Luke 20:1-8: The Authority of Jesus


The question of Jesus’ authority
The question of John’s baptism


It is Wednesday in the passion week, and this is a day of conflict and controversy. Just look down at chapter 20, notice v19, ‘the chief priests sought to lay hands on Him at that very hour.’ This chapter has several encounters of conflict. It begins with the leaders of the people questioning Christ’s authority, v1-8; v9-18 has the parable of the wicked tenants a hard hitting parable that condemns the rejection of the Messiah and the judgement that will follow; then we see Jesus questioned over taxes in an attempt to ensnare Him; then there is a question to try and catch Him out in His teaching on the resurrection; Jesus responds with a question which none of the leaders can answer and ends the chapter with a scathing denunciation in the hearing of all the people to beware of the scribes. Jesus is questioned about His personal authority; His political allegiances and His theological correctness, and in each encounter Christ proves to be more wise than those trying to ensnare Him.

Jesus has just recently resurrected Lazarus from the dead, the popularity of this event led the leaders to conspire to kill Jesus so that the Romans won’t think it another revolt, John 11:45-53. Jesus then rode into Jerusalem like the King of Israel and would not silence the accolades and the praise that announced Him to be so. Jesus we know has just openly countermanded the High priest by driving out those moneylenders and vendors that he had approved, and openly accused him of neglecting God’s purpose of prayer and using the temple for criminal personal gain. The leaders are out for blood, they want to eliminate the problem of Jesus so that they can keep their reputation intact, their influence over the people, and prevent any uprising around Jesus that might provoke Rome. Chapter 20 is a series of frustrated attempts to corner Christ and turn the people against Him. We will be examining the questioning of Jesus authority, v1-8, under two headings, the question of Jesus’ authority; and the question of John’s baptism.