Luke chapter 20 is an absolutely shocking chapter. I don’t know how much you’ve felt this as we’ve looked at it over the past few weeks – Jesus says some absolutely outrageous things! Have a look at verse 16. “When the people heard this, they said ‘May this never be!’” They couldn’t believe what they had just heard. Outrageous! You can’t say that!
Those of us who were here last week saw how Luke wrote this chapter so that we, his readers, can be really, really wise. Luke doesn’t want us to learn from our mistakes; he wants us to go one better than that – he wants us to learn from the mistakes of others before we even make them ourselves.
Jesus told a parable about a vineyard that had tenants. The tenants thought they owned the place, and so mistreated the servants sent to collect some of the fruit, and finally they killed the owner’s son. The owner kicked them out of his vineyard, and gave the vineyard to a new set of tenants.
Last week Peter talked about the dramatic end of Luke chapter 19. Jesus is being cheered and hurrahed into Jerusalem, palm branches waving, crowds ecstatic. And all of a sudden he stops and, very publicly, he weeps. He weeps because the leaders in Jerusalem have not realised who he is, and as a result the city will be brutally demolished – down to the last stone, down to the last child. And then he goes into the temple and drives out the profiteering merchants, to foreshadow the horrendous judgment that will befall the city and its temple.