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The IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Controversy in Jerusalem (19:45-21:4)
Controversy in Jerusalem (19:45-21:4)

This section is one of endless controversy, from Jesus' cleansing of the temple to his commendation of the widow who gave all. Even this woman, whom her culture sees as a helpless nobody, stands for Jesus in a favorable contrast to the Pharisees and the wealthy. The various debates in this section are attempts to trap Jesus, especially in light of the leadership's reaction to the temple cleansing. Jesus offers two rebuttals, one in a parable showing that the leadership is on the way out and another in a short question designed to focus on Messiah's lordship authority.

Make no mistake about this final section. It shows a battle for the claim to lead God's people. The leadership thinks it has earned that right. Jesus suggests it has been his, as David's heir, all along. Given Jesus' view of himself and the leaders' inability to trip him up, they will move to stop him. Their action will appear to work at first, only to undergo a miraculous reversal. The entire unit raises the question, Where does God's authority reside?