February 27, 2020

Truth Silences Even the Craftiest of Deceivers

Luke 20:19–47

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Paying Taxes to Caesar

19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality,1 but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius.2 Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar's.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection

27 There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, 28 and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man3 must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second 31 and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. 32 Afterward the woman also died. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”

34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons4 of the resurrection. 37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” 39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

Whose Son Is the Christ?

41 But he said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David's son? 42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms,

  “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
  “Sit at my right hand,
43     until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

44 David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?”

Beware of the Scribes

45 And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 47 who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”


[1] 20:21 Greek and do not receive a face
[2] 20:24 A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer
[3] 20:28 Greek his brother
[4] 20:36 Greek huioi; see Preface

Truth Silences Even the Craftiest of Deceivers

Key Verse | Luke 20:26, 40

"And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent. . . . For they no longer dared to ask him any question." 

Bio | Chris Baird

Howdy, y'all! Yesterday, you got to meet Celin, my Proverbs 31:10 wife of six years. We enjoy watching movies and serving together at Watermark's biblical recovery ministry, re:generation, and marriage ministry, re|engage. Join me as we dive back into Luke 20.

Central Truth

While we may not be able to outmaneuver a foe in a verbal engagement, our role is to boldly speak the truth in love (1 Corinthians 16:14) and trust God with the results.

Devotional | Luke 20:19–47

Having just realized they were the subject of The Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Luke 20:9-18), "[t]he scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on [Jesus] at that very hour . . . ." (Luke...

Having just realized they were the subject of The Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Luke 20:9-18), "[t]he scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on [Jesus] at that very hour . . . ." (Luke 20:19) These guys were not looking to have a conversation with Jesus to work things out, but rather wanted to end Him and the way He publicly called out their hypocrisy and hard hearts. 

They conspired and developed another plan to trip Him up publicly so they could have Him arrested and jailed—and ultimately executed. After faking sincerity, they buttered Him up with flattery and attempted to hook Him with a question that would cause Him to speak against Caesar, the powerful Roman emperor. What happened next is why we should pay attention when we see a but in the Bible, as it tells us something big is about to happen. (E.g., Ephesians 2:4; Titus 3:4)

Luke 20:23 begins with "[b]ut he perceived their craftiness," and then Jesus answered in a way that not only avoided disrespecting the emperor but also silenced His critics and even caused them to wonder (Luke 20:26).

Next, the Sadducees presented a long and complex question to Jesus about resurrection in an attempt to get Him to contradict some teachings of Moses (Luke 20:28-33). Their hearts were not to learn anything (Jeremiah 17:9-10) from Jesus; they didn't believe resurrection to be real. As with the Pharisees, Jesus answered their question in such a way that some of the scribes complimented Him (Luke 20:39). We are then told "they no longer dared to ask him any question." (Luke 20:40)

We have all been in a situation in which we are being set up or even trapped in a conversation. In this passage, Jesus is showing us what it means to "[w]alk in wisdom toward outsiders . . . so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." (Colossians 4:5-6)

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Discussion Questions

1. When was the last time you tried to outsmart God in order to get what you wanted? How did that work out for you? (Proverbs 14:12)

2. Are you prepared to give an answer for the hope you have in Christ? (1 Peter 3:15) If not, some great next steps could be Watermark's Equipped Disciple, Men's Summit, or Women's Bible Study.

3. What are some ways you are prone to act or behave like the Sadducees or Pharisees? This can manifest as pride, comparison, exclusivity, and many other vices. A great book to dive into is Accidental Pharisees by Larry Osborne.

10 Comments available

greg jones about 1 month ago
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“I’m so curious about what heaven will be like with no pride!“

Wow, never thought of heaven that way before. I think I always picture people retaining their pride in heaven.

Great insight.

Sam Denmark about 1 month ago

Anybody else a little thrown off by 41-47? Here we just finished Jesus throwing their questions right back at them, but he introduces a new topic (to my understanding to show them they still have little knowledge). He raised the question of Whose Son is the Christ…just a little more on his statement that they don’t understand his true purpose.

I also really enjoy noticing the word ‘disciples’ being used. For the longest time I read this as his twelve but it appears in this context it is the whole assembly of those listening to pursue Him?

Linda Green about 1 month ago

Thanks, Chris-imagine it brings joy to both of you to share the redemption Jesus brings, as you serve in ReGen and ReEngage!

A line in a song we sing reminded me of your devo and passage today: “I stop all negotiations with the God of all Creation. You’re bigger than I thought You were…” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxFFJDsRP2M

Trey Collins about 1 month ago

Great devo Chris! I love the answer Jesus gives with the denari. That has always struck me as such a wise, smart answer to their riddle.

In my life I’m not trying to “catch” Jesus, but I do often try to “negotiate” Jesus rather than fully devote and follow. I like to be in control. Praying for us this morning to humbly serve Christ alone today.

Andrea Rush about 1 month ago

Thank you for your insight. Your last is everything. May we be given boldness and discernment in knowing how to navigate both outsiders and the Sadducees and Pharisees in our lives, sharing both bold truth and Spirit-led grace are He directs.

michael mcgowen about 1 month ago

Marriage is very difficult sometimes, it’s amazing the people on this journey you’re marriages look like Disney movies you guys sell it like the cover of a magazine, a good wife is a gift from the lord, I’m trying more and more to pray while I’m driving to work, usually it’s me asking you god to not let these people make the same mistakes I’ve made, I’ve always wished someone would of tapped me on the shoulder and said don’t do that, but that’s looking back I’m gonna look forward and be a real man and tap people on the shoulder for the rest of my life, not everyone is perfect and I definitely like sitting on the back row, and I’m a master at quick nutshell prayers, thank you Jesus for making me a straight to the point kinda guy

Michael Scaman about 1 month ago

Jesus already launched a number of parables that got under the skin of the Pharisees and Sadducees, not the least of which was the only one with a named individual Lazarus and the rich man

The rich man resigned to his fate in hell, hoped to send his brothers a ‘sign and wonder’ of someone back from the dead they knew to warn them, Lazarus.

Take it as a warning, Pharisee and Saducee alike, Jesus just raised Lazarus of Bethany and Lazarus is now alive and kicking and nearby and a living monument to God. But they don’t listen, don’t like it and aren’t listening to Moses and the prophets, not really.

Michael Scaman about 1 month ago

Who’s son is the Christ? Psalm 110 is part of the prelude to the Passover psalms of 113-118 and Jesus is kicking the start and end of those in his discussions

At the start of the passover songs Ps 109 (the betrayal by Judas) leads into Ps 110 (exultation of Jesus) and no coincidence placed in the book of Psalms right before the Passover Psalms as Jesus is out ultimate Passover!

At the end is Psalm 118 ‘the stone the builders rejected’

The Passover songs are songs of Jesus

Sue Bohlin about 1 month ago

Hey Chris! Thanks for serving with Celin.

What struck me in today’s passage was the various faces of sinful pride, which has to be the stinkiest stink in the nostrils of God. Pretending to be sincere, attempting to catch the Messiah in a trap, devising a crazy-complicated hypothetical challenge, not answering Jesus’ question about the very Word of God they were supposedly experts in, reveling in the perks of religious celebrity, taking the houses of the most defenseless adults in the community, and praying long prayers to impress others.

It’s a wonder Jesus didn’t just stand there and say, “You disgust Me.”

But the same God who is disgusted by pride, extends grace and forgiveness to us as He invites us to come follow Him and lay down that pride so He can help us deal with it.

I’m so curious about what heaven will be like with no pride!

Hugh Stephenson about 1 month ago

“People want affirmation, not transformation.” I was taught this truth years ago. Eisegesis versus exegesis. AKA confirmation bias.

I am taught the Bible teaches more on money than any other subject. Makes sense. It’s the easiest way for Satan to tempt me. When I have enough money to provide for myself why do I need to surrender control of my life to Him and His provision?

Money & investing teach that truth is independent of me. My spending/investment decisions are either right or wrong based on their intrinsic merits. Bad beliefs yield bad results.

I love how Jesus uses money to teach the scribes and chief priests the truth. Their craftiness is no match for His truth.

Once again, I am called to know the truth of who God is. Opinions are worthless. His Word, His Spirit and His people guide me to learn his goodness and kindness.

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