Luke 20:1-8-While Jesus was teaching in the temple the Jewish leaders demanded to know by what authority He did so. He said that He would tell them if they first told Him by what authority John the Baptist preached. They refused to answer...and so did He (see March 7, Mark 11:27-31).
Luke 20:9-18-Jesus tells a parable about a man who planted a vineyard and then went on a trip (see February 1, Matthew 21:33-46; March 8, Mark 12:1-12). At harvest time he sent a slave to collect some of the produce...but the people who had rented the vineyard beat him and sent him away with nothing. So, he sent another slave and they did the same thing. A third time the same thing happened. Finally, he sent his own son...but they killed him thinking that without an heir to the owner the property would go to them. Jesus said that the landowner would kill the renters and give the vineyard to others. The Jewish leaders agreed with Him that the behavior of the vine-growers was wrong…but were incensed with His assessment that the vineyard (God’s kingdom) would be given to someone other than Jews. In response to their denial of His assessment, Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22 and in essence asks, “If I am wrong, then what does this verse mean?” In this verse, the builders refused to accept the stone that was intended to be the chief stone. The integrity of the rest of the building depended on this stone. If the wrong stone was chosen, then there was a likelihood that the entire building would collapse and anyone within would be killed. Jesus had intended that this parable be applied to Himself...God is the vineyard owner, the vineyard is inclusion in God's kingdom, the renters are Israel, Jesus is the son that was rejected...and the others who will receive the vineyard are the gentiles. He is also the chief cornerstone, the stone that they had rejected. The Messiah was referred to in the Old Testament as the “cornerstone” (cf. Isaiah 28:16). Jesus is telling the Pharisees that they have rejected Him…as the vine-growers had rejected the son of the owner of the vineyard, and as the builders had rejected the cornerstone. To do so would result in their destruction.
Chief corner stone
Verses 17, 18. - And he beheld them, and said, What is this then thai; 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. In spite of the deprecating expression, the severity of the tone of Jesus increases in his next words, when, looking at them with grave anger (ἐμβλέψας), he proceeds to speak of himself under the figure of the rejected stone. Quoting a well-known psalm (Psalm 118:22), and using the imagery of Isaiah 8:14, 15 and Daniel 2:44, he describes his fortunes under the imago of a corner-stone - that stone which forms the junction between the two most prominent walls of a building, and which is always laid with peculiar care and attention. In Luke 2:34 of our Gospel Simeon refers to the same well-known prophetic saying. The husbandmen who had just been described as vine-dressers are now described as builders, and the murdered son is reproduced under the image of a corner, stone tossed aside as useless. In the first part of the picture, the earthly humiliation of Messiah is portrayed when the stone is laid in the earth. In the second, the stone falling from the top of the building represents the crushing of all earthly opposition by Messiah in his glory. Woe to the builders, then, who had scornfully rejected him.
(Pulpit Commentary, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/luke/20.htm)
17-19. written—(in Ps 118:22, 23. See on Lu 19:38). The Kingdom of God is here a Temple, in the erection of which a certain stone, rejected as unsuitable by the spiritual builders, is, by the great Lord of the House, made the keystone of the whole. On that Stone the builders were now "falling" and being "broken" (Isa 8:15), "sustaining great spiritual hurt; but soon that Stone should fall upon them and grind them to powder" (Da 2:34, 35; Zec 12:3)—in their corporate capacity in the tremendous destruction of Jerusalem, but personally, as unbelievers, in a more awful sense still.
(Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/luke/20.htm)
Luke 20:19-26-The Jewish leaders knew that the parable was about them and became so angry that they were ready to arrest Jesus right there...but they feared the reaction of the people (:19). Instead, they sent imposters, “who pretended to be righteous,” to ask loaded questions in order to find some area in which He was breaking the Law so that they could arrest Him. For instance, they tried to trick Him concerning the paying of taxes to the Roman government. “But He detected their trickery…” (:23).
Prayer: Lord, thank You for extending Your mercy and forgiveness to all people. We are unworthy...it is only by Your grace that anyone will ever be saved. Please help me to always be aware that it is Your favor that has been extended that allows me to know You.