God’s Purposes, God’s Authority, and God’s Son
Luke 19:45 – 20:18
February 14, 2021
 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold,  saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”  And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him,  but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words. (ESV)
 One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up  and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”  He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me,  was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?”  And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’  But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.”  So they answered that they did not know where it came from.  And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
 And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while.  When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed.  And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.  And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out.  Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’  But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’  And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?  He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!”  But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?
 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” (ESV)
- The events of our passage took place on Monday and Tuesday of Passion week.
- On Monday Jesus cleansed the the Temple.
- On Tuesday Jesus’ confronted the religious leaders and in the process taught important lessons.
Lesson #1 Live for God’s purposes
...More specifically Live for God’s purposes through the NT temple of God which is the church.
- The temple courts were intended by God to be a sacred place of Prayer, a holy place where God manifested His presence, and a consecrated place of praise to God.
- Jesus walked into the temple courts. As he entered those courts, He saw animals being bought and sold, perhaps other religious items as well, and money being exchanged from one currency to another.
- The problem Jesus was confronting here wasn’t the fact that animals were being bought and sold, but where they were being bought and sold (God’s Holy Temple) and the exploitation of buyers that was taking place in the process. How could God’s sacred place of worship be treated with such great contempt and be so utterly profaned?
- “It is written” Jesus said, “My house shall be a house of prayer.” In that verse Jesus was citing Is. 56 where the prophet declares God’s purpose for the temple.
Isaiah 56:6–7  “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant—  these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (ESV)
- Jesus’ frustration in this instance was not only with the evil before him that he saw; it was also that God’s temple was not fulfilling it’s God ordained purpose. It was not the place of prayer it was intended to be and it was NOT serving as a light to the Gentiles who God wanted to draw to Himself.
- Rather than get behind and support God’s purpose for the temple and promote that, the religious leaders co-opted the temple for their own selfish purposes, for their own personal wealth, for their own private gain.
- Reading this through the lens of the NT where we know the temple isn’t a building, but instead it’s God’s people, it’s the church – a profound lesson can be drawn from this story.
- While the religious leaders were obviously extreme, a potential temptation we may face, at least at times, is to view the church church selfishly–as if the church is more about “what I am getting out of it (or not getting out of it)” than it is God’s purposes and glory.
- A good take home lesson: Take care to not relate to the church in a self-serving way; instead give your life sacrificially to God’s purposes through the church.
- God’s temple was God’s temple–it was not the priests temple. It didn’t belong to them. And God’s church is God’s church…its not ours. It doesn’t belong to the pastors. It doesn’t belong to the people. It doesn’t belong to anyone of us.
- God’s church is God’s church. And He has glorious purposes for His church.
- In the New Testament, we see God works very specifically through local churches made up of believers that love one another, serve one another, care for one another, minister to one another with the goal that each local church shines the light of the glory of Christ to the unsaved people around them.
- Here’s a question worth considering: How is God calling you to give yourself to God’s purposes through the church?
- If we truly have a high view of the church and God’s purposes for the church and if we truly believe the church is the NT temple of God and God is using it to draw lost people to himself and if f we truly love the church, those convictions and desires will inevitably find practical outward expression.
- The irony is when we give ourselves most fully to God’s purposes instead of our own, that’s when the deepest most lasting fulfillment is found.
- As Jesus has said “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Lesson #2 Submit to God’s authority
- To be more specific…submit to Gods authority through Jesus.
- Jesus saw that the religious leaders were not interested in getting an honest answer to their question… so he answered their question with a question. He asked them verse 4 “was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?“
- This was a brilliant move on Jesus’ part. Because if they said “from God,” then Jesus could have said, “why didn’t you listen to John?”
- On the other hand if the religious leaders said that John’s baptism was merely from man, then they would be in real trouble with the people who believed that John the Baptist was a genuine prophet.
- Seeing the predicament that they were in, the religious leaders just decided to not answer the question.
- In response, in verse eight Jesus basically said ‘well if you’re not going to answer the question, then I’m not going to tell you by who’s authority I do these things.’
- In this way Jesus exposed the fact that the religious leaders really weren’t honestly wanting to know if Jesus was acting on God‘s authority. The reality is, by this time, there was plenty of evidence that Jesus was God’s Son acting on God’s behalf with divine authority.
- The problem was the religious leaders just didn’t want to submit to His authority. They did not want to yield to it. Instead they wanted to do everything possible to get around Jesus’ authority, to try to circumvent it, to act as if it didn’t exist.
- The difficulty is, you can’t just do that because Jesus happens to be Lord of all, He is king of all, He is God of all.
- The question we all must face is “will we submit to Jesus?”
- Let’s not ever forget that we are people under authority.
- Our lives are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price therefore we don’t just do what we want. We don’t try to creatively circumvent or get around Jesus’ authority. We don’t just live as we please. Rather we submit.
- We seek to yield moment by moment, day by day, year-by-year to the king of kings and Lord of lords.
Lesson #3 Listen to God’s Son
- In this parable, the owner of the vineyard represents God the Father. The tenants represent the religious leaders and the people of Israel. The servants represent the prophets that repeatedly called the people of God to repentance. The Father’s son clearly represents Jesus the Son of God. And the vineyard represents the kingdom of God
- The consequence of the tenants’ murder of the Son was that the owner promised to come and destroy the tenants and give the Vineyard to others.
- The clear message was that the judgment of God was coming upon all who would reject Jesus, the Son of God, including the religious leaders and others who rejected him at the time. The Vineyard, the kingdom of God, would be given to all who would but receive Jesus.
- But what happens to the Son? What happens to the one who died? What happens to Jesus? Jesus answers that question in verse 17 when he quotes the prophetic word of the Psalmist who, speaking of Jesus, declared “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
- The victorious resurrected Lord Jesus is the foundation stone of the church. The church is built upon Him.
- Then in verse 18 Jesus says  “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” In other words the stone that is the cornerstone of the church, Jesus, will bring judgment on all who don’t receive Him. The stone will have a devastating effect, a ruinous effect, a crushing effect on those who don’t receive Him.
- Scholars note that the language and imagery Jesus uses in vs 18 seem to be drawn from two OT passages — Is. 8:14 and Daniel 2:34-35.
- The Isaiah passage speaks very clearly to the crushing effect of the stone, who is Christ.
- The Daniel passage does as well, but it has an inspiring note of victory also — “But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth (verse 35).”
- Jesus’ words in our passage today should both sober us and encourage us.
- We should be sobered because what happens to those who ultimately and finally reject Christ is indeed sobering.
- Even as he prophesied his death, our Lord didn’t leave it there. Jesus used the imagery of the stone in order to convey that his death would mark the beginning of something glorious. “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” and “the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
- This reminds us that the gospel, the church, the kingdom of God is not an impossible task. It is not a futile undertaking. It is not a losing enterprise.
- May we respond to God’s Word this morning by yielding and submitting more fully to Christ, and resolving by God’s grace, by the power of the Spirit … to give ourselves to God’s purposes together. To building his kingdom together. To building His church together. To proclaiming Christ together.
- As we do, we might find ourselves surprised at how God uses and moves through ordinary people like us.
Questions For Discussion/Application:
- Re-read the text, Luke 19:45 – 20:18. What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
- Why did Jesus cleanse the temple? What was being done that was so wrong? What is it that stirred righteous anger and indignation in His soul?
- Read Isaiah 56:6–7. From that passage, what do we learn was God’s intended purpose for the temple? How does the church fulfill that purpose?
- What is God’s purpose for the church?
- In what ways can Christians, at times, view the church selfishly?
- What does it look like for us to give ourselves to God’s purpose through the church?
- In the discussion about Jesus’ authority, it is evident that the religious leaders clearly didn’t want to submit to God’s authority through Christ. What does it mean to submit to Jesus’ authority in an initial way? What does it mean to submit to Jesus authority in an ongoing way throughout our lives? In what ways do we struggle still, after conversion, to submit to Jesus’ authority? How can we grow in the area of submission to Christ?
- In the parable of the tenants, we see there are consequences to not receiving and believing in Jesus. What are those consequences?
- Re-read the notes above under point #3 “Listen to God’s Son.” How does this parable encourage us and give us hope for how God is at work today through the proclamation of the gospel?
- Consider taking time to pray. Pray that God would help us to invest our lives in His purposes through the church. Pray that God would help us to increasingly submit to Jesus authority. And pray that God would help us to faithfully proclaim Christ and that God would work through us to save many.
Questions For Discussion/Application (parents with younger children):
Devotional #1: Focus on the first story of Jesus cleansing the temple – Luke 19:45–48.
- Read the passage.
- “When was a time when you were angry?”
- Explain: Jesus was angry here too, but he was not sinfully angry. He was righteously angry. Explain how Jesus’ anger is unlike ours. His anger is without any sin whatsoever. He is grieved and is righteously angry when people disobey his good commands and do things that are harmful to themselves and others.
- Explain: One main reason Jesus cleansed the temple, is because he was righteously angry that the Temple was not being used for worship and prayer. Instead it was being used for other things and people were not being blessed by the temple in the way God wanted.
- This illustration is imperfect but it may be helpful –
- Imagine what it would be like to go to church, and no one was worshipping and there was no Bible teaching and people were just playing board games or video games?
- This illustration is imperfect but it may be helpful –
- What reasons can you think of that we go to church? (To hear God’s Word, to worship, to fellowship with other Christians.)
- In what ways does God want to use the church in the world? (To be a light and preach the gospel.)
- In what ways is our church a blessing and encouragement to us as a family?
- Consider having your child(ren) draw a picture showing why we go to church. This might be a picture of people listening to the Word, or worshipping, or fellowshipping with each other or all of the above!
- Pray: Take time to pray for our church and God’s blessing on the people in our church.
Devotional #2: Focus on the second story — Jesus talking to the Pharisees. Luke 20:1–8
- Read the passage.
- Explain: The religious authorities asked Jesus by what authority He cleansed the temple, but they didn’t really want to submit to His authority. They didn’t want to obey Him and do what He says.
- Who is in charge of everything ? (God)
- Who is in charge of you? (your parents)
- Who do Daddy and Mommy have to obey? (God)
- Who do you have to obey (My parents)?
- What does God’s Word say about children obeying their parents?
- Ephesians 6:1  Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
- Explain: Children obey God in part by obeying their parents.
- Why do we struggle to obey?
- Explain: We struggle to obey, because of remaining sin in our hearts. This is why we need a Savior who died to forgive us of our disobedience and to give us His Holy Spirit who helps us to obey.
- What does it mean for kids to obey Jesus? (They obey their parents, they obey what the Bible says).
- Imagine there is a little boy Johnny and his mom tells him every day to make his bed when he wakes up in the morning. But day after day instead of obeying his mom, Johnny just doesn’t make his bed. He just doesn’t want to do it. What is wrong with Johnny’s heart? What would you tell Johnny?
- This is a great opportunity to remind your children of what true repentance is and looks like.
- Pray: Take time to pray and ask God to help us all to grow as a family in our obedience to Jesus.
Devotional 3: Focus on the third story — Parable of the Tenants . Luke 20:9-18
- Read the passage.
- Read the first three points in the notes above under the point “Listen to God’s Son.”
- Start by telling your kids a story of a time when you didn’t want to listen to your parents, or some other authority in your life, when they were trying to tell you to do something.
- Has there ever been a time where you haven’t wanted to listen to your parents and do what they were telling you to do?
- Explain that the people Jesus were speaking to didn’t want to listen to Jesus. Take the opportunity to share the gospel with your child(ren) and explain the importance of receiving Jesus into our hearts by putting our faith in him and turning from our sins. Also talk about the importance of opening our hearts to Jesus and drawing near to him every day.