Jesus Completes his Work in Jerusalem
An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Luke 19:45 to 21:38
This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
Verses 45-46 Jesus had come into Jerusalem on the previous day. He went into the *temple and he had a look round. Then he left the city and he spent the night in Bethany (Mark 11:11). The next morning, Jesus came again to the *temple.
In the *temple area, there was a market. This part of the *temple area was open to people who were not *Jews. It was the only part of the *temple where they could pray to God.
On a previous occasion, John tells us that the traders sold *oxen, sheep and *doves (John 2:14). Also, there were traders who changed money. These animals and the *doves were for the *sacrifices. The *Jewish people had to give these *sacrifices. It was easier to buy the animals here rather than to bring them from home.
Every *Jew had to pay a *temple tax. This was a half *shekel. If they did not have *shekels, they had to change some money into *shekels. All of these activities were necessary. However, they should not have happened in the *temple area. The *temple was a place to pray, not to carry on trade.
Jesus was angry. He forced out of the *temple those men who sold things. He chased out the men who bought. He pushed over the tables of the men who changed money. He pushed over the seats of the men who sold *doves (Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15). Nobody had the courage to oppose him.
Jesus taught that the *temple was God’s house. It was where people should come to pray (Isaiah 56:7). It was not a market place. Jesus called the traders ‘robbers’ because they were not honest. They were greedy. They charged more than they should have done (Jeremiah 7:10-11).
Verses 47-48 Jesus taught in the *temple each day until the leaders arrested him in Gethsemane. Gethsemane is a garden below the hill called the Mount of Olives. All this time the chief priests and other leaders looked for a way to kill Jesus. But they were afraid of the people. The ordinary people wanted to hear the things that Jesus was teaching.
Verses 1-8 In the *temple, Jesus *preached the *gospel to the people. While he taught the people, a group of the leaders came to him. This group consisted of the chief priests, teachers of the law and other leaders. They could have been an official team from the *Sanhedrin. They asked Jesus about his authority for what he did. This question may have been because of the way that he forced the traders to leave the *temple area. But it probably included much more than that action. The group of leaders could see that Jesus had authority. But they asked who gave that authority to him.
It seems clear that they wanted to use Jesus’ answers against him. Jesus knew what they were trying to do. So, he did not answer as they expected. Instead, he asked them a question. He asked them about the authority of John the *Baptist to *baptise. That *baptism was either from God or from John himself. This question caused these leaders a problem. They were the leaders of the *Jewish religion. They ought to have known the answer.
The group of leaders did not want to say that the *baptism of John was from God. If it was from God, they should have believed John. John had said that Jesus was the *Christ. And they should have asked John to *baptise them. However, the leaders could say that the *baptism was a human idea. If they said this, then the people would be against them. The people knew that John was a *prophet. The people were aware that John’s authority was from God. These leaders were afraid of what the people would do. The people might throw stones at them and try to kill them.
These leaders dared not answer the question that Jesus had asked. So, Jesus would not answer their question.
In effect, they had the answer. God, who gave authority to John, also gave authority to Jesus. With that authority, Jesus *preached and he did these great deeds.
Verses 9-12 Jesus told this story in order to warn the leaders of the people that they were not obeying God. In the story, a property owner planted a *vineyard. He rented it to farmers while he went away. At harvest time, the owner sent his servants to receive his share of the harvest. That was the rent that was due. However, the farmers would not hand over what was due. Instead, the farmers beat and they insulted the servants. It seems that this continued for several years.
Luke has made the story shorter than Matthew and Mark. They tell us a bit more about the preparation of the *vineyard. The owner sent many servants. The farmers beat them. They threw stones at some and they killed some of the servants (Matthew 21:33-36, Mark 12:1-5).
Verses 13-16 If this had been a true story, probably the owner would have appealed to the law. But in the story, the owner had one son. He loved his son. He sent this son to collect what was due to him. The owner hoped that the farmers would respect his son.
The farmers had paid no rent for several years. The real owner was a long way away. Perhaps the farmers thought that the owner was dead. Or maybe he had already given the *vineyard to his son. If the farmers killed the son, they could take the *vineyard for themselves. It would become their own property. So, they threw the son out of the *vineyard and they killed him.
Jesus discussed with the people what the owner would do. In Matthew, the people gave the answer (Matthew 21:41). Probably Jesus repeated their answer to show that he agreed with it. The owner would kill those wicked men. He would rent the *vineyard to other farmers who would give him his share at the proper time each year.
It is the meaning of the whole story (and not each detail in it) that is important. It would be a mistake to try to interpret every detail. God’s *vineyard means his people (see Isaiah 5:1-7). The leaders of the people were like the farmers. God had given the leaders the responsibility to look after his people, even as the farmers had to look after the *vineyard. However, many leaders of *Israel would not do what God wanted. God sent his servants, that is, the *prophets, to them. In the history of *Israel, many of its leaders had *persecuted the *prophets. They threw stones at some and they killed many of the *prophets. But the love of God is very strong. He decided to give the leaders of his people another opportunity to obey him. So, God sent his son Jesus to them. The leaders at the time of Jesus may have thought that they were serving God well The *temple was beautiful, and they carried out all the ceremonies. However, like many leaders before them, the most important leaders did not want to obey God. They had opposed John the *Baptist and now they were plotting to kill Jesus. Jesus knew what would happen to him.
Of course God would punish the leaders who did such evil things. He would remove their authority to rule his people. He would allow people from every nation to serve him.
Now both *Jews and people who are not *Jews have the opportunity to serve God. Together, they are his *vineyard (John 15:1-8, Romans 11:17-24).
The fruit that God wants is for people to trust him and to obey him.
Verses 17-18 Jesus reminded the leaders about the *scriptures (Psalm 118:22-24). Matthew and Mark include, ‘God has done this. And it is wonderful to us.’
We do not know what was the most important stone. It could have been a large stone in the base of the building. That stone would establish the shape of the building. It could have been the top stone on a corner of the building. That stone would hold the walls together. It could have been the top stone of the building. That stone would hold the whole structure together.
The builders had to be careful to choose the correct stone for the purpose. They would throw out any stone that was not suitable. The workers in stone prepared the stones for the *temple away from the *temple (1 Kings 6:7). There is a story about a stone that the builders refused. The builders could not find where the stone should go. They threw the stone away. Then they discovered that it was the most important stone for the building.
Jesus was like the stone that those builders threw out. The leaders did not want to accept him, so they opposed him. But they had made a terrible mistake. God chose Jesus as the most important stone. All the purposes of God depend on Jesus.
The stone has the power to destroy its enemies. People may refuse and they may oppose Jesus. However, they will suffer because of it. In the day of judgement, God will punish them because of their attitude to Jesus.
Verse 19 These teachers of the law and these chief priests realised that Jesus spoke against them. They were like the bad farmers who would kill the son. Or, they were like the builders who threw away the most important stone. Those leaders should have changed their attitudes when Jesus warned them. However, in fact Jesus’ words made them even more eager to arrest him. But they could not do it because they were afraid of the people.
Verses 20-26 The *Jewish leaders watched Jesus as they looked for an opportunity to arrest him. If they could cause the people to turn away from Jesus then they could act. If they could cause Jesus to offend the *Romans then the *Romans could arrest him. In this way, they could hand him over to the *Roman rulers. The people had to pay taxes to the *Romans. They hated their duty to pay these taxes, because they considered the *Romans their enemies. The *Romans demanded that they paid the taxes. So, the leaders sent some *Pharisees and some of Herod’s party to Jesus (Mark 12:13). Herod was a ruler whom the *Romans had appointed over part of Israel.
These men pretended to be sincere. They called Jesus ‘teacher’. Usually people would use that title to give honour to someone, but here it was *hypocrisy. They said that Jesus always spoke the truth. However, they did not believe him. They said that Jesus was fair. He did not give special attention to any person. They said that Jesus spoke as from God. Again, they did not really believe that.
Then they asked Jesus a question that needed ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as the answer. They asked whether it was right to pay taxes to the *emperor or not. In effect, they asked whether it was legal under God’s law. If Jesus had said ‘yes’, it would have offended the people. If Jesus had said ‘no’, it would have offended the *Romans.
Jesus was too wise for such a question to catch him. He knew what the purpose of the question was. He asked them to show him a *denarius. This was a silver *Roman coin. They had to pay the taxes with such coins. The *denarius had the face and the name of the *emperor, probably Tiberius, on it. Then Jesus gave to them his answer. He told them to give to the *emperor what belonged to him. But they must give to God what belongs to him.
This clever answer astonished them. They were silent. They had failed in their purpose.
Taxes were due to the *emperor. But our lives and everything that we have belong to God.
Verses 27-33 The *Sadducees were a group in the *Jewish religion. The chief priest and many other priests were *Sadducees. The name *Sadducee may have come from Zadok. Zadok was a priest at the time of David (see 2 Samuel 19:11). The *Sadducees did not accept all of the traditions of the *Pharisees. However, the *Sadducees did believe in the Torah. The Torah consists of the first 5 books of the Bible. We do not know whether they accepted the rest of the *Old Testament. But they did not believe in a life after death.
The *Sadducees brought a problem for Jesus to answer. A woman had married 7 brothers in turn. All 7 husbands had died before the widow died. But she had not had a child by any of them. In the next life, which one will be her husband? That was their question.
This question is about the custom called Levirate marriages. The term comes from the word levir in the *Latin language. This word means ‘husband’s brother’. This was an ancient custom. When a man died without children, his brother would marry the widow (see Genesis 38:8). The first child with the widow would be as the child of the dead brother. The purpose of this custom was to keep the dead man’s property in his family. The custom became a law where the brothers lived in the same place (Deuteronomy 25:5-6).
The *Sadducees thought that this question would confuse Jesus. They believed that there is no life after death. They thought that their story proved it. God would not have given a law which caused a woman to have many husbands in the next life.
Verses 34-38 The answer that Jesus gave to them was in two parts. First, he talked about the difference between this life and the next life. This answered the question about marriage. Then he showed the *Sadducees that they were wrong about life after death.
Life after death is not just an extension of this life. It will be very different from life here on earth. Life here on earth ends in death. We cannot think that anything of this life will be the same in the future life. The future life will never end and there will be no death. Only those people whom God accepts will have that new life. He will raise them from death and he will give to them this new life. No person can achieve that life for himself.
People that God raises cannot die. They will be like the *angels. The *angels do not marry and they do not die. The people in that future age will be the children of God.
Those people who believe in Jesus have *eternal life already. But they look forward to the full experience of it in the future. John wrote, ‘We are children of God now. We do not know what we will be. But when Jesus appears, we shall be like him’ (1 John 3:2).
In this life, people marry. In the future life, there is no marriage. In the future life, the widow will not have a husband. She will not be the wife of any of the brothers.
In Matthew and Mark, Jesus started his reply with three statements. The *Sadducees were wrong. They did not know the *scriptures. And they did not know the power of God (Matthew 22:29, Mark 12:24).
The *Sadducees did not understand the *Old Testament. They believed in the 5 books of Moses. But they did not understand the references to life after death in those books. Jesus told them about the time when God met with Moses.
God called to Moses from the bush that burned. God told Moses that he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 3:1-6). Therefore Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were alive but they had all died. They had, or they will have, life after death. This proves that there is a life after death. They are alive with God.
Verse 39-40 The teachers of the law did believe in a life after death. They seemed glad that Jesus had answered the *Sadducees so well. The *Sadducees were not popular with the teachers or with the people.
Nobody dared to ask Jesus any more questions.
Verses 41-44 The *Jews understood that the *Christ would be a *descendant of David. They called the *Christ ‘the son of David’. They expected the *Christ to come as a great king. Even as David defeated the enemies of *Israel, so they expected the *Christ to free them from the *Romans.
People usually believed that an *ancestor was greater than his *descendant. So, the *Jews were speaking as if David was greater than the *Christ. However, David calls the *Christ his ‘*Lord’. David recognised that the *Christ was greater. The *Christ would be both David’s son (*descendant) and his *Lord.
In the Psalms, God tells the *Christ to sit at his right side, that is, in the place of greatest honour. Then God will defeat all the enemies (Psalm 110:1). Paul wrote about Jesus that, in his human nature, he was a *descendant of David. As the *descendant of David, Jesus was a man. But the *Holy Spirit declared that Jesus was the Son of God (Romans 1:3-4). As the Son of God, Jesus is of the nature of God. The *Holy Spirit proved this as he raised Jesus from death.
Verses 45-47 Jesus warned his *disciples about many of the teachers of the law. They were doing the same wrong things that many leaders of religion do still today. They liked other people to think that they were good and important. They wanted people to recognise and to respect them. They considered themselves superior to other people. They made long prayers in order to impress people.
They loved to sit in the most important seats in the *synagogue. These seats were at the front where the leader read the *scriptures. At the front, all the people could see them. The people would think that they were so important.
The teachers of the law could not receive payment from their pupils. They had to teach and not to ask for payment. But they could receive gifts. The teachers encouraged people to give more than they could afford. They took money from even the poorest members of society.
God saw this *hypocrisy. He will be very severe when he punishes such men.
Verses 1-4 In the *temple, there was an area where the women could *worship. In that area was a special room.
That was where the priests stored gold and silver for the *temple. Here the people could put their gifts into 13 boxes. The money in 6 of the boxes was for general use. The money in the other 7 boxes was for particular purposes.
Jesus saw how the people put money into one of these boxes. Many rich people put a lot of money in the box (Mark 12:41). Then he saw a poor widow put two *copper coins in the box. These coins were the smallest of the *Jewish coins. They were worth very little.
Jesus said that this poor widow had given to God more than all the other people. They could afford what they had given to God. They had enough and more than enough for themselves. The value of the gift was in the cost to the person who gave it. She had given all that she had.
The true worth of a gift is not how much a person gives. It is not so much the amount of the gift but the attitude of the person who gives it. By her generous gift, this widow had shown true love for God.
Verses 5-7 The *temple was a magnificent building. It had taken 46 years to build it (John 2:20). The *disciples admired it and they talked about it to Jesus (Mark 13:1, Matthew 24:1). They showed him the beautiful stones with which Herod had built it. But Jesus told them that an enemy would throw down all of these stones. The enemy would destroy the *temple.
Jesus and the *disciples left the *temple area. They went to the hill called the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24:3). As they sat there, they had a wonderful view of the *temple. The *disciples asked when the enemy would destroy the *temple.
In *AD 70, the *Roman army destroyed the *temple. It happened as Jesus had said.
Verses 8-11 Matthew 24:3 refers to three questions that the *disciples asked on this occasion. When shall these things be? What will show us that you are coming? What will show that the end of the world has come? In answer to these questions, Jesus spoke to them about the future. He will come before the end of the age. But that would not happen immediately. Much had to happen before the time when he would return.
Before Jesus comes, there will be many false *prophets. Jesus warned his *disciples not to believe them. Many will come who pretend to be the *Christ. Many people will believe them and they will follow these false *Christs. However, Jesus warns his *disciples not to follow any of these false *Christs.
Before the end comes, there will be wars between nations. There will be many *earthquakes. People will die from the lack of food and because of diseases. There will be strange things in the sky. These things are the beginning of the troubles that will come upon the world.
Verses 12-19 This passage refers to the time before the *Romans destroyed the *temple. But in the same way, people will *persecute those who believe until the end of time.
Jesus told his *disciples that people would *persecute them. The *synagogues were not just places for *worship. There they dealt with legal matters under the *Jewish law. People would drag the *disciples in front of the *synagogue rulers. They would put the *disciples in prison. Also, people who were not *Jews would *persecute the *disciples. Those people who believe in Jesus would stand in front of kings and rulers.
In these circumstances, the Christians would be able to declare what God has done on their behalf. They would not need to make plans about how they should defend themselves. God would show them what to say. They would speak by means of the *Holy Spirit in them (Mark 13:11). Their enemies would not be able by their arguments to overcome the Christians.
The *gospel of *Christ will divide families. Close relatives will become enemies. They will hand Christians over to their enemies. But God is in control and he will work out his purposes. Some of the Christians will die. Then they will go to be with the *Lord Jesus.
People hate Christians because Christians believe in Jesus Christ. But the people of this world cannot hurt Christians unless God allows it. Men may kill the body but they can do nothing more. The real life of a Christian is with the *Lord Jesus. To those Christians who continue to the end, God promises *eternal life.
Verses 20-24 Jesus told the *disciples that armies would surround Jerusalem. The armies would destroy the city. This is not a *prophecy about the end of the present age. It refers to *AD 66 to 70 when the *Romans destroyed Jerusalem. God permitted the *Romans to punish Jerusalem.
It would be normal for people from the country to go into the city in time of war. But Jesus warned his *disciples not to go into the city. Those people who were in the city should come out of it. They should go into the mountains. When the *Romans began to gather round Jerusalem, many of the Christians escaped to Pella. Pella was a town in the region called Decapolis. This region was east of the River Jordan and south of the Sea of Galilee. They were safe there.
As Jesus had said, it was a terrible time. The *Romans killed many thousands of people. And they took several thousands as prisoners. They sent their prisoners into foreign countries. Josephus, a *Jewish writer in the first century, wrote that the *Romans killed 1 100 000 people. He also says that they took 97 000 prisoners. These numbers are probably too large. But they do show how terrible it was.
Jerusalem would be in the control of other nations. This would continue until the times of the nations ended. It is not clear what this means. However, it is my belief that those times are now ending. That is because Jerusalem is not now under the control of the nations.
Verses 25-28 The subject now changes to the time when Jesus will come again. Before he comes there will be strange events in the sky. Matthew and Mark tell us that the sun and the moon will lose their light. They say that stars will seem to fall from the sky. The heavens will shake (Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:24). There will be major effects on the seas and on the earth. All these things will frighten people. These things will cause confusion and terror among the people.
Then Jesus will come with power and great *glory. He will not come in secret. People everywhere will see him as he comes in a cloud. The *disciples saw Jesus as he rose into the cloud. Men in white clothes (actually *angels) told them that Jesus had gone to heaven. They said that he would come again in the same way (Acts 1:9-11).
The people who believe in Jesus will see the strange events in the skies. To them these events show that Jesus will come soon. Unlike other people, they can be confident. When Jesus comes, he will complete the process of *salvation. He will send his *angels to gather those people who belong to him (Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:27).
Verses 29-33 In the spring, new leaves grow on the *fig and other trees. Then it will soon be summer. The new leaves show that summer is near. So, the events in the sky and the sea will show that God’s *kingdom is near. This means that Jesus the king will come soon.
Verse 32 mentions the ‘people of this time’. That cannot mean those people who lived at the same time as Luke. So it probably means the people who live at the time of the strange events in the sky. Those strange events have not happened yet. The ‘people of this time’ is our translation of a particular word in the original language. This word could mean a type or nation of people. Perhaps it means that there will still be *Jews or Christians at that time. The word could mean the normal life of a man. Then the events would last for no more than the period of a man’s life.
One day, God will destroy this earth and sky. But what Jesus said will always last. We can be sure that all these events will happen. It will be as Jesus has spoken.
Verses 34-36 The *Lord Jesus will come suddenly. It will be a surprise to the whole world. They will not prepare themselves for him to come. But those people who belong to Jesus should prepare themselves. They should live as if they expect Jesus to come at any time. They should not give themselves to too much food and drink. They should not let the affairs of this world make them anxious. They should pray for God to help them to be strong in *faith. They should pray that finally they would be able to stand in front of the *Lord Jesus. To stand before the Son of Man means to possess complete *salvation.
Verses 37-38 Each day, Jesus taught in the *temple. But he did not stay in Jerusalem. At night, he went out to the hill called the Mount of Olives.
Jesus was popular with the people. A large number of them came to the *temple early each day to hear him.
AD ~ years after *Christ.
ancestors ~ people in history from whom your family has come.
angel ~ a servant of God from heaven. God made *angels to serve him and to take his messages. So, *angels are God’s servants from heaven. But there are evil *angels who opposed God. These evil *angels now serve the devil.
baptise ~ to carry out the ceremony called *baptism.
baptism ~ a ceremony with water to show that God has forgiven (washed away) a person’s *sin.
Baptist ~ the title of John, which he received because he carried out the ceremony called *baptism.
Christ ~ the Christ is the name for the person whom God would send to be the *Saviour of his people. Jesus is the Christ and he was called Christ.
copper coins ~ coins that were worth very little.
denarius ~ a coin. The plural is denarii.
descendant ~ a future member of a family or nation.
disciple ~ a person who follows a leader, especially the 12 men that Jesus chose to be with him.
dove ~ a bird.
earthquake ~ when the earth shakes, that is an earthquake.
emperor ~ like a king. The *Romans called their most important ruler an emperor.
eternal life ~ life of a new quality for those people who believe in Jesus. This new life will be with Jesus always.
faith ~ trust in someone or something; belief and trust in God and in Jesus Christ his Son.
figs ~ a kind of sweet fruit.
glory ~ great honour and beauty.
gospel ~ the good news that God saves people from *sin because of Jesus Christ.
grapes ~ a fruit from which to make wine.
Holy Spirit ~ God’s Spirit whom Jesus sent to help his people. It is another name for God, also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and the Comforter. The *Holy Spirit is a person but not human. He lives and works for God. He is God, equal with God the Father and with God the Son.
hypocrisy ~ when someone pretends in order to give a false impression.
Israel ~ the country of the *Jews.
Jewish ~ people or things that are from the *Jews.
Jews ~ people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the families of their children.
kingdom ~ the place or territory where a king rules. In the New Testament, this is nearly always the people over whom the king rules and not a territory on earth.
Latin ~ an ancient language.
Lord ~ a title for God, or Jesus, to show that he is over all people and things. In the *Old Testament, LORD was a special name for God.
nurse ~ when a mother gives milk to her baby from her breast.
Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the holy things that the writers wrote before Jesus’ birth.
ox ~ an animal of a similar kind to a cow. The plural is oxen.
Passover ~ annual ceremony to remember God’s rescue of the *Jews from Egypt.
persecute ~ to attack and to hurt people because of what they believe.
Pharisees ~ a group of *Jews who tried to obey all God’s rules. Many of them did not approve of Jesus.
preach ~ to speak out the message from God and to teach his word.
prophecy ~ a message from God; a gift of the *Holy Spirit.
prophet ~ person who speaks for God. A prophet can sometimes say what will happen in the future.
Roman ~ Rome was the capital city of the rulers at that time. Anything that belonged to Rome was Roman.
sacrifice ~ a gift to God to ask him to forgive *sins or to thank him for something. To sacrifice means to make a sacrifice.
Sadducees ~ a group in the *Jewish religion who did not believe in a life after death.
salvation ~ the result when God saves us from *sin and punishment; the new life that God gives to those people who believe in the *Lord Jesus.
Sanhedrin ~ A group of 71 leaders under the high priest who were the *Jewish government.
Saviour ~ a title for Jesus, who saves his people from their *sins.
scriptures ~ the books of the Bible.
shekel ~ *Jewish money.
sin ~ sin is the wrong things that we do. To sin is to do wrong, bad or evil deeds and not to obey God.
synagogue ~ a building where *Jews gather for prayer; a meeting place for *Jews.
temple ~ a special building for the *worship of God. The *Jews had a temple in Jerusalem for the *worship of the real God. But at other temples, people *worshipped false gods.
vineyard ~ a place where *grapes grow.
worship ~ the act when someone gives honour to God. Someone who worships, praises God. That person thanks God. And that person respects God.
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary
Joseph A Fitzmyer ~ The Gospel According to Luke ~ The Anchor Bible
I. Howard Marshall ~ Commentary on Luke ~ New International Greek Testament Commentary
Walter L. Liefeld ~ The Expositor’s Bible Commentary
Leon Morris ~ Luke ~ The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries
Bibles: NIV, ASV, CEV, TEV, GW, ISV, KJV, LITV, MKJV, RV
A. Marshall ~ The Interlinear Greek New Testament
© 2013, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
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