Luke chapter 20 opens with “One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel…” When most people think of “the gospel,” they think of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We think of Jesus as the Christ – of his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. The term, as applied to Jesus’ preaching, is used elsewhere, such as in Matthew 9:35 and Mark 8:35. So what gospel was Jesus preaching? It was the gospel of the kingdom. The Greek word for gospel from which this was derived is “euangellion,” which is best translated as “good news” or “glad tidings.” It was the good news of the kingdom of God that He had taught His disciples and sent them out to teach as well (Mt 4:23, Mk 1:14-15, Lk 9:1-2, and Lk 10:1-11). The “rest of the gospel” – the path of salvation was very much a work in progress. As Jesus said, the kingdom was at hand.
Jesus preached as one with authority (Matthew 7:29), and he had performed many “signs and wonders” – miracles. As chapter 19 closed, He had driven out those who sold within the temple right under the noses of the chief priests and scribes, further enraging them to the point that they wished to destroy Him (Luke 19:47). So they came up to Him with the elders, and said “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” It was more than just the equivalent of our phrase today “just who do you think you are?” They wanted Him to “convict” Himself by His own words – giving them ammunition for the destruction they sought for Him.
But it was not yet His time, so Jesus told them that He would answer only if they told Him by what authority John the baptist did his baptism – from heaven or from man. This put them in the horns of a dilemma. The people considered – knew – John to be a prophet, and these men feared violence if they said it was only by man. But none of them had believed in John, and Jesus, they knew, would expose them as liars if they said they believed it was from heaven. So they simply said that they did not know. So Jesus told them that He would not answer their question either.
They had come to set a trap for Him with the most revered of witnesses, thinking to outsmart Him. But the tables had been turned on them once again; and you can be certain that their anger burned even hotter.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.
And how many today still think they outsmart Jesus?