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Luke 20

Jerry Zhang
Jerry Zhang

2 min read

As Jesus continues his ministry, the religious authority—which include the chief priests and the scribes with the elders—feel threatened. Here was this really good teacher who was very popular with the people, performing miracles. Even worse, Jesus was speaking out against the religious authority.

So the chief priests and scribes saw Jesus as a rival and wanted to eliminate Jesus to protect their position of power. In this chapter, they made several attempts to trap Jesus into saying something wrong. They wanted to find any kind of dirt possible, but are having trouble with the completely clean and blameless Jesus.

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

Round 1: chief priests and scribes sets a trap.

Result: Jesus counters with a trap.

The chief priests and scribes question by what authority Jesus does his ministry and who gave Him this authority.

The trap is the following:

  • If Jesus says His authority comes from God, He will be called out for blasphemy.
  • If Jesus says His authority comes from Himself, he will be mocked and riciculed.

Jesus counters and asks them if they believe the baptism of John was from heaven or from man.

The trap is the following:

  • If they say from heaven, then Jesus will ask why they didn’t believe John, specifically that John is laying out the way before Jesus.
  • If they say from man, they will lose the people because the people believe John to be a prophet.

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

Round 2: Jesus strikes back with a parable.

Result: chief priests and scribes took the hit.

This parable has the following symbols:

  • Vineyard: Israel
  • Owner: God
  • Tenants: Jewish leaders (chief priests and scribes)
  • Fruit: God’s people
  • Servants: prophets/messengers
  • Son: Jesus

So the owner leases his vineyard to some tenants. And when the time for harvest comes, the owner sends his servant to collect. Each servant receives a worse treatment and comes back empty-handed. 3 servants later, he still hasn’t collected.

Finally, the owner sends his son. But the tenants kill the son, seeking to take the inheritance for themselves.

This parable exposes the Jewish leaders for being bad stewards of God’s people. The Jewish leaders got too attached to being in a position of power that they no longer acknowledged God if it meant losing what they have.

Paying Taxes to Caesar

But the scribes and chief priests are not done yet.

Round 3: chief priests and scribes try espionage.

Result: Jesus parried.

The scribes and chief priests question Jesus whether it’s lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not.

The trap is the following:

  • If Jesus says yes, then people who hate Caesar will also hate Jesus.
  • If Jesus says no, he will face oppression from the Romans.

And so Jesus answers in the most objective way possible.

Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.Luke 20:25

Lesson learned: don’t try to sue Jesus. You’ll lose.


Jerry Zhang

Programmer, YouTuber, and amateur musician. I like to write too!