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15. Luke 20: “Christ’s TRUE Pedigree”

Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 12/15/2011

(edited September 2019)


Last month we discussed how Christ’s right to the throne of David came through the lineage of His mother, Mary (see Luke 3:32), not that of His step-father, Joseph (see Matt. 1:5). Joseph, like Mary, was a descendant of David but his family line had been cursed in the Old Testament (see Jeremiah 22:24). 


That is a very interesting study and concept. I first encountered it in the writings of the great Bible teacher, Dr. J. Vernon McGee. But tonight we are going to look at a different “pedigree” of Christ. One He, Himself, presented to defend His authority and qualification for leadership.


And why was He being challenged? Well, here in the Book of Luke, we see a couple reasons:

Luke 19: 41-48

1. He was publicly weeping as others were joyfully celebrating His “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem:

Verses 41-44: “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”


We still celebrate this event today every “Palm Sunday,” correct? But would Christ’s reaction to the events of that day fit in with our celebrations today? Apparently, it seemed strange to many back then. Crying while others laughed? Was it a sign of feebler-mindedness? Weakness on Christ’s part, or the result of some keen insight not apparent to others?


2. Jesus also took strong, authoritative action without any formal approval from local religious authorities:

Verses 45-46: “And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.”


Don’t we, as worshippers today, often plead for Christ to enter into our houses of worship and religious services and activities? I know I have expressed that sentiment, many times. But would we be willing to fully submit to His authority? What if He made radical changes to some of our traditions? Might we question Him? I’m not saying we all would, but it makes you think, doesn’t it? In His day the reaction was quite mixed:

Verses 47-48: “And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.”


And this is what those who would not accept Him said:


Luke 20 verses 1-2: “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 here, in response, is the “pedigree” that Jesus presented in His own defense:


Verses 3-8: “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.”


Like Mary, John the Baptist’s mother, Elizabeth, had experienced a miracle birth. That baby also grew into a man of God. Jesus says the power He has is from the same source as that of His cousin, John.


Verses 9-18: “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.”


As prejudiced and dense as they were being, surely the chief priests and company must have recognized God, the Father, as the father in this parable. Did they recognize the “beloved son” in verse 13 as Christ, the Son of God?


Verses 19-24:  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. 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. And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's.”


It would have been patently illegal for Jesus to publicly question the authority of Caesar and his empire. But our Lord is cunningly setting a trap for them within their trap for Him. And His final answer silences all the critics:


Verses 25-26: “And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's. And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.


Then along comes a new set of critics. These Sadducees aren’t directly questioning Christ. They do, however, doubt the power of God:


Verses 27-33:  Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.  And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.”


Notice how seamlessly our Lord goes into defending God the Father:


Verses 34-38:  And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.”


Now the scribes, who apparently had continued listening to all this, arrive at this conclusion. All the critics present there did too, I believe.


Verses 39-40:  Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said.  And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.”


They actually compliment Christ. But Jesus has still more to say to them. He’s off the defensive now and really opens up about His family tree. Look at this:


Verses 41-44:  And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David's son? And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?”


This is a reference to what we know today as Psalm 110. Read that entire Psalm, if you will. Many times in the Psalms, King David would “transcend” speaking about himself and begin prophesying about the Messiah to come. I have often wondered how aware David was of these transitions in his writings and thinking. It is the work of the Holy Spirit both to have produced those Psalms originally and to help us all to fully profit from reading them today.


Well, Jesus gets it. Do we? He is teaching that there are vagaries in His ties to authority through David. The real point is that the authority of Christ does not come from King David. Mary’s lineage provided His humanity and that matters very much, but Jesus gets His authority, His power, from the OTHER side of His Family, from the PATERNAL side, directly from none other than GOD ALMIGHTY.


The Lord closes with this sobering warning to all of them, and to all of us:


Verses 45-47:  Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples,  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; Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.”