Luke 20:41-47

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

March 20, 2002


Jesus has made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  The people were calling Him a king as they shouted “Hosanna”!  When He entered town, the first thing He did was to clear out the moneychangers from the temple.  He said that God’s House was to be a House of Prayer, but they had made it a “den of thieves”.

Then Jesus began to teach the people every day in the temple.  The crowds were gathering to hear this preacher from Galilee.

Jesus found Himself challenged:

(Luke 20:1-2 KJV)  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, {2} And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?

After answering these men, Jesus told a parable that hinted that these religious leaders were not following after God, and that they would in fact plot to kill God’s Son.

(Luke 20:19-20 KJV)  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. {20} And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.

:41-44  David and his Son

:41  And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David's son?

Jesus has been asked a lot of questions.  Now He’s going to ask one of His own.

David’s son” –

David was the king of Israel.  God had promised that all the future kings would come from David. 

God had also promised that the Messiah would one day be descended from David.

When Jesus had come into Jerusalem earlier in the week, Matthew records:

(Mat 21:9 KJV)  And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

:42 And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

Jesus is quoting from:

(Psa 110:1 KJV)  A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

This is a well-known “Messianic” psalm.  Everyone recognized that God was speaking here of the Messiah, to whom God would give victory to over His enemies.

Lord … Lord kurios – he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord

In the Hebrew Psalms, David uses two different words:

LORDYahweh – “the existing One”
Lord‘adown – firm, strong, lord, master
The first “LORD” is referring to God, Yahweh.  The second “Lord” is referring to the Messiah, the “son of David”.

The point:  David is calling the Messiah his “Lord”.

:43 Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.

I maketithemi – to set, put, place; to make; to set, fix establish

footstoolhupopodion – a footstool; to make one a footstool of one’s feet, i.e. to subject, to reduce under one’s power; metaph. taken from the practice of conquerors who placed their feet on the necks of their conquered enemies

footpous – a foot, both of men or beast

In the Greek, it’s literally, “until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”.

God promised to make bring victory for the Messiah over His enemies.

:44 David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?

The term “Lord” could be properly used by a son for his father, but not by a father for his son.  Fathers were to be respected by their sons, not the other way around.

Jesus was not only a “son of David”, and a rightful heir to the throne of Israel, but He was also the Son of God, God in the flesh.  He was David’s Lord.

Jesus stumps the scribes.  They don’t get it.

:45-47  Beware of proud people

:45 Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples,

the audience akouo – to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf; to hear; to hear something

What Jesus is about to say, He says loudly and clear enough for everyone to hear, not just His disciples.  I would assume that the scribes can hear Him as well.

:46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;

Beware prosecho – to bring to, bring near; to turn the mind to, attend to be attentive; to attend to one’s self, i.e. to give heed to one’s self; give attention to, take heed

Pay attention to what Jesus is going to say.  Examine what Jesus is going to say.

scribes grammateus – in the Bible, a man learned in the Mosaic law and in the sacred writings, an interpreter, teacher. These were the men who carefully made the handwritten copies of the Scriptures.

The Hebrew word for “scribes” was Sopherim, meaning 1) to write, 2) to set in order, 3) to count.  When they made their copies of the Scriptures, they would double check their work by counting the very number of letters to make sure they were accurate.  But they were more than human Xerox machines.  They were the experts in the Scriptures.  Any new teaching had to be okayed by them.

In a sense, for the Jews in Jesus’ day, the scribes were very much at the center of “religion”.  They were the experts in “religion”.

desire thelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure

It doesn’t mean that they necessarily actually walk around in long robes, but they sure WANT to.

to walk peripateo – to walk; to make one’s way, progress; to make due use of opportunities; Hebrew for, to live; to regulate one’s life; to conduct one’s self; to pass one’s life

Not just the physical act of putting one foot after the other, but can be used to describe how a person lives their life.

long robes stole (as in a mink “stole”) – an equipment; an equipment in clothes, clothing; spec. a loose outer garment for men extending to the feet, worn by kings, priests, and persons of rank; any stately robe, ordinarily long, reaching to the feet or sweeping the ground, often worn by women.

Gill:  The rule for the length of a scholar’s garment was this:

“his flesh must not appear under his garments, as the light linen garments, and the like, they make in Egypt; nor must his garments be drawn upon the ground, as the garments of proud men, but must reach to his heel, and his glove must reach the top of his fingers.”
According to this rule, the garments of the doctors were to be so long as to cover the whole body, even down to their heels, but were not to be any longer; and by this it appears their garments were very long; but they did not always go by this rule; some had their garments so long as to have a train after them (Mt 23:5).

This kind of garment (stole) is usually a good thing in the New Testament:

When the Prodigal Son came home, his Father told the servants to bring out the “best robe” (stole) and put it on the son (Luke 15:22)
This is also the word used to describe the “white robes” that the saints in heaven will be clothed with (Rev. 6:11; 7:9,13,14)

But the scribes aren’t the kind of people who want to wait for someone to “give” them a “robe”, they want to take it and wear it on their own.


love  - phileo - to love; to approve of; to like; to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend; to show signs of love; to be fond of doing; be wont, use to do

greetingsaspasmos – a salutation, either oral or written

the marketsagora – any assembly, especially of the people; the place of assembly; market place, street

“Hello dear exalted reverend doctor …”


the highest seatsprotokathedria – to sit in the first seat, the first or chief seat

the synagoguessunagoge – a bringing together, gathering (as of fruits), a contracting; in the NT, an assembling together of men, an assembly of men; a synagogue

the chief roomsprotoklisia – the first reclining place, the chief place at table

feastsdeipnon – supper, especially a formal meal usually held at the evening,

These guys love being in the spotlight.  They don’t want to do anything unless they get the spotlight on them.


:47 Which devour widows' houses, and for a show make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

devour katesthio – to consume by eating, to eat up, devour; metaph. to devour i.e. squander, waste: substance; to devour i.e. forcibly appropriate: widows’ property; to strip one of his goods

housesoikia – a house; property, wealth, goods

widows’chera – a widow

Apparently these guys would prey upon helpless people, getting them to give all their money to the church.  There are people today who seem to depend upon the poor widows sending them their offerings.  They were greedy men.


for a show prophasis (“forth” + “to shine”) – a pretext (alleged reason, pretended cause); show; under colour as though they would do something; in pretence, ostensibly

longmakros – long; long lasting

prayersproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray

It seems that there can be two bad reasons for praying “long prayers”.

Here – the idea is that you want people to know how wonderful you are.  To impress the people around you, you pray on and on and on.
Sometimes we can think that God is impressed by “long prayers”.
(Mat 6:7 KJV)  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

I think that God is just fine with us praying short prayers, at least when we’re in front of other people.

He just wants to hear from you.  He is more concerned about your heart than the amount or quality of words that you use.


greaterperissos – exceeding some number or measure or rank or need; over and above, more than is necessary, superadded; exceeding abundantly, supremely

damnationkrima – a decree, judgments; condemnation of wrong, the decision (whether severe or mild) which one passes on the faults of others

God isn’t too excited about these kinds of people.


Matthew records Jesus saying,

(Mat 23:5-12 KJV)  But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, {6} And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, {7} And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. {8} But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. {9} And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. {10} Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. {11} But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. {12} And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

If you want to impress God, be a servant.
The things that impress God are the things that we’re willing to do when no one is around to watch.