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114. Jesus and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector of Jericho and was wealthy. He wanted to see Jesus, and Jesus wanted to talk to him. So Jesus went to his house, much to the disapproval of the local citizens (Luke 19:1-7).
The outcome of Jesus’ visit was that Zacchaeus repented and believed in Jesus. To show that his repentance was genuine, Zacchaeus repaid (with generous interest) those he had cheated and gave freely even to those he had not cheated (Luke 19:8). Being a tax collector, he was despised by his fellow Jews as one not worthy to be called a ‘son of Abraham’. But that was no reason for him to be cut off from salvation. On the contrary, sinners such as this were the people that Jesus came to save. And once Zacchaeus was saved, he was a true ‘son of Abraham’, a genuine believer (Luke 19:9-10).
115. Parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27)
As Jesus drew nearer to Jerusalem, those with him became excited, thinking he was about to establish a world-conquering kingdom. Jesus corrected their misunderstanding by telling them a parable (Luke 19:11). He was like a man who was entitled to a kingdom, but who had first to go to the seat of power in a distant country to have his kingdom confirmed, after which he would return to claim it. Before he left for the distant country, he gave an equal amount of money to each of ten trusted servants, who were to use it to promote their master’s interests during his absence. The meaning was that Jesus would soon leave the world, but he gave to each of his servants the task of living for him in such a way that his kingdom would continue to grow (Luke 19:12-13).
The citizens in the parable did not want the new king, and in like manner the Jews did not want Jesus (Luke 19:14). But the loyal servants (the followers of Jesus) continued to work for their master. When he returned he examined their work and rewarded each according to his diligence. If the servant used his master’s money profitably he was rewarded; if he was lazy he suffered loss. The master did not expect all the servants to be equally successful, but he accepted no excuses for laziness (Luke 19:15-25).
For the followers of Jesus the lesson is that those who work diligently find that their ability increases, and so they are given more responsibility. Those who are lazy find that they lose whatever ability they have, and cannot be trusted with any further responsibility (Luke 19:26). For those who reject Jesus the lesson is that they will suffer a terrible judgment (Luke 19:27).
FINAL TEACHING IN JERUSALEM
119. The triumphal entry (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19)
The time had now come for Jesus to challenge his opponents openly by a clear public demonstration that he was Israel’s Messiah. The Jewish leaders wanted to arrest him, but when told of his whereabouts they feared to take action. They were unsure of the extent of Jesus’ popular support (cf. John 11:57; John 12:9-11).
To make sure that nothing stopped him from making a bold public entry into Jerusalem, Jesus had made a secret arrangement with some unnamed villagers who would provide the donkey that he would ride. By using a pre-arranged password, two of his disciples collected the donkey and brought it to him (Matthew 21:1-3; Luke 19:28-34).
As the messianic king, the son of David, Jesus then entered his royal city of Zion. He came not riding a horse as a conquering warlord, but sitting on a donkey as a king of peace, as the Scriptures foretold (see Zechariah 9:9). People who were in Jerusalem for the Passover, along with local residents, welcomed him as the Messiah. They may not have understood the nature of his messiahship, but they were enthusiastic in their acceptance of him (Matthew 21:4-11; Luke 19:35-38; John 12:12-16. (The word ‘Hosanna’, meaning ‘Save us, O Lord’, came from two Hebrew words found in Psalms 118:0, where Israel’s victorious king was welcomed with the words, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’; Psalms 118:25-26. By New Testament times the two expressions, used together, had become a declaration of praise to God for the promised Messiah.)
The Pharisees were annoyed at the welcome Jesus received and unsuccessfully tried to persuade him to silence the people (Luke 19:39-40). As the news of Jesus’ raising of Lazarus spread, more and more people flocked to see him. The thing the Pharisees most feared was happening before their eyes (John 12:17-19).
Jesus, however, was not deceived by this enthusiastic welcome. He knew that when people properly understood the nature of his messiahship, they would turn against him. The nation as a whole would reject him, and in the judgment to follow, Jerusalem would be destroyed (Luke 19:41-44). The significance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was not political but spiritual, and therefore he went not to the palace but to the temple. He took note of what was happening there, then returned with his disciples to Bethany, where they spent the night (Mark 11:11).
120. Jesus cleanses the temple (Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48)
At the beginning of his public ministry Jesus had cleansed the temple (see John 2:13-25), but old practices had returned. Now that he had come to his messianic city he cleansed it again. By his action he showed God’s judgment on those who had forgotten the real purpose of religious exercises and used them chiefly to make money (Matthew 21:12-13).
God was more pleased with Jesus’ action in healing the blind and the crippled than with all the religious activity of the Jews. Even the children saw the worth of Jesus’ action and shouted their praises accordingly. The temple authorities were angered at such behaviour by the children in the temple, but Jesus responded that the children clearly saw what the religious leaders could not, namely, that Jesus was the Messiah (Matthew 21:14-16). Again, at the end of the day Jesus returned to Bethany (Matthew 21:17).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Luke 19". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany