New English Translation
The Authority of Jesus
20 Now one[a] day, as Jesus[b] was teaching the people in the temple courts[c] and proclaiming[d] the gospel, the chief priests and the experts in the law[e] with the elders came up[f] 2 and said to him,[g] “Tell us: By what authority[h] are you doing these things?[i] Or who is it who gave you this authority?” 3 He answered them,[j] “I will also ask you a question, and you tell me: 4 John’s baptism[k]—was it from heaven or from people?”[l] 5 So[m] they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From people,’ all the people will stone us, because they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7 So[n] they replied that they did not know[o] where it came from. 8 Then[p] Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you[q] by whose authority[r] I do these things.”
The Parable of the Tenants
9 Then[s] he began to tell the people this parable: “A man[t] planted a vineyard,[u] leased it to tenant farmers,[v] and went on a journey for a long time. 10 When harvest time came, he sent a slave[w] to the tenants so that they would give[x] him his portion of the crop.[y] However, the tenants beat his slave[z] and sent him away empty-handed. 11 So[aa] he sent another slave. They beat this one too, treated him outrageously, and sent him away empty-handed.[ab] 12 So[ac] he sent still a third. They even wounded this one, and threw him out. 13 Then[ad] the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my one dear son;[ae] perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir; let’s kill him so the inheritance will be ours!’ 15 So[af] they threw him out of the vineyard and killed[ag] him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy[ah] those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”[ai] When the people[aj] heard this, they said, “May this never happen!”[ak] 17 But Jesus[al] looked straight at them and said, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?[am] 18 Everyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces,[an] and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.”[ao] 19 Then[ap] the experts in the law[aq] and the chief priests wanted to arrest[ar] him that very hour, because they realized he had told this parable against them. But[as] they were afraid of the people.
Paying Taxes to Caesar
20 Then[at] they watched him carefully and sent spies who pretended to be sincere.[au] They wanted to take advantage of what he might say[av] so that they could deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction[aw] of the governor. 21 Thus[ax] they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach correctly,[ay] and show no partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.[az] 22 Is it right[ba] for us to pay the tribute tax[bb] to Caesar[bc] or not?” 23 But Jesus[bd] perceived their deceit[be] and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius.[bf] Whose image[bg] and inscription are on it?”[bh] They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 So[bi] he said to them, “Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”[bj] 26 Thus[bk] they were unable in the presence of the people to trap[bl] him with his own words.[bm] And stunned[bn] by his answer, they fell silent.
Marriage and the Resurrection
27 Now some Sadducees[bo] (who contend that there is no resurrection)[bp] came to him. 28 They asked him,[bq] “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no children, that man[br] must marry[bs] the widow and father children[bt] for his brother.[bu] 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman[bv] and died without children. 30 The second[bw] 31 and then the third married her, and in this same way all seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally the woman died too. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be?[bx] For all seven had married her.”[by]
34 So[bz] Jesus said to them, “The people of this age[ca] marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are regarded as worthy to share in[cb] that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.[cc] 36 In fact, they can no longer die, because they are equal to angels[cd] and are sons of God, since they are[ce] sons[cf] of the resurrection. 37 But even Moses revealed that the dead are raised[cg] in the passage about the bush,[ch] where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.[ci] 38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living,[cj] for all live before him.”[ck] 39 Then[cl] some of the experts in the law[cm] answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well!”[cn] 40 For they did not dare any longer to ask[co] him anything.
The Messiah: David’s Son and Lord
44 If David then calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”[cu]
Jesus Warns the Disciples against Pride
45 As[cv] all the people were listening, Jesus[cw] said to his disciples, 46 “Beware[cx] of the experts in the law.[cy] They[cz] like walking around in long robes, and they love elaborate greetings[da] in the marketplaces[db] and the best seats[dc] in the synagogues[dd] and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They[de] devour[df] widows’ property,[dg] and as a show make long prayers. They will receive a more severe punishment.”
- Luke 20:1 tn Grk “Now it happened that one.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
- Luke 20:1 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 20:1 tn Grk “the temple.”
- Luke 20:1 tn Or “preaching.”
- Luke 20:1 tn Or “and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 5:21.
- Luke 20:1 sn The chief priests and the experts in the law with the elders came up. The description is similar to Luke 19:47. The leaders are really watching Jesus at this point.
- Luke 20:2 tn Grk “and said, saying to him.” This is redundant in English and has been simplified in the translation.
- Luke 20:2 tn On this phrase, see BDAG 844 s.v. ποῖος 2.a.γ.
- Luke 20:2 sn The leadership is looking back to acts like the temple cleansing (19:45-48). How could a Galilean preacher do these things?
- Luke 20:3 tn Grk “answering, he said to them.” This is redundant in English and has been simplified in the translation.
- Luke 20:4 sn John, like Jesus, was not a part of the official rabbinic order. So the question “John’s baptism—was it from heaven or from men?” draws an analogy between John the Baptist and Jesus. See Luke 3:1-20; 7:24-27. The phrase John’s baptism refers to the baptism practiced by John.
- Luke 20:4 tn The plural Greek term ἀνθρώπων (anthrōpōn) is used here (and in v. 6) in a generic sense, referring to both men and women (cf. NAB, NRSV, “of human origin”; TEV, “from human beings”; NLT, “merely human”).sn The question is whether John’s ministry was of divine or human origin.
- Luke 20:5 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of Jesus’ question.
- Luke 20:7 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the dilemma Jesus’ opponents faced.
- Luke 20:7 sn Very few questions could have so completely revealed the wicked intentions of the religious leaders. Jesus’ question revealed the motivation of the religious leaders and exposed them for what they really were—hypocrites. They indicted themselves when they cited only two options and chose neither of them. The point of Luke 20:1-8 is that no matter what Jesus said in response to their question they were not going to believe it and would in the end use it against him.
- Luke 20:8 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 20:8 sn Neither will I tell you. Though Jesus gave no answer, the analogy he used to their own question makes his view clear. His authority came from heaven.
- Luke 20:8 tn On this phrase, see BDAG 844 s.v. ποῖος 2.a.γ. This is exactly the same phrase as in v. 2.
- Luke 20:9 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. The parable Jesus tells here actually addresses the question put to him by the leaders.
- Luke 20:9 tc ‡ There are several variants here, most of which involve variations in word order that do not affect translation. However, the presence or absence of τις (tis) after ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos), which would be translated “a certain man,” does affect translation. The witnesses that have τις include A W Θ ƒ13 1241 2542 al sy. Those that lack it include א B C D L Ψ ƒ1 33 M it. Externally, the evidence is significantly stronger for the omission. Internally, however, there is some pause. A feature unique to Luke-Acts in the NT is to use the construction ἄνθρωπος τις (cf. 10:30; 12:16; 14:2, 16; 15:11; 16:1; 19:12; Acts 9:33). However, scribes who were familiar with this idiom may have inserted it here. In light of the overwhelming external support for the omission of τις, the shorter reading is preferred. NA28 places τις in brackets, indicating some doubts as to its authenticity.
- Luke 20:9 sn The vineyard is a figure for Israel in the OT (Isa 5:1-7). The nation and its leaders are the tenants, so the vineyard here may well refer to the promise that resides within the nation. The imagery is like that in Rom 11:11-24.
- Luke 20:9 sn The leasing of land to tenant farmers was common in this period.
- Luke 20:10 sn This slave (along with the next two) represent the prophets God sent to the nation, who were mistreated and rejected.
- Luke 20:10 tc Instead of the future indicative δώσουσιν (dōsousin, “they will give”), most witnesses (C D W Θ Ψ ƒ1 M) have the aorist subjunctive δῶσιν (dōsin, “they might give”). The aorist subjunctive is expected following ἵνα (hina, “so that”), so it is almost surely a motivated reading. Further, early and excellent witnesses, as well as a few others (א A B ƒ13 33 579 1241 2542 al), have δώσουσιν. It is thus more likely that the future indicative is authentic. For a discussion of this construction, see BDF §369.2.
- Luke 20:10 tn Grk “from the fruit of the vineyard.”
- Luke 20:10 tn Grk “him”; the referent (the slave sent by the owner) has been specified in the translation for clarity.sn The image of the tenants beating up the owner’s slave pictures the nation’s rejection of the prophets and their message.
- Luke 20:11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the tenants’ mistreatment of the first slave.
- Luke 20:11 sn The slaves being sent empty-handed suggests that the vineyard was not producing any fruit—and thus neither was the nation of Israel.
- Luke 20:12 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the tenants’ mistreatment of the first two slaves.
- Luke 20:13 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 20:13 tn Grk “my beloved son.” See comment at Luke 3:22. sn The owner’s decision to send his one dear son represents God sending Jesus.
- Luke 20:15 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the tenants’ decision to kill the son.
- Luke 20:15 sn Throwing the heir out of the vineyard pictures Jesus’ death outside of Jerusalem.
- Luke 20:16 sn The statement that the owner will come and destroy those tenants is a promise of judgment; see Luke 13:34-35; 19:41-44.
- Luke 20:16 sn The warning that the owner would give the vineyard to others suggests that the care of the promise and the nation’s hope would be passed to others. This eventually looks to Gentile inclusion; see Eph 2:11-22.
- Luke 20:16 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the people addressed in v. 9) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 20:16 sn May this never happen! Jesus’ audience got the point and did not want to consider a story where the nation would suffer judgment.
- Luke 20:17 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 20:17 tn Or “capstone,” “keystone.” Although these meanings are lexically possible, the imagery in Eph 2:20-22 and 1 Cor 3:11 indicates that the term κεφαλὴ γωνίας (kephalē gōnias) refers to a cornerstone, not a capstone.sn The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The use of Ps 118:22-23 and the “stone imagery” as a reference to Christ and his suffering and exaltation is common in the NT (see also Matt 21:42; Mark 12:10; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:6-8; cf. also Eph 2:20). The irony in the use of Ps 118:22-23 here is that in the OT, Israel was the one rejected (or perhaps her king) by the Gentiles, but in the NT it is Jesus who is rejected by Israel.
- Luke 20:18 tn On this term, see BDAG 972 s.v. συνθλάω.
- Luke 20:18 tn Grk “on whomever it falls, it will crush him.”sn This proverb basically means that the stone crushes, without regard to whether it falls on someone or someone falls on it. On the stone as a messianic image, see Isa 28:16 and Dan 2:44-45.
- Luke 20:19 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 20:19 tn Or “The scribes” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 5:21.
- Luke 20:19 tn Grk “tried to lay hands on him.”
- Luke 20:19 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
- Luke 20:20 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 20:20 tn Grk “righteous,” but in this context the point is their false sincerity.
- Luke 20:20 tn Grk “so that they might catch him in some word.”
- Luke 20:20 tn This word is often translated “authority” in other contexts, but here, in combination with ἀρχή (archē), it refers to the domain or sphere of the governor’s rule (L&N 37.36).
- Luke 20:21 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “thus” to indicate the implied result of the plans by the spies.
- Luke 20:21 tn Or “precisely”; Grk “rightly.” Jesus teaches exactly, the straight and narrow.
- Luke 20:21 sn Teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Very few comments are as deceitful as this one; they did not really believe this at all. The question was specifically designed to trap Jesus.
- Luke 20:22 tn Or “lawful,” that is, in accordance with God’s divine law. On the syntax of ἔξεστιν (exestin) with an infinitive and accusative, see BDF §409.3.
- Luke 20:22 tn This was a “poll tax.” L&N 57.182 states this was “a payment made by the people of one nation to another, with the implication that this is a symbol of submission and dependence—‘tribute tax.’”
- Luke 20:22 tn Or “to the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).
- Luke 20:23 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 20:23 tn Or “craftiness.” The term always has negative connotations in the NT (1 Cor 3:19; 2 Cor 4:2; 11:3; Eph 4:14).
- Luke 20:24 tn Here the specific name of the coin was retained in the translation, because not all coins in circulation in Palestine at the time carried the image of Caesar. In other places δηνάριον (dēnarion) has been translated simply as “silver coin” with an explanatory note.sn A denarius was a silver coin worth approximately one day’s wage for a laborer. The fact that the leaders had such a coin showed that they already operated in the economic world of Rome. The denarius would have had a picture of Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor, on it.
- Luke 20:24 tn Or “whose likeness.”sn In this passage Jesus points to the image (Grk εἰκών, eikōn) of Caesar on the coin. This same Greek word is used in Gen 1:26 (LXX) to state that humanity is made in the “image” of God. Jesus is making a subtle yet powerful contrast: Caesar’s image is on the denarius, so he can lay claim to money through taxation, but God’s image is on humanity, so he can lay claim to each individual life.
- Luke 20:24 tn Grk “whose likeness and inscription does it have?”
- Luke 20:25 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate that Jesus’ pronouncement results from the opponents’ answer to his question.
- Luke 20:25 sn Jesus’ answer to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s was a both/and, not the questioners’ either/or. So he slipped out of their trap.
- Luke 20:26 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “thus” to indicate the implied result of Jesus’ unexpected answer.
- Luke 20:26 tn On this term, see BDAG 374 s.v. ἐπιλαμβάνομαι 3.
- Luke 20:26 tn Grk “to trap him in a saying.”
- Luke 20:26 tn Or “amazed.”
- Luke 20:27 sn The Sadducees controlled the official political structures of Judaism at this time, being the majority members of the Sanhedrin. They were known as extremely strict on law and order issues (Josephus, J. W. 2.8.2 [2.119], 2.8.14 [2.164-166]; Ant. 13.5.9 [13.171-173], 13.10.6 [13.293-298], 18.1.2 [18.11], 18.1.4 [18.16-17], 20.9.1 [20.199]; Life 2 [10-11]). They also did not believe in resurrection or in angels, an important detail in v. 36. See also Matt 3:7; 16:1-12; 22:23-34; Mark 12:18-27; Acts 4:1; 5:17; 23:6-8.
- Luke 20:27 sn This remark is best regarded as a parenthetical note by the author.
- Luke 20:28 tn Grk “asked him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
- Luke 20:28 tn Grk “his brother,” but this would be redundant in English with the same phrase “his brother” at the end of the verse, so most modern translations render this phrase “the man” (so NIV, NRSV).
- Luke 20:28 tn The use of ἵνα (hina) with imperatival force is unusual (BDF §470.1).
- Luke 20:28 tn Grk “and raise up seed,” an idiom for procreating children (L&N 23.59).
- Luke 20:28 sn A quotation from Deut 25:5. Because the OT quotation does not include “a wife” as the object of the verb, it has been left as normal type. This practice is called levirate marriage (see also Ruth 4:1-12; Mishnah, m. Yevamot; Josephus, Ant. 4.8.23 [4.254-256]). The levirate law is described in Deut 25:5-10. The brother of a man who died without a son had an obligation to marry his brother’s widow. This served several purposes: It provided for the widow in a society where a widow with no children to care for her would be reduced to begging, and it preserved the name of the deceased, who would be regarded as the legal father of the first son produced from that marriage.
- Luke 20:29 tn Grk “took a wife” (an idiom for marrying a woman).
- Luke 20:30 tc Most mss (A W Θ Ψ ƒ1,13 33 M lat) have the words, “took the wife and this one died childless” after “the second.” But this looks like a clarifying addition, assimilating the text to Mark 12:21. In light of the early and diverse witnesses that lack the expression (א B D L 0266 892 1241 co), the shorter reading should be considered authentic.
- Luke 20:33 sn The point is a dilemma. In a world arguing a person should have one spouse, whose wife will she be in the afterlife? The question was designed to show that (in the opinion of the Sadducees) resurrection leads to a major problem.
- Luke 20:33 tn Grk “For the seven had her as wife.”
- Luke 20:34 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate that Jesus’ response is a result of their framing of the question.
- Luke 20:34 tn Grk “sons of this age” (an idiom, see L&N 11.16). The following clause which refers to being “given in marriage” suggests both men and women are included in this phrase.
- Luke 20:35 tn Grk “to attain to.”
- Luke 20:35 sn Life in the age to come is different than life here (they neither marry nor are given in marriage). This means Jesus’ questioners had made a false assumption that life was the same both now and in the age to come.
- Luke 20:36 sn Angels do not die, nor do they eat according to Jewish tradition (1 En. 15:6; 51:4; Wis 5:5; 2 Bar. 51:10; 1QH 3.21-23).
- Luke 20:36 tn Grk “sons of God, being.” The participle ὄντες (ontes) has been translated as a causal adverbial participle here.
- Luke 20:36 tn Or “people.” The noun υἱός (huios) followed by the genitive of class or kind (“sons of…”) denotes a person of a class or kind, specified by the following genitive construction. This Semitic idiom is frequent in the NT (L&N 9.4).
- Luke 20:37 tn Grk “But that the dead are raised even Moses revealed.”
- Luke 20:37 sn See Exod 3:6. Jesus used a common form of rabbinic citation here to refer to the passage in question.
- Luke 20:37 sn A quotation from Exod 3:6.
- Luke 20:38 sn He is not God of the dead but of the living. Jesus’ point was that if God could identify himself as God of the three old patriarchs, then they must still be alive when God spoke to Moses; and so they must be raised.
- Luke 20:38 tn On this syntax, see BDF §192. The point is that all live “to” God or “before” God.
- Luke 20:39 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 20:39 tn Or “some of the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 5:21.
- Luke 20:39 sn Teacher, you have spoken well! The scribes, being Pharisees, were happy for the defense of resurrection and angels, which they (unlike the Sadducees) believed in.
- Luke 20:40 sn The attempt to show Jesus as ignorant had left the experts silenced. At this point they did not dare any longer to ask him anything.
- Luke 20:41 sn If the religious leaders will not dare to question Jesus any longer, then he will question them.
- Luke 20:41 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn See the note on Christ in 2:11.
- Luke 20:41 sn It was a common belief in Judaism that Messiah would be David’s son in that he would come from the lineage of David. On this point the Pharisees agreed and were correct. But their understanding was nonetheless incomplete, for Messiah is also David’s Lord. With this statement Jesus was affirming that, as the Messiah, he is both God and man.
- Luke 20:42 sn The Lord said to my lord. With David being the speaker, this indicates his respect for his descendant (referred to as my lord). Jesus was arguing, as the ancient exposition assumed, that the passage is about the Lord’s anointed. The passage looks at an enthronement of this figure and a declaration of honor for him as he takes his place at the side of God. In Jerusalem, the king’s palace was located to the right of the temple to indicate this kind of relationship. Jesus was pressing the language here to get his opponents to reflect on how great Messiah is.
- Luke 20:43 sn A quotation from Ps 110:1.
- Luke 20:44 tn Grk “David thus calls him ‘Lord.’ So how is he his son?” The conditional nuance, implicit in Greek, has been made explicit in the translation (cf. Matt 22:45).
- Luke 20:45 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Luke 20:45 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 20:46 tn Or “Be on guard against.” This is a present imperative and indicates that pride is something to constantly be on the watch against.
- Luke 20:46 tn Or “of the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 5:21.
- Luke 20:46 tn Grk “who,” continuing the sentence begun by the prior phrase.
- Luke 20:46 sn There is later Jewish material in the Talmud that spells out such greetings in detail. See D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 2:1642; H. Windisch, TDNT 1:498.
- Luke 20:46 sn See the note on marketplace in Luke 7:32.
- Luke 20:46 sn See Luke 14:7-14.
- Luke 20:46 sn See the note on synagogues in 4:15.
- Luke 20:47 tn Grk “who,” continuing the sentence begun in v. 46.
- Luke 20:47 sn How they were able to devour widows’ houses is debated. Did they seek too much for contributions, or take too high a commission for their work, or take homes after debts failed to be paid? There is too little said here to be sure.
- Luke 20:47 tn Grk “houses,” “households”; however, the term can have the force of “property” or “possessions” as well (O. Michel, TDNT 5:131; BDAG 695 s.v. οἶκια 1.a).