Luke 19:1 ¶ And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
Luke 19:2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
Luke 19:3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
Luke 19:4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
Luke 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
Luke 19:6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
This chapter begins with Jesus traveling through Jericho and meeting Zacchaeus, one of the leading tax collectors, a very rich man. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, but he was a very short man and could not see above the crowd. So, Zacchaeus ran ahead of the crowd and climbed up a sycamore tree so that he could see Jesus. When Jesus came to the tree, he looked up at Zacchaeus and told him to hurry down because He was going to stay with him at his house. Zacchaeus joyfully complied.
Some might think it odd that Jesus invited himself to stay with Zacchaeus. I think it was obvious that He knew He would receive a ready welcome from someone who went to the extremes of climbing a tree to get to see Him.
Personal note: I bet there are many out there like me who can’t read this without having the children’s song running through your mind about Zacchaeus the “wee little man.”
Luke 19:7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
Luke 19:9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
All the religiously pious in the crowd, however, began murmuring about Jesus going to be the guest of a “sinner.” Obviously, they were ignoring the fact that we are all sinners and that anyone whom He chose to visit would rightly be labeled a sinner.
Zacchaeus took a stand before “the Lord” and declared that he would give half of his goods to the poor and that he would restore fourfold to any man that he had taken from through wrongdoing. In general, the tax collector got his pay through extortion. The law only required that the amount collected plus 20% interest be repaid.
Numbers 5:6–7 “Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the LORD, and that person be guilty; Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.”
Jesus immediately declared that salvation had come to this house. Why? Zacchaeus’ actions gave evidence of a sincerely repentant heart. In stark contrast to the rich man in the previous chapter, he didn’t even have to be told what to do; he knew instinctively that ill-gotten riches had become his idol.
Jesus also declares that Zacchaeus is also a son of Abraham. On the surface, this statement was a declaration of his ethnicity, but I believe it was primarily a statement concerning his faith. I am reading through Romans again right now and am reminded of God’s word as shared through Paul.
Romans 2:29 “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
Jesus goes on to refer to Himself as the “Son of Man,” the recognized title of the Messiah, and declares that He came to seek and save the lost. The whole ministry of Jesus consisted of going throughout the land teaching the truth of God to the people with the intent of bringing them to repentance and saving faith. One must recognize that he/she is lost before he/she can be saved. That is why we read so often of Jesus in the company of “sinners.” Those who are self-righteous do not recognize their need to be saved; and if they do (e.g., the rich man), they are too attached to their sin or worldly idols to turn to Jesus in faith as LORD.
Luke 19:11 ¶ And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
I had to remind myself that a great crowd seemed to be accompanying Jesus on His way to Jerusalem. He had taken His disciples apart to tell them about the events that would transpire there though they didn’t really understand because God did not intend for them to understand completely yet. Jesus knew that the crowd traveling with Him expected Him to establish the kingdom once He got to Jerusalem. This caused Jesus to tell them another parable. His purpose was to help them understand that He would not immediately establish His kingdom on earth and that He expects His servants to stay busy in serving Him and using the gifts that God had given them to reap fruit for the kingdom until He returned.
Luke 19:12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
Luke 19:13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
Luke 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
The parable is about a certain nobleman who goes to a far country to be given authority over a kingdom before returning to take possession of it. He had ten servants whom He gave ten pounds (each pound equivalent to the wages for about three months) and instructed them to “Occupy till I come.” The word “occupy” in Greek states “to busy oneself with”; in other words, put this money to good use and make me a profit. Point is made that the citizens of the kingdom hated the nobleman and sent a message to that effect to the monarch of the empire that had chosen him to be ruler of the kingdom; they declared that they would not accept him as their ruler.
Luke 19:15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Luke 19:16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
Luke 19:17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
Luke 19:18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
Luke 19:19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
Luke 19:20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
Luke 19:21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
The nobleman returned after having officially received the kingdom and called for his servants to ask for an accounting of how they had used the money he had given them. The context indicates that each of the ten servants had received the same amount of money—one pound. The first servant was able to tell the ruler that he had used his pound to gain ten pounds. The ruler complimented the servant for being good and faithful to make use of what little he had been given; he then rewarded him by giving him authority over ten cities—a great reward for his obedience. The second servant reported that he had used his pound to gain five pounds; he was “likewise” commended and given authority over five cities. We are told that another servant appeared before the ruler with his pound in hand. He reported that he had kept the money safe in a napkin because he feared the ruler. The ruler evidently had a reputation as being stern and severe; his reputation was one of taking what belonged to others.
Luke 19:22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
Luke 19:23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
Luke 19:24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
Luke 19:25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
Luke 19:26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
The ruler declared that the wicked, unprofitable servant had declared his own judgment. Knowing the ruler’s reputation, he should have at least put the money in the bank to earn interest. He then told his assistants to take the pound and give it to the servant that had earned ten pounds. I think he must have used the servant’s name, since they hesitate and remind him that he already had ten pounds. The ruler was well aware of the facts. He declared that those servants who had been most profitable would be given even more. Those servants who had been unprofitable would lose even the little that he had been given.
I assume these three servants were chosen to illustrate the principles with which he dealt with all ten.
Luke 19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
The ruler then goes on to declare that his enemies, the citizens who did not want him to reign over him were to be brought before him and killed.
There are many parallels between Jesus and the ruler in this parable. He came to earth as a man and traveled to a far country (to heaven) to receive a kingdom (the earthly kingdom of God that will be established in the millennium after the defeat of Antichrist and his armies). During the interval of time before He returns, each of His servants have been given resources to serve Him in obedience and faithfulness.
I thought it was interesting that only ten were identified as servants of the ruler, while the many citizens of the kingdom hated him and refused to acknowledge him as their king. In context, those that hate him are analogous to the Jews who rejected Jesus as the Messiah. I also think there is a valid parallel between the servants and the church and the citizens to the rest of those in the world that reject Jesus.
The parable also implies that our service during the kingdom age will be based on how well we used the resources that He has given us and that our reward will far exceed our investment of time and energy in using those resources. One of the ten proved to be an unprofitable servant. I am assuming that this servant is one of those saved “so as by fire” as described by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 3:11–15 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
I balk at describing Jesus as an austere man, but He declares that His way is the only way and His truth the only truth. The world looks at that declaration and sees it as stern and severe, while those of us who accept Him as Lord and Savior understand it through a heart of love, provision and deliverance.
It is significant to note that the ruler’s judgment against the citizens that hated him was immediate and personally overseen. I think this judgment mirrors the judgment of the wicked dead at the white throne as described in Revelation.
Revelation 20:11–15 “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Luke 19:28 ¶ And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
Luke 19:29 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
Luke 19:30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.
Luke 19:31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.
Luke 19:32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.
Luke 19:33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?
Luke 19:34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him.
After presenting the last parable, Jesus headed on up the hills to Jerusalem. Chuck Smith makes this note: “From Jericho to Jerusalem you're going from 1200 feet below sea level, you're ascending up to about 2700 above sea level, so it's a good climb.” As He neared the cities of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, He sent two disciples ahead of him on a specific errand in the town they were approaching. He told them that they would find a tethered colt that had never carried a man on its back; they were to loose the colt and bring it to Him. Since that was all the description He gave, I am sure the colt was obvious to them. If they were questioned as to why they were taking the colt, they were to say, “Because the Lord has need of him.” Sure enough, they found the colt just as He said they would; and while loosing the colt, the owners questioned what they were doing. They answered just as the Lord had instructed them, and evidently their answer satisfied the owners.
I am reminded that Jesus had chosen to humble Himself and live as a man in order to qualify as the perfect human sacrifice to atone for our sins. He did, however, possess the fullness of the Holy Spirit and every gift of the Spirit in its fullness as well. I believe it was through the empowerment of the Spirit that He could see into the future and instruct His disciples accordingly.
Luke 19:35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
Luke 19:36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
Luke 19:37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
Luke 19:38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
Luke 19:39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
Luke 19:40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
When the disciples brought the colt to Jesus, they put their clothes on the colt and then set Jesus upon it. Even the unbroken colt seemed to understand that He was carrying His Creator. As they continued on their way, the people spread their clothes before Him. This was an act with historical precedence for honoring a king.
2 Kings 9:13 “Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king.”
As He got ever closer to Jerusalem and began to descend from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of His disciples began to rejoice and praise God for all the mighty miracles they had seen Him do. They boldly declared Him to be the King coming in the name of the Lord, the Messiah.
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd approached Jesus and told Him to rebuke His disciples. Jesus not only refused, He declared that if the people were to stop their praise, the very stones would cry out in their stead. So often in the past Jesus had forbidden the people to declare what He had done for them. This time He is boldly declaring that He is the prophesied Messiah.
It is at this point that Jesus is entering Jerusalem as its rightful King and as prophesied by Zechariah. I am sure that the Pharisees were well aware of Zechariah’s prophecy, but—just as with every other bit of prophetic scripture regarding the coming of Messiah—they refused to believe that Jesus had come in fulfillment of those scriptures.
Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
Luke 19:41 ¶ And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
Luke 19:42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
When Jesus was getting close to entering the city, He began to weep over it. Jerusalem was the place chosen by God to honor with His name. I think it truly grieved the Son to see how the people had chosen to reject the very God that had set them apart as a special nation on earth in an especially chosen land.
2 Chronicles 6:5–6 “Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel: But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.”
“If thou hadst known…” – They should have known. The prophets had declared His coming. Daniel had even prophesied the specific time—483 years from the time that the commandment was given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. (See journal on Daniel 9 for further explanation.)
Daniel 9:25 “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks:”
Though He had His followers, the people of Israel in general rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Because of their rejection, God had chosen to hide that understanding from this point on. There are so many sad places in scripture that inform us that there comes a point in time when God gives us over to believe as we have chosen. Today is the day of salvation; you may not have tomorrow.
2 Corinthians 6:2 “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”
Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
Luke 19:43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
Luke 19:44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
Rejecting the Savior brings about judgment. Jesus declares that the time is coming when their enemies would surround the city and then destroy it to the point of not leaving one stone upon another. This prophecy was fulfilled by the legions of Titus in 70AD. Whose to say it does not also foretell of another such destruction?
The people brought this judgment upon themselves because they did not heed the word of God as declared by His prophets. Peter tells us that we have an even more sure word of prophecy.
2 Peter 1:19–21 “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
We have the privilege of knowing so much more regarding the fulfilled prophecies of old. We have even lived to see the nation of Israel resurrected to new life as prophesied by Ezekiel. We are just as surely expected to recognize the signs of the times as declared in scripture as were the people of Jesus’ day. The consequences of choosing to ignore those signs and reject the Savior have been written in advance. The Apostle John details those consequences throughout the whole of Revelation.
Luke 19:45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
Luke 19:46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Luke now records how Jesus went into the temple and once again cast out those that were using it as a house of merchandise. He declared on the authority of scripture that God’s house is to be a house of prayer. It is not to be used as a gathering place for thieves.
I believe that there are many churches today that have corrupted God’s house in the same way, and many that operate questionably. When the focus is on the bottom line of profit, I believe you have crossed the line. I truly pray often for my pastor and the leadership surrounding him to have wisdom in the choices they make regarding the church and how best to honor God through its ministries. I am not denouncing churches that have a bookstore, café etc. on church properties. I do believe, however, that they offer a great temptation for churches that choose to operate as a business according to the ways and wisdom of men rather than looking to the ways and wisdom of God as to how best serve Him by serving His people.
Luke 19:47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
Luke 19:48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.
After throwing out those who were misusing the temple, Jesus begins to make use of it to teach God’s word and declare His truth. This just angered the so-called spiritual leaders all the more. Obviously, His teaching did not accommodate their intents and purposes. They began to actively seek how they might kill Him. It wasn’t an easy task; the people were very attentive to Him, and He was always in a crowd.
There will always be those who are truly seeking for spiritual truth. Sadly, there will also always be those that will seek to corrupt that truth. More often than not, those with the most power and influence are those that are false teachers with an agenda of their own. The time is coming, however, when the Lord will reign as King of kings and truth and peace will prevail.
Revelation 22:20 “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”