Luke 20:1

(1-8) And it came to pass.--See Notes on Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33.

And preached the gospel.--The Greek verb (to evangelise) is one specially characteristic of St. Luke. Neither St. Mark nor St. John use it at all; St. Matthew once only (Matthew 11:5), in a passive sense; St. Luke ten times in the Gospel, fifteen times in the Acts. So in the Epistles, neither St. John nor St. James use it; St. Peter once; St. Paul twenty times. It, too, was clearly one of the words which the two friends and fellow-workers had in common.

Came upon him.--The Greek word, like the English, expresses something of a sudden, and, it might be, concerted movement.

Verses 1-8. - Question of the priests and scribes as to the nature of the authority under which Jesus was acting. Verses 1, 2 - And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel. We are now in the midst of the so-called Passion week. Probably the events related in this chapter took place on the Tuesday. The first day of the week, Palm Sunday, was the day of the public entry into the city. The purification of the temple took place on the Monday, on which day also the barren fig tree was cursed. We are now considering the events of the Tuesday. The Greek word εὐαγγελιζομένου is especially a Pauline word; we find it rarely used save in his writings, and of course in those of St. Luke. St. Paul uses it twenty times, and St. Luke twenty-five. The chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, and spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? This appears to have been a formal deputation from the supreme council of the Sanhedrim The three classes here specified represented probably the three great sections of the Sanhedrin -

(1) priests,

(2) scribes and rabbis,

(3) Levites.

These came upon him evidently with hostile intent, and surrounded him as he was walking in the temple. The jealous anger of the rulers of the Jews had been lately specially excited by the triumphant entry on Palm Sunday, and by the stir and commotion which the presence of Jesus had occasioned in the holy city. And in the last two or three days Jesus had evidently claimed especial power in the temple. He had publicly driven out the money-changers and vendors of sacrificial victims who plied their calling in the sacred courts. He had, in addition, forbade the carrying vessels across the temple (Mark 11:16), and had allowed the children in the temple, probably those attached to its choir, to shout "Hosanna!" to him as the Messiah. From the point of view of the Sanhedrin, such a question might well have been looked for. His interlocutors made quite sure that Jesus, in reply, would claim having received a Divine commission. Had he made openly such a formal claim in reply to their question, then he would have been cited before the supreme court to give an account of himself and his commission. Then, as they thought, would have been their opportunity to convict him out of his own mouth of blasphemy.

20:1-8 Men often pretend to examine the evidences of revelation, and the truth of the gospel, when only seeking excuses for their own unbelief and disobedience. Christ answered these priests and scribes with a plain question about the baptism of John, which the common people could answer. They all knew it was from heaven, nothing in it had an earthly tendency. Those that bury the knowledge they have, are justly denied further knowledge. It was just with Christ to refuse to give account of his authority, to those who knew the baptism of John to be from heaven, yet would not believe in him, nor own their knowledge.And it came to pass, that on one of those days,.... According to the account of the Evangelist Mark, it must be the second day, or two days after his public entrance into Jerusalem; for on the evening of the day he made his entry, he went out to Bethany with his disciples; the next morning, as he returned from thence, he cursed the barren fig tree; and when he came to the temple cast out the buyers and sellers; at evening he went out again, either to Bethany, or the Mount of Olives; and the next morning, as he and his disciples returned, the fig tree was observed to be dried up; and when they were come to Jerusalem, as he was walking in the temple, he was attacked by the sanhedrim, and had the following discourse with them:

as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the Gospel; for he taught them by preaching that, and which he did most clearly, faithfully, and publicly, being abundantly anointed and qualified for it, and sent to do it.

The chief priests, and the Scribes, came upon him, with the elders. The whole sanhedrim being purposely convened together, came upon him in a body; and it may be suddenly, and at an unawares, and came open mouthed against him, and attacked him with great warmth and vehemency.

Luke 19:48
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