The bull of St Luke

The Gospel of Luke

Chapter 20: Overview

Chapter 20 has a beginning marked by verse 1 because Luke tells us that Jesus is teaching the people in the Temple, an echo of 19,47. This begins the teaching by Jesus in the Temple which is presented within the brackets as we seen.

Controversy is now the tone of this chapter, with authority as the key issue, a theme set at the beginning, 20,1-8.

We can then read the parable of the tenants as part of the authority issue established in 20,1-8. We can note here that unlike Mark (Mk 12,1), Luke addresses the parable to the people. That gives us a first page, Lk 20,1-19.

This is followed by two attempts to discredit Jesus as a teacher. The first with the scribes and chief priests (verses 20-26) is followed by a controversy specifically with the Sadducees (verses 27-40). As the latter episode is read as a Sunday gospel, we can read these two controversies over two pages.

So far, Luke has been following Mark. Now Luke omits Mk 12,28-34 with the question about the greatest commandment. This he has moved to chapter 10 where it became the lead-in to the parable of the Good Samaritan.

As a result, verses 41-44 are now linked with the preceeding controversy. "They" in verse 41 refers to the scribes in verse 39. In terms of reading there is no break at this point. We need therefore to read these verses with the Sadducee controversy.

The next break comes at verse 45, which begins with the evangelist saying that Jesus is now speaking to the disciples in the hearing of the people. Here, Mark simply states "in his teaching, he said..." (Mk 12,38).
Then verse 47 leads straight into Jesus' observation about the poor widow in 21,1-4. So these verses are best read as concluding chapter 20. 21,5 is then marked as a new beginning by "When some people..." Luke has changed Mark (Mk 13,2) so that Jesus remains in the Temple.
Our final page for the chapter is therefore quite short: 20,45-21,4.

Our reading of the chapter therefore will be in four parts:

We can now return to the main page.