Summary: In our study of Luke, in the beginning of chapter 20 we find the religious leaders desparate to discredit Jesus and they openly challenge His authority!
Read Luke 20:1-8…
Set the stage:
Chapter 20 continues the final week of Jesus, after He has entered Jerusalem and after He has made a scene in His clearing of the Temple and chided the money changers and crooked business practices that took place in the Temple!
On a side note, when Jesus was driving these heretics out of the Temple, it is important to note that they had not set up inside the Temple sacrificial area, but were set up in the Court of the Gentiles, which reflects the Jewish view of Gentiles at this time in history.
To the Jew, the Gentiles were on par with animals and not worthy… this stance on Gentiles revealed much about the Jewish leaders, who had allowed the moneychanging to be set up and continue to happen… it reveals they had NO respect for Gentiles and they truly believed that God did not care about the Gentiles…
Luke says ‘on one of those days’… meaning one of those days that followed Jesus’ entry on the colt to praise and worship where He refused to silence His followers and that He had driven the moneychangers out of the Temple… both instances angering the religious leaders! They are so mad at Jesus, they cannot contain themselves I can see them storming up to Him during His teaching… and DEMANDING that He answer their question!
Jesus was about teaching about God and revealing God for who He truly was, and NOT as the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day had portrayed God! To them, God was more concerned with the ritual and ceremony… than He was with their relationship with Him.
In defense of the Pharisees, they had been taught this from a young age and were devout in their belief system, but sadly their firmness in this belief was a blinding factor to their spirit! They could NOT see because their minds refused TO see who Jesus was and what He was doing!
Now v.1 says, ”One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple, and preaching the gospel…”
The beginning of this verse is very important for us as believers today. It reveals and implies many things for the believer today. First, Jesus is teaching IN the Temple… but where in the Temple do you think He is teaching?
Scripture does NOT give us any indication where in the Temple He was, but if the Gospel of Luke is any indication… I believe it would be safe to say that Jesus was teaching in the newly cleared out portion of the Temple that He had cleansed just a day or so before! And that would have been the Court of the Gentiles… where ALL had to come by to enter the Temple!
Jesus sets up where all could see Him and boldly proclaim the Gospel and teaches the people about God. Jesus had cleansed the Temple for spiritual reasons, but also for what I believe to be a very practical reason Jesus cleared the Temple to free up space for Him to teach those who chose to come!
We find Jesus in the Temple a day or so after entering Jerusalem teaching and preaching to those all who will listen. Now while He is preaching, He is approached by a group of religious leaders, asking Him who He thought He was…
v.1 continues into v.2 and it says, “…the chief priests (Pharisees) and the scribes (lawyers) with the elders came up and said to Him, ‘Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority…”
Now the chief priests and scribes and elders were a group of religious leaders, some with actual appointed authority within Judaism and others who carried with them implied authority… could have been older priests who were no longer serving on a day to day basis… OR those who had political aspirations within Judaism.
They had a common disdain for Jesus, just as there had been for John the Baptist. However, with John, these leaders believed the problem would go away when John was gone.
But, this man named Jesus, He had proven far more resilient and these followers of John had jumped from John to Jesus, because John had endorsed Jesus. Jesus was now in their capital city proclaiming these teachings… John had been in the wilderness, out and away from the people, and although the people had gone out to see him, it was going to stop now that he was not around anymore.
But Jesus was now invading their comfort zone, the Holy City of Jerusalem. He had come into their ‘personal spiritual space’… He was now too close for comfort! After His entry into Jerusalem [like a king] and then what he did at the Temple [clearing it of the moneychangers] and now daring to teach IN the Temple, how could He? They could not allow it… they HAD to stop it!