Lesson 93: Tuesday at the Temple (Cont'd)
Matt. 21:23-46, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-9
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. This is lesson # 93. Welcome! In our last lesson Jesus and the disciples were headed to the temple on a Tuesday morning bright and early. At the withered fig tree, as they were descending the Mt. of Olives, Peter was amazed at the tree that it had withered to the roots so quickly. Jesus used this opportunity to teach his disciples about faith and prayer. It was the day after the cleansing of the temple, i.e. chasing out the money changers and the merchandisers. Jesus had taught in the temple and healed in the temple and great crowds had flocked to him. The Jewish leaders had watched him every minute but were very cautious about making any attempt to arrest Jesus. It seems that over Monday night they may have changed their tactics somewhat. When Jesus arrived at the temple on Tuesday they began to challenge Jesus about his authority; Who gave you this authority, they demanded. The priests and Levites were the curators of the temple according to the Old Law. Thus, their challenging Jesus was designed to make it appear that Jesus was not authorized to teach or heal in the temple. By demanding what right he had to cleanse the temple as he had done the day before; they thought Jesus would be forced to declare himself the messiah. Through this means they undoubtedly hoped to incite the people against Jesus. The first three writers, Matthew, Mark and Luke all record this. So, let's take them in order. We'll begin reading in Matthew 21:23. We'll read five verses from Matthew, Matt. 21:23-27. Have you got that? Let's read.' "And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things." O.K. Mark's record of this is at the end of Mark ch. 11. So, if you'll turn there; we'll read Mark and Luke before we discuss this. We'll begin reading in Mark 11:27. Have you found it? Let's read. Beginning in v.27. "And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, and say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority Ido these things. The Baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things." Alright, Luke's account is at the beginning of Luke ch. 20. We'll read the first eight verses. Beginning in Luke 20:1, let's read. "And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, 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? or who is he that gave thee this authority? And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not? But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet. And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things."
Notice the description by the three writers; Matthew said Jesus was teaching in the temple (v.23), Mark said Jesus was WALKING in the temple, and Luke said he was PREACHING THE GOSPEL. So, by reconciling these three statements you can get a clearer picture of the circumstances. Do you remember back in Mark I; 14, that writer said that Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel and then in the next verse, Mark quotes Jesus as preaching, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." So, when Luke said that Jesus preached the gospel (Luke 20:1); we may infer that Jesus was exhorting his hearers to understand that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Matthew simply described this as Jesus' teaching. Try to get the picture here now; Luke said, "as he taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders." In other words a committee of the Sanhedrin came to Jesus. They wanted to know, "who is he that gave thee this authority?" In their first question they wanted to know, "by what authority doest thou these things?" Doing THESE THINGS probably had reference to the cleansing of the temple the day before as well as Jesus' teaching in the temple. At the first reading of Jesus' answer; it is easy to see Jesus' question about John the Baptist as changing the subject. But, if you study Jesus' question to the chief priests, scribes and elders; it begins to open up more and more. You will remember that John the Baptist testified as to who Jesus was, John said that he was not worthy to bear Jesus' shoes. Then later John said, Jesus must increase and John must decrease (John 3:30). Why did John come? "for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe." (John 1:7). Of course, Jesus did not get his authority from John the Baptist; but, John had explicitly declared Jesus to be the messiah. Thus, Jesus was not just trying to give them a sticky question. What was their opinion of John? If they believed John, then John had already answered their question. That was John's purpose, if you recall, to prepare the way of the Lord, (Luke 3:4). But, if they did not believe John and they did not accept Jesus' miracles as from God; then, there wasn't much use for Jesus to say anything else. So, you see, as Jesus did with the rich young ruler; Jesus knew exactly what to say to get to the bottom of the case. They quickly saw their dilemma. They had investigated John more than three years before if you remember in John 1:19-27. These were the very people who had sent to John asking, "Who art thou." So, if anybody knew who John was; they should have. Therefore, when they answered and said, "they could not tell;" the truth of the matter was that they WOULD NOT TELL. Thus, they were really not truthful in their answer and they had no desire to find out. Accordingly, Jesus in essence simply refused to answer their insincere question. But, while Jesus had their attention; he began in his usual style of parables to help them see their dilemma in sharper focus. Matthew records three parable on this occasion; Mark and Luke give only one. Let's consider the first that's unique to Matthew's account. It starts in Matt. 21:28. It continues down through v.32. Now, don't lose the sitting. Jesus is eyeball to eyeball with those that plan to kill him. They are trying to do Jesus in by a little entrapment. Jesus had just said, you won't tell me; I won't tell you. Here's Jesus' parable! Let's begin reading in Matt. 21:28. "But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not; but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir; and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him." O.K. notice the way Jesus started off; we might say: here's a little riddle for you. When Jesus said, "What think ye?" That was like saying; let's see if you can judge this situation. So, they gave the strictest attention to Jesus' little mystery. When Jesus came to the climax and asked the question, which boy obeyed his father? They all chimed in with the right answer, v.31, they said: "The first." Then Jesus made the application to his parable in v.31-32. The two boys in the parable represented first, the common people; second, the Jewish leaders. The vineyard represented the kingdom of God; that which John and Jesus had both preached that was at hand. The leaders claimed to be looking for the kingdom and said they would enter the kingdom when it came; and then rejected it when it came. The common people made no pretensions; but, they changed their mind, i.e. "repented, and went." Thus, Jesus said (v.31), 'Verily, I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you," I.e. the Jewish leaders. Then in v.32, Jesus shows the leaders repented not; while the publicans and harlots, i.e. common people believed John and repented at John's preaching. But, before they had hardly had time to absorb the point of Jesus' parable and it's application; Jesus went quickly into another parable. This is the parable that all three writer give. Let's begin by reading Matthew's account. It follows right on down the page here, Matt. 21:33-46. The last 14 verses in Matt. ch. 21. Are you ready? Beginning in Matt. 21:33. "Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and give to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet."
O.K. to get the parable more firmly embedded in your mind; let's read Mark. It begins in ch. 12 and we'll read 12 verses. So, here we go, beginning in Mark 12:1. "And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and digged a place for the vineyard, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them saying, They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. And have ye not read this Scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people; for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way."
Let's see if we can find Luke's account. Luke 20:9-19. Let read, beginning in Luke 20:9. "Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them."
If you've looked at the clock; I think we're in trouble on this one. So, we'll have to hold any discussion until our next lesson. Keep the setting in mind. The Sanhedrin committee came to Jesus demanding to know: Who gave thee this authority? Jesus said he would answer if they would answer one question first. He asked them about John's baptism. They refused to answer; so, Jesus refused to answer their question. Then while the Sanhedrin committee was there Jesus began to teach them in parables. We've read two of the parables and there's still another. Do a little homework on this one. Come to our next class ready to study. Until then, have a good day.