, You have spoken well.’”

   YLT: “And certain of the scribes answering said, `Teacher, thou didst say well;’”


Luke. 20:40 “But after that they dared not question Him anymore.

   YLT: “and no more durst they question him anything.”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) We may have many reasons beyond Christ. However, if we are truly brought to the Lord, all the reasons will become unnecessary. No one makes an exception and no word is meaningful.

2) All problems of life will disappear in Christ. He is the answer of all problems. He is the one that “I am” (John. 8:58). He is whatever we need.


Luke. 20:41 “And He said to them, How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David?

   YLT: “And he said unto them, ‘How do they say the Christ to be son of David,”

   Meaning of Words: “Christ”: the anointed one.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) People may generally notice various kinds of questions beyond Christ. However, the Lord is only concerned about our knowledge towards Him because it is the first question of all questions and the greatest matter of life.

2) The most important matter of the world is the knowledge of Christ. The reason why men doubt about many things is that they lack the knowledge of Christ.

3) Men commonly pay attention to the problems of politics, religion and the letters of the law but neglect Christ. Politics, religion and the letters of the law without Christ are vanity of vanities.

4) The Apostle Paul had known the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, for whom he had suffered the loss of all things, and counted them dung (See Pill. 3:8) therefore he knew nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (1Cor. 2:2).


Luke. 20:42 “Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms: The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand,

   YLT: “and David himself saith in the Book of Psalms, The Lord said to my lord, Sit thou on my right hand,”

   Literal Meaning: the Pharisees could only know that the coming “Messiah” (the name of Christ in Hebrew and it means the anointed one) was the Son of David according to the literal prophecy of the prophet. However, they neither knew nor sought the words written by David in the spirit (Ps. 110:1).

  “The LORD said to my Lord” The first “LORD” is Jehovah God and the second “Lord” is the Messiah. The key of this quotation is “my Lord”.

   Spiritual Meaning: “Sit at My right hand.” “Sit” shows that the work has been finished. “Right hand” is the place of honor. The whole sentence means that the Lord Jesus has accomplished the will of God and has got the place of honor before God.

   Enlightenment in the Word: we could know Christ only by the revelation of God (See Eph. 3:5).


Luke. 20:43 “Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’”

   YLT: “till I shall make thine enemies thy footstool;”

   Spiritual Meaning: “Your enemies Your footstool” is the sign of overcoming. This verse indicates that the Lord Jesus has conquered the enemies and He will actually enjoy the achievements of overcoming until the coming of God’s time.


Luke. 20:44 “Therefore David calls Him Lord'; how is He then his Son?’”

   YLT: “David, then, doth call him lord, and how is he his son?’”

   Spiritual Meaning: according to the flesh, Christ is “the Son of David”; according to the Spirit of holiness, Christ is also “the Lord of David” (See Rom. 1:3-4).

Christ is “the Son of David”, showing the aspect of the lowliness of His humanity. Christ is “the Lord of David”, showing the other aspect of the glory of His divinity.

   Enlightenment in the Word: today do we have complete knowledge of this glorious and all-sufficient Christ? May the Lord ask this question to each of us.


Luke. 20:45 “Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples,

   YLT: “And, all the people hearing, he said to his disciples,”


Luke. 20:46Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts,

   YLT: “`Take heed of the scribes, who are wishing to walk in long robes, and are loving salutations in the markets, and first seats in the synagogues, and first couches in the suppers,”

   Literal Meaning: “who desire to go around in long robes” “Long robes” were usually white linen robes with the borders long unto the insteps of the feet and they were the sign of the class of the scribes. Usually they put on the long robes when they performed their ministry. The Lord here rebuked them for putting on the garments for the purpose of showing off their status.

  “Love greetings in the marketplaces” It means that they love to be flattered, respected and honored.

  “The best seats in the synagogues” “The best seats” referred to the seats in the front of the synagogues, which were usually left for those who have the highest status.

   Spiritual Meaning: the best seats in the synagogues” symbolizes the spiritual status; “the best places at feasts” symbolizes the worldly status.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Those who works for the purpose of making others see it are the hypocrites, and they want to have glory of men deliberately (See Matt. 6:1-2, 5, 16).

2) Religious believers like to show off themselves, denote money, bear witness, do service, preach and write books and many spiritual good works. Perhaps the motives of them are to seek vain glory (See Pill. 2:3).

3)   The greatest temptation of leaders in the church is from their inner hearts------they like to be held high by others to show their important statuses in the multitudes.

4) He whoever cares about titles and status in the church cannot do the service well.


Luke. 20:47 “who devour widows houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.’”

   YLT: “who devour the houses of the widows, and for a pretence make long prayers, these shall receive more abundant judgment.’”

   Meaning of Words: condemnation”: judgment, conviction.

   The Background: “who devour widows’ houses” On that day the system for taking care of the pious widows may be established in the Holy Temple, so that they could work and rest in the temple (See 2:37; 1Tim. 5:3-16) and their previous properties were handed to the scribes and others for management.

   Literal Meaning: “who devour widows’ houses” They extorted money from the helpless ones and swindled them out of money by making use of the widows who were easily swindled.

“For a pretense make long prayers”, they maintained the form of piety to conceal their sins of avarice.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “Widows” here referred to the believers who were helpless and easily bullied and oppressed (See 1Tim. 5:5, Zech. 7:10). The religionists usually hold gain to be piety (See 1Tim. 6:5) and deceive the hearts of the simple by good works and fair speeches in order to serve their own belly (Rom. 16:18).

2) Religionists like to pretend the spiritual form of piety and lead captive silly women (2Tim. 3:5-6) and make them dedicate money willingly. These religionists who are greedy for money have been erred from the faith and the Lord condemns that they will receive greater condemnation and they have pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1Tim. 6:10).

3) Religionists are good at making prayers “for a pretense” and they utilize prayers to humbug men into wrong impressions. 

4) “These will receive greater condemnation” The more men are respected, the more strict requirements of righteousness will God request from them. The more men are hypocritical (See Matt. 23:1-36), the greater condemnation will they receive.

5) The hypocritical scribes will “receive greater condemnation”. The true dedication will be praised by the Lord (See 21:1-4).


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Lamb of the Passover Was Proved by Men

I. He was proved by the chief priests and the scribes and the elders (v.1-8).

II. He was proved by spies (the Pharisees and the Herodians) (v.20-26).

III. He was proved by the Sadducees (v.27-38).


The Nature of the Kingdom of God

I. The authority of the kingdom of God is from heaven (v.1-8).

II. One could partake in the kingdom of God unless he honors the Son of God (v.9-19).

III. There must be separation between what is of the world and what is of God (v.20-26).

IV. Only the life of resurrection could live in the kingdom of God (v.27-40).

V. Christ is the king in the kingdom of God and therefore men should not be arrogant (v.41-44).

VI. Citizens of the kingdom of God should beware of the hypocritical appearances (v.45-47).


Men’s Attitude towards the Lord

I. The religionists------they did not believe Him and even killed Him (v.1-19).

II. The politicians------they wanted to catch Him in His words (v.20-26).

III. The philosophers------they heckled Him with reasons that they made up (v.27-40).


Teachings Learned from the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers

I.  The characters of the kingdom of God (v.9):

  A. A vineyard------it is of the realm of life.

  B. Leased it to vinedressers------it is given to men of God for management and its dominion belongs to God Himself.

  C. Went into a far country------He gives men the will of freedom to manage it.

II. Men’s responsibility for the kingdom of God------at vintage-time they might give Him some of the fruit (v.10a)------men should have the manifestation of the mature life.

III. God is full of tolerance and patience towards men’s irresponsible behaviors------He sent servants again and again (v.10b-12).

IV. The utmost of God’s love and men’s disobedience------He sent His beloved son and the son was killed (v.13-15)------men’s opposition to God is extremely manifested in the Lord.

VI. The building of the kingdom of God is determined by men’s attitude towards Christ------whether they reject or trust Him (v.16-18)------if men reject Him, no matter how skillful they are, they cannot build it. If men trust Him, the Lord Himself will build though men are powerless.


The Lord Is the Stone

I. The stone which the builders rejected (v.17a)------the Lord was rejected by the Judaic leaders.

II. Has become the chief cornerstone (v.17b)------the Lord is the foundation to build the church.

III. The stone that would break men (v.18a)------unbelievers shall be offended because of Him.

IV. The stone that would grind men (v.18b)------unbelievers shall be judged by Him in future.


The Problems of Believers in Life

I. The problems concerning the world (v.20-26):

  A. The key problem is not “whether we should pay taxes or not”, but we should be separated from the world.

  B. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.

II. The problems concerning faith (v.27-40):

  A. Only those who are counted worthy that age could partake in the resurrection.

  B. God is not a God of the dead, but the God of the living ---- the knowledge of God does not depend on reasons, but life.

III. The problems concerning the interpretation of the Scriptures (v.41-44):

  A. The Scriptures testify of the Lord (See John. 5:39) and we should find Christ in the Bible when reading.

  B. Christ is both God and man.

IV. The problems concerning religionists (v.45-47):

  A. Beware of religionists (the scribes) who lay stress on regulations.

  B. The feature of religionists is that they love vanity and money.


The Features of the Carnal Christians

I. They desire to go around in long robes (v.46a)------they love the outward vanity.

II. They love greetings in the marketplaces (v.46b)------they want to be praised by men publicly.

III. They love the best seats in the synagogues (v.46b)------they love to have high positions in the church.

IV. They love the best places at feasts (v.46c)------they love to become outstanding in the world.

V. They devour widows' houses (v.47a)------they are greedy for money and gain it at the cost of lawless ways.

VI. They for a pretense make long prayers (v.47b)------they pretend to be spiritual for a pretense.


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren