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Luke 20:19-26

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 29, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

In writing this book about Jesus, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.

We are now on the homestretch of Jesus’ ministry.

Jesus is now in Jerusalem, on His way to be crucified. 

Luke has reminded us of what Jesus’ main purpose was in life:

(Luke 19:10 NKJV) for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

We saw Jesus arrive in Jerusalem on a Sunday, to the shouts of an adoring crowd, crying “Hosanna”.

The next morning, on Monday, Jesus came into the Temple and cleared out those who were ripping the people off .

He then began to teach in the Temple, as He would every day until He would be arrested.

Last week, when the Temple leaders challenged Jesus’ authority to be teaching in the Temple, He responded by telling a parable about tenant farmers who rebelled against their landlord and killed the beloved son.

20:19-26 Paying Taxes

:19 And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people—for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.

to layepiballo – to cast upon, to lay upon

they fearedphobeo – to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away)

they knewginosko – to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel

:19 the chief priests and the scribes

Matthew records a third group was in the mix here trying to trip up Jesus:

(Matthew 22:15–16a NKJV) —15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians…

Three groups were joining together to try and trip Jesus up so He could be arrested and turned over to Pilate.

The chief priests were mostly Sadducees.
Theologically, the Sadducees were quite liberal.

They didn’t believe in miracles, angels, or a resurrection.

They only believed the first five books of the Old Testament to be inspired by God.

They had a political stance as well.

They were in favor of the Hasmonean dynasty.

The Hasmoneans were the Jewish family that led the Maccabean Revolt in 160 BC, and who ruled over the land of Israel until it was conquered by Rome in 63 BC.

In Jesus’ day, the Hasmoneans were connected to Herodians, but only because Herod Antipas was married to Herodias, who was Hasmonean.

At the moment, the Sadducees were pro-Rome.

The scribes were mostly Pharisees.
Theologically, the Pharisees were much more conservative.

They believed in miracles, angels, and a resurrection.

They believed the entire Old Testament was inspired by God.

They strived to obey the Law of Moses, but only outwardly.

Politically, the Pharisees were opposed to Roman rule.

They looked forward to the Messiah coming to overthrow Rome’s rule over Israel.

The Herodians were a mostly political group.
Theologically, they tended to be aligned with the Sadducees, liberal.
Politically, they didn’t care about Hasmonean rule, they were in favor of the Herods ruling over Israel, and since Herod got his power from Rome, they were in favor of Roman rule.

There were other groups among the Jewish sects that aren’t mentioned because they weren’t present.

The Zealots were a political group dedicated to the overthrow of Rome, and worked to do this with guerilla style attacks.
One of Jesus’ disciples, Simon, had been a part of this group before becoming a follower of Jesus.
The Essenes were a religious group.
Like the Pharisees, they believed in the supernatural, as well as the inspiration and authority of the entire Old Testament.
Unlike the Pharisees, they didn’t work to obey the Law outwardly so people were impressed, they also worked to obey God from the heart.
The Essenes were disgusted with the hypocrisy of the Sadducees and the Pharisees, and had withdrawn from Jerusalem, forming their own community near the Dead Sea.
This is the group that was responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, preserving the Old Testament for future generations.
Some suggest that John the Baptist lived with the Essene community.

:20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.

:20 sent spies who pretended to be righteous

they watchedparatereo – to stand beside and watch, to watch assiduously, observe carefully

spiesegkathetos – secretly to lie in wait, a spy; one who is bribed by others to entrap a man by crafty words

pretendedhupokrinomai – to take up another’s statements in reference to what one has decided for one’s self; to make answer (speak) on the stage; to impersonate anyone, play a part; to simulate, feign, pretend

This is the word that “hypocrite” comes from.
The Greek actors were called “hypocrites”, pretending to be someone.
The religious leaders sent spies to play a role and “pretend” to be righteous.

righteousdikaios – righteous, observing divine laws

The “spies” were pretending to be “religious”.

Sometimes the “good guys” are just wolves in sheep clothing.
These guys were going to try and trip Jesus up and make Him say something that will get Him into trouble with the Roman governor Pontius Pilate.

They were pretending to be “righteous”.

This makes me think of the Essenes.  Perhaps they were pretending to be Essenes.

seizeepilambanomai – to take in addition, to lay hold of, take possession of, overtake, attain, attain to

to deliverparadidomi – to give into the hands (of another); to deliver up treacherously; by betrayal to cause one to be taken

This is the word that will be used to describe what Judas will do, betraying Jesus.

powerarche – beginning, origin; the first place, principality, rule, magistracy

authorityexousia – power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)

governorhegemon – a leader of any kind, a guide, ruler, prefect, president, chief, general, commander, sovereign; a "legatus Caesaris," an officer administering a province in the name and with the authority of the Roman emperor

:21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth:

rightlyorthos– rightly; from orthos – straight, erect

personal favoritismprosopon – the face; the appearance one presents by his wealth or property, his rank or low condition

Literally, “you do not receive the face…”

Jesus was not impressed with people’s outward appearances.

Again, this is one of the issues the Essenes had with the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  They were phonies.  They spoke of following God, but only did things outwardly to impress people.

:21 we know that You say and teach rightly

They are going to start off with flattery.

They are saying that since Jesus doesn’t show personal favoritism towards people, He’s willing to even rebuke political leaders, which of course could get Him into trouble.
They are saying that Jesus is willing to even to say harsh things against a ruler if that ruler needs rebuking.
When Jesus had been told that Herod wanted to have him killed, Jesus called Herod a “fox”, a conniving bad guy.

:22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

:22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes

Is it lawfulexesti – it is lawful


Though the word was originally the last name of Julius Caesar, the name was taken by Octavius (Caesar Augustus), and after him, it became known as a title for Roman Emperors.

taxesphoros – tribute, a direct tax on houses, lands, and persons

This was a Roman tax.
There are four different Greek words used in the Bible to describe the different kinds of taxes the people paid.
didrachmon was the coin used to pay the Temple tax, collected by religious leaders to help with the upkeep of the Temple.
kensos was a “poll-tax” collected annually on individuals by the Roman government.
telos was an indirect tax on merchandise collected at piers, harbors, and city gates.  It was like an import tax collected by Rome.
phoros was a direct tax on houses, lands, and persons, and paid usually in produce.  This was a Roman tax.
The local juice bar was so sure that its bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1000 bet: The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money. Many people had tried over time (professional wrestlers, longshoremen, etc.), but nobody could do it. One day this scrawny little man came in, wearing thick glasses and a pocket protector, and said in a tiny, squeaky voice, “I’d like to try the bet.” After the laughter had died down, the bartender agreed, grabbed a lemon, and squeezed away. Then he handed the dried, wrinkled remains of the rind to the little man. But the crowd’s laughter turned to total silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and SIX drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1000, and asked the little man, “What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weight lifter, or what?” The man replied, “I work for the IRS.”
Just a note – the people in Jesus’ day enjoyed paying their taxes just as much as you do.

:23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me?

:23 He perceived their craftiness

He perceivedkatanoeo – to perceive, remark, observe, understand

craftinesspanourgia – craftiness, cunning; a specious or false wisdom

Paul used the word in:
(1 Corinthians 3:18–19 NKJV) —18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”

God knows how to spot “craftiness”.

We ought to be praying that we too will perceive the “craftiness” of people who are trying to frustrate the work of God. 

Paul also wrote,
(Ephesians 4:14–15 NKJV) —14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

One way we defeat sneaky thinking is to speak the truth in love and grow up.

testpeirazo – to try whether a thing can be done; to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quality, or what he thinks, or how he will behave himself

This is the spies’ first attempt to trip Jesus up.

Keep in mind that the mix of people asking the questions include some who would think it’s right to pay taxes, and some who wouldn’t.
If Jesus replies that it is NOT lawful to pay taxes, then Jesus will be in trouble with the Roman authorities.
If Jesus replies that it IS lawful to pay taxes to Rome, then the people won’t like Jesus, because the Jewish people hated paying taxes to their Roman overlords.

:24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They answered and said, “Caesar’s.”

:24 Show Me a denarius

A denarius was a type of money.

Video:  Jerry Maguire – Show Me The Money

Jesus might have asked this because He didn’t have a denarius, but it could be that He wants to prove a point with the money in their own pockets.

Showepideiknumi – to exhibit, show

denariusdenarion – a Roman silver coin in NT time.

The name means “ten donkeys”, and was originally meant to equal the value of “ten donkeys”.
This was the principle silver coin of the Roman Empire.
From the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Mat. 20:2-13), it seems to be the equivalent of a days’ wage.

:24 Whose image and inscription does it have?

imageeikon – an image, figure, likeness

inscriptionepigraphe – an inscription, title

In AD 33, The emperor of Rome was Tiberius.  His image would have been on the coin.

:25 And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Renderapodidomi – to pay off, discharge what is due; to give back, restore

thereforetoinun (“truly” + “now”) – therefore, then, accordingly

:26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.

couldischuo – to be strong; to have power; to be able, can

catchepilambanomai – to take in addition, to lay hold of, take possession of, overtake, attain, attain to

wordsrhema – that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word; subject matter of speech, thing spoken of

marveledthaumazo – to wonder, wonder at, marvel

kept silentsigao – to keep silence, hold one’s peace

:22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes



Jesus has already been challenged regarding a Jewish Temple tax:
(Matthew 17:24–27 NKJV) —24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” 26 Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”

Jesus’ argument was that since He and his disciples were part of the family of God, that they ought to be exempt from paying the Temple Tax.

Yet lest they offend others, they paid the tax.

Even though there was a miraculous aspect of Peter finding a fish with a coin in its mouth, Peter was a fisherman.  He paid the tax by going to work.

There are some people who claim to be Christians, and suggest that we shouldn’t be paying taxes to the government.
They will say things like, “Our nation supports abortion, so I will not give them any of my money”.
Our nation has certainly eroded morally through the years, but to be honest, it’s nothing like the world in the days of Jesus or Paul.  When Paul wrote to the Romans thirty years after Jesus’ death, Caesar Nero had been emperor in Rome for ten years.
If you think any of our politicians are bad people, you should look at the life of Nero.  He became emperor by poisoning his adopted father, emperor Claudius. He was criticized for craving personal popularity. He was known for frequenting brothels and taverns.  Over his life, Nero killed wives, brothers, mentors, and even his own mother.  And that was before he got really crazy when he burned Rome and began the persecution of Christians.
Nero was emperor when Paul wrote,
(Romans 13:1–7 NKJV) —1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

The government has the right to punish lawbreakers (the sword).

The police have the right to write you that ticket when you break the speed limit.

5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

We should not only pay taxes, but show respect.

We ought to be paying our taxes.
Some employers pay their workers in cash to avoid paying taxes.  Don’t do that.
Don’t cheat the government from what you owe it.
We should also be careful not to pay more taxes than we should.
We are to be good stewards of the finances God has entrusted us with.
Be wise about your taxes.

If the government gives you the legal ability to pay less, take advantage of it.

Take your deductions.  Have your taxes done properly.

Whatever you don’t give the government you can use for the kingdom of God.

:25 render … to Caesar … and to God


Two Different Worlds

Disneyland used to have an attraction called “Country Bear Jamboree”.
One song in the attraction had a particular impact on Deb and I.

Video:  Disneyland Country Bear Jamboree 2001 (7:36 - 8:23)

“Two Different Worlds”

Why did that song impact us?

Because often at night, she is covered up with three blankets, and I’m sleeping on top of the covers.

When that happens, one of us will sing, “Two different worlds, we live in two different worlds…”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we also live in “two different worlds”.
Most of us here are citizens of the United States of America.
Those of us who are believers in Jesus are also citizens of heaven.
It’s like having dual passports.
Just as we ought to be paying taxes in this “world” we live in, we also ought to engage the world we live in.
It’s not wrong for Christians to be involved in politics.
I have been blessed to see the growing influence that Mike Pence is bringing our nation.  Here’s a clip from his speech at last Friday’s “March for Life”:
Video:  Pence’s entire “March for Life” rally speech (5:55-8:14)

I like that quote, “Compassion is overcoming convenience”.

While issues like abortion are clear cut when it comes to what God’s heart is and where we should be, there are other issues that are a little more complicated.
How should we handle the immigration issues?

I’m not talking about whether we should stop terrorists from entering our country, but the issue of the millions of Hispanic illegal immigrants already living here.

It’s a complicated issue.

There is the issue of illegal immigrants taking jobs from those who are citizens.

We are a nation of laws, and our laws ought to be respected, including immigration laws.

Yet what do we do when our own politicians don’t want to enforce the laws we already have, without changing those laws?

As Bible believing people, we have other obligations such as,

(Exodus 22:21 NKJV) “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

More than a few of the people who stand in line at our monthly food outreach are illegal immigrants.

When the Syrian refugee crisis was at its height in Europe, Caleb and his team in Hungary used the opportunity before them and reached out to the flood of people on their doorstep.  Many came to Christ.

It’s complicated.

When we get too attached to this world, we tend to get too attached to a single political party.
Both parties have some valuable ideas.
Both have some problems.
Though you might be registered with a particular political party, our ultimate loyalty is not to a party, but to Jesus.
Whether you agree or even like President Trump, you and I have an obligation.
(1 Timothy 2:1–4 NKJV) —1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Paul wrote this when Nero was in Rome, and the Herods were in Palestine.

We ought to be praying for our leaders, with the ultimate goal that people get saved.

Though Mr. Trump (as with our previous President) deserves our respect (Rom. 13:7) and prayers (1Tim. 2:2), he is not our true leader as believers.
We follow a king.
When Jesus was on trial before Pilate, Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king…

(John 18:36 NKJV) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

In both Greek and English, the words “citizen” and “citizenship” are based on the word “city”.
(Hebrews 11:8–10 NKJV) —8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

We are a bit like Abraham, living here in the United States like we were living in a foreign country, waiting for that day when we will go home to our true kingdom, our true “city”, heaven.

We may live in Fullerton, but like Abraham, our true home town is heaven.

Paul wrote,
(Philippians 3:17–20 NLT) —17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

We ought to be acting as citizens of heaven, not citizens of this world.

Be careful about being known as a person who wants to follow President Trump.

We ought to be known for following King Jesus.

What is the goal of our king?  What is the focus of our kingdom?

(Luke 19:10 NKJV) for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jesus didn’t come to save Republicans or Democrats.  He came to save sinners.

We are all sinners.

Jesus died so that you can find that greatest thing that you were born for – to know your God.

One last thought…In our passage, one way we “render to Caesar” is by paying our taxes.
So how do we “render to God”?
Paul put it this way:

(Romans 12:1–2 NLT) —1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

(Philippians 1:27 NKJV) Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,
Let the proof of your citizenship be worthy of the gospel.  Show the world what “nation” you belong to – the kingdom of God.
(Hebrews 11:16 NKJV) But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
(Hebrews 13:14 NKJV) For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.
To the overcomers in the city of Philadelphia, Jesus wrote,
(Revelation 3:12 NKJV) He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
John tells us about our “city”.
(Revelation 21:2–4 NKJV) —2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”