Luke 20:1
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 on him with the elders,
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(1-8) And it came to pass.—See Notes on Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33.

And preached the gospel.—The Greek verb (to evangelise) is one specially characteristic of St. Luke. Neither St. Mark nor St. John use it at all; St. Matthew once only (Matthew 11:5), in a passive sense; St. Luke ten times in the Gospel, fifteen times in the Acts. So in the Epistles, neither St. John nor St. James use it; St. Peter once; St. Paul twenty times. It, too, was clearly one of the words which the two friends and fellow-workers had in common.

Came upon him.—The Greek word, like the English, expresses something of a sudden, and, it might be, concerted movement.

Luke 20:1-8. And on one of those days the chief priests, scribes, and elders — That is, some of the first men of the nation; came — By appointment of the senate, to Jesus; and spake, saying, Tell us by what authority, &c. — See on Matthew 21:23-27, and Mark 11:27-33.20:1-8 Men often pretend to examine the evidences of revelation, and the truth of the gospel, when only seeking excuses for their own unbelief and disobedience. Christ answered these priests and scribes with a plain question about the baptism of John, which the common people could answer. They all knew it was from heaven, nothing in it had an earthly tendency. Those that bury the knowledge they have, are justly denied further knowledge. It was just with Christ to refuse to give account of his authority, to those who knew the baptism of John to be from heaven, yet would not believe in him, nor own their knowledge.See this passage explained in the notes at Matthew 21:23-27. CHAPTER 20

Lu 20:1-19. The Authority of Jesus Questioned, and His Reply—Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen.

(See on [1705]Mt 21:23.)Luke 20:1-8 Christ silences those who questioned his authority.

Luke 20:9-18 The parable of the vineyard let out to wicked husbandmen.

Luke 20:19-26 The chief priests and scribes seek matter against

him: his reply to their insidious question

concerning: paying tribute to Caesar.

Luke 20:27-40 He confuteth the Sadducees concerning the resurrection.

Luke 20:41-44 He propounds a difficulty concerning the character of Christ.

Luke 20:45-47 He warns his disciples against the ambition and

hypocrisy of the scribes.

Ver. 1,2. We have along the history of the gospel observed, that the scribes and Pharisees took all advantages imaginable against our Saviour: failing in all their acts, they now come to question his authority, which seemeth not so much to have respect to his preaching, as to his act in casting of the buyers and sellers out of the temple; for as to preaching, they seem, by the history of Scripture, to have given a great liberty, especially if any had the repute of a prophet.

And it came to pass, that on one of those days,.... According to the account of the Evangelist Mark, it must be the second day, or two days after his public entrance into Jerusalem; for on the evening of the day he made his entry, he went out to Bethany with his disciples; the next morning, as he returned from thence, he cursed the barren fig tree; and when he came to the temple cast out the buyers and sellers; at evening he went out again, either to Bethany, or the Mount of Olives; and the next morning, as he and his disciples returned, the fig tree was observed to be dried up; and when they were come to Jerusalem, as he was walking in the temple, he was attacked by the sanhedrim, and had the following discourse with them:

as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the Gospel; for he taught them by preaching that, and which he did most clearly, faithfully, and publicly, being abundantly anointed and qualified for it, and sent to do it.

The chief priests, and the Scribes, came upon him, with the elders. The whole sanhedrim being purposely convened together, came upon him in a body; and it may be suddenly, and at an unawares, and came open mouthed against him, and attacked him with great warmth and vehemency.

And {1} 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,

(1) The Pharisees, being overcome with the truth of Christ's doctrine, propose a question about his outward calling, and are overcome by the witness of their own conscience.

Luke 20:1-8. See on Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33. Luke follows Mark with some abbreviation, and with some material peculiar to himself, as also in the further portions of this chapter.

ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἡμερῶν] (without ἐκείνων, see the critical remarks) is, as Luke 5:17, Luke 8:22, an approximate statement of the date; the days in question are meant, to wit, of the stay in Jerusalem. Schleiermacher is arbitrary in seeing here the beginning of a special document.

ἐπέστησαν] came upon. The idea of suddenness and unexpectedness is not of itself contained in the word, and needed to be expressed (as Luke 21:34; Isocr. viii. 41; Philo Flacc. p. 981 C, al. in Loesner), or at least suggested by the context (comp. on Luke 2:9).

Luke 20:2. ] introduces a more definite idea of the point of the question.

Luke 20:3. καὶ εἴπατέ μοι] καί is the simple and: I will ask you, and tell me (what I shall ask you). Then follows the question itself.

συνελογ.] they reckoned, they considered. Only here in the New Testament, frequently in the classical writers.

Luke 20:6. πᾶς ὁ λαὸς καταλιθ. ἡμᾶς] a later form of the tradition. The word is not elsewhere retained. Comp. καταλιθοῦν in Josephus, καταλιθοβολεῖν, Exodus 17:4. It denotes the stoning down.Luke 20:1-8. By what authority? (Matthew 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33).—ἐν μιᾷ τ. ., on one of the days, referred to in Luke 19:47; vague note of time.—εὐαγγελιζομένου: Lk. wishes his readers to understand that Jesus was not engaged in heated controversy all the time, that His main occupation during these last days was preaching the good news, speaking “words of grace” there as in Galilee and in Samaria.—ἐπέστησαν, came upon, with perhaps a suggestion of suddenness (examples in Loesner from Philo), and even of hostility (adorti sunt, Erasmus, Annot.). In Luke 21:34 Lk. uses a separate word along with the verb to express the idea of suddenness.Luke 20:1-8. Sudden Question of the Priests and Scribes.

. on one of those days] ‘Those’ is omitted in א, B, D, L, Q.

By careful comparison of the Evangelists we find that after the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, our Lord was received in the Temple by the children—probably those engaged in the Choral Service of the Temple—with shouts of Hosanna, which again called forth the embittered rebuke of the priests. These rebukes He silenced by a reference to Psalm 8:2. Then came the message brought to Him by Andrew and Philip from the Greek enquirers (supposed by some to have been sent by Abgarus V., King of Edessa), and the Voice from Heaven. After this he retired privately from the Temple, and bivouacked (ηὐλίσθη) for the night on the Mount of Olives (John 12:20-25; Matthew 21:17). Next morning—Monday in Passion Week—occurred the incident of the Fruitless Figtree (Matthew 21:18-19), and it was after this that our Lord entered the Temple. This Monday in Passion week may be called a Day of Parables, since on it were uttered the Parables of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32); the Rebellious Husbandmen (Luke 20:9-16); the Rejected Cornerstone (Luke 20:17-18); and the Marriage of the King’s Son (Matthew 22:1-14).

preached the gospel] euangelizomenou, Luke 3:18, Luke 4:43, &c. This beautiful word is almost confined to St Luke, who uses it twenty-five times, and St Paul, who uses it twenty times.

the chief priests and the scribes] The chief priests were the heads of the twenty-four courses. It was probably the humble triumph of Palm Sunday, and the intense excitement produced in the city (ἐσείσθη) by the arrival of Jesus (Matthew 21:10), which first awoke the active jealousy of the chief priests of Jerusalem, who were wealthy Sadducees in alliance with the Herodians, and who had hitherto despised Jesus as only a ‘Prophet of Nazareth.’ From this period of the narrative, the hostility of the Pharisees, as such, is much less marked. Indeed they would have sympathised with the cleansing of the Temple, which involved a terrible reflexion on the greed and neglect of the hierarchic party.

came upon him] The word implies a sudden and hostile demonstration (Acts 23:27; Acts 4:1; Acts 6:12). They thus surrounded Him while He was walking in the Temple (Mark 11:27).

with the elders] There were probably three great sections of the Sanhedrin: 1, Priests; 2, Scribes and Rabbis (Sopherim, Tanaim, &c.); and 3, Levites. Derenbourg, Pal. ch. 6:Luke 20:1. [Διδάακοντος, as He taught) He walked about, taught, and preached the Gospel in the temple, as in what was altogether His own house.—V. g.]—σὺν τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις, with the elders) These do not recur in Luke 20:19.Verses 1-8. - Question of the priests and scribes as to the nature of the authority under which Jesus was acting. Verses 1, 2 - And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel. We are now in the midst of the so-called Passion week. Probably the events related in this chapter took place on the Tuesday. The first day of the week, Palm Sunday, was the day of the public entry into the city. The purification of the temple took place on the Monday, on which day also the barren fig tree was cursed. We are now considering the events of the Tuesday. The Greek word εὐαγγελιζομένου is especially a Pauline word; we find it rarely used save in his writings, and of course in those of St. Luke. St. Paul uses it twenty times, and St. Luke twenty-five. 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? This appears to have been a formal deputation from the supreme council of the Sanhedrim The three classes here specified represented probably the three great sections of the Sanhedrin -

(1) priests,

(2) scribes and rabbis,

(3) Levites.

These came upon him evidently with hostile intent, and surrounded him as he was walking in the temple. The jealous anger of the rulers of the Jews had been lately specially excited by the triumphant entry on Palm Sunday, and by the stir and commotion which the presence of Jesus had occasioned in the holy city. And in the last two or three days Jesus had evidently claimed especial power in the temple. He had publicly driven out the money-changers and vendors of sacrificial victims who plied their calling in the sacred courts. He had, in addition, forbade the carrying vessels across the temple (Mark 11:16), and had allowed the children in the temple, probably those attached to its choir, to shout "Hosanna!" to him as the Messiah. From the point of view of the Sanhedrin, such a question might well have been looked for. His interlocutors made quite sure that Jesus, in reply, would claim having received a Divine commission. Had he made openly such a formal claim in reply to their question, then he would have been cited before the supreme court to give an account of himself and his commission. Then, as they thought, would have been their opportunity to convict him out of his own mouth of blasphemy.
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