Overcoming Life's Challenges | Luke 20

Overcoming Life's Challenges | Luke 20

Mar 05, 2023


Today, we're going to be talking about Overcoming Life's Challenges. Each of us faces challenges in life, there are no exceptions. Challenges come in many different ways. We will encounter challenges in circumstances. Things break, things wear out, accidents happen, there are unexpected expenses or medical issues.

We will encounter challenges in relationships. The other people in our lives are not perfect, and neither are we. Sometimes we don't understand others, and they don't understand us. Not everyone thinks like we do. When we face a challenge in life, there are two possible outcomes. Either we will overcome the challenge with God's help or the challenge will overcome us.

1 John 5:4 (ESV) "For everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith."

The world in this verse is the kingdom of darkness and Satan. This dark kingdom is behind the challenges that we face in life. Their intent is for the challenges to destroy us or distract us from God. God allows these challenges to come into our lives.

Why? So that we can overcome them through faith. Faith must always have an object, and that object is Jesus Christ. We overcome the world's challenges through faith in Jesus. Let's think about what faith in Jesus means as we face challenges.

Understand Jesus' Authority

Luke 20:1-2 (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."

As we go through the gospel of Luke, we are now in the final week of Jesus' life. This particular day was Tuesday. Last Sunday, we talked about what happened on Monday. That was the day when Jesus drove the merchants out of the temple courts.

The chief priests, scribes, and elders were the authorities of the temple. Therefore, they were challenging Jesus to tell them why He had the authority to drive out the merchants. The unspoken thought behind their question was that they had the authority, not Jesus.

Luke 20:3-4 (ESV) He answered them, "I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?"

Jesus did not answer their challenging question. He responded with an intriguing question of his own. John the Baptist had gone before Jesus, preaching and baptizing. John the Baptist was now dead, having been killed by King Herod. The question that Jesus asked the rulers was very hard for them to answer.

Luke 20:5-6 (ESV) 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."

The temple rulers discussed the two options to answer Jesus' question. If they answered that John was from God, then Jesus would ask them why they did not repent as John preached. If they answered that John was not from God, but from man, they would be in trouble with the crowds. Most people of the day believed that John was a prophet from God, which he was. The rulers were in a dilemma on how to answer.

Luke 20:7-8 (ESV) 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."

So, the Jewish rulers chose not to answer Jesus' question. Jesus responded that since they did not answer His question, He would not answer theirs. The question of the rulers was a trap for Jesus as well. No matter how He answered, they would have accused Him of blasphemy and breaking God's law. Both of which were untrue. These rulers did not understand Jesus' authority.


Let's look into this conversation in greater detail to see what we can learn for our own lives. As believers, we are followers of Jesus. We can learn from the things that Jesus experienced in this confrontation. As well as learn from how Jesus responded. Just as Jesus was challenged by people as He carried out God's plan, so will we be challenged. We will be challenged by others seeking to stop us from witnessing for Jesus.

Whether that is with our friends, in a school, or a workplace.
If the challenge is hostile, as it was in Jesus' case, you don't have to answer every question. Perhaps, God will lead you to answer a hostile question with a question of your own. This is one excellent way to avoid arguments. Rather than going back and forth, answer a question with another question. Jesus knew that He had the authority to do the things that He was doing.

If you are walking with God, then you have Jesus' authority for everything you do. Understand that authority and walk in it as an ambassador of the King Jesus. Whether the challenge you face is another person or an impersonal problem. You have the authority to be an overcomer.

Submit to Jesus' Authority

Luke 20:9 (ESV), Jesus 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.

This parable that Jesus is going to tell us about is in direct response to the challenge of the rulers to His authority. In this parable, the man who planted the vineyard refers to God. The vineyard refers to the nation of Israel. The tenants refer to the Jewish people of Israel.

Luke 20:10 (ESV) 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.

Now we learn what the tenants were supposed to be doing with the vineyard. They were supposed to be growing fruit, not just for themselves, but to give to the master. The landlord, God, sent prophets as his servants to the tenants. He sent prophets to motivate them to give God the fruit of the vineyard.

The fruit of the vineyard refers to all the good things that believers are to do. Rather than to give God what was His, they beat the servant. Throughout the Old Testament, we see the people of Israel, rejecting the ministry of the prophets sent by God.

Luke 20:11-12 (ESV) 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.

God did not send just one prophet to Israel, He sent many. And each one was not treated well or listened to. These three servants sent by the master encompass the entire history of Israel.

Luke 20:13-14 (ESV) 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.'

Finally, the owner decides to send his beloved son, referring to Jesus. However, when the tenants saw the son, they decided to kill him. They wanted to take possession of the vineyard and give nothing to God.

Luke 20:15-16 (ESV) 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!"

In this part of the parable, Jesus is foretelling His own crucifixion and death. Jesus was crucified by the Jewish leaders who did not recognize Him as God's son, the promised Messiah. What will be God's response to anyone who does not recognize Jesus' authority?

He will destroy those who did not believe but rather put Jesus to death. God will give the vineyard, referring to the kingdom of God, to others. Who are the others? They are those who believe, both Jews and Gentiles.

Luke 20:17-18 (ESV) 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."

The Jewish leaders knew that Jesus was speaking against them. He quotes an Old Testament prophecy from Psalm 118:22. The rejected stone is Jesus and the builders are the Jewish people, who on the whole rejected Jesus. Jesus is now the enormous cornerstone on which everything is being built. Those who do not accept Him as the cornerstone will be broken to pieces and crushed.

This is speaking of those who do not submit to Jesus' authority being sent to God's judgement in hell. In the next verse, we read that the Jewish leaders did not repent, but began to plot to put Jesus to death. Why? Because they did not submit to His authority.


How does this parable apply to us? We are supposed to be faithful tenants in God's vineyard. A faithful tenant submits to the authority of the master. By submitting to the master, you make your life ambition to bear fruit for Him. Those that God sends to speak into your life, you listen to and obey.

All of the challenges that we face in life have been sent by the enemy. He desires to deter you from submitting to Jesus' authority and bearing fruit for Him. God allows those same challenges to come into your life, so that you can overcome them through His power. As you overcome the challenges of life, you bear fruit for God's kingdom. Many around us have rejected Jesus' authority. A major part of our bearing fruit for the master is to help them submit to Jesus' authority.


Today, we've talked about overcoming life's challenges. We haven't focused so much on the challenges themselves, but on Jesus' authority. Jesus calls on us to be overcomers of every challenge that we encounter.

We can overcome every challenge through faith in Jesus Christ. You must understand Jesus' authority. Jesus does not just have some authority, He has all authority. Believe that Jesus has power over every challenge you are facing. Then submit to Jesus' authority. He will show you and give you the power to conquer the challenges of life.