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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Luke 19

Verse 1

1 A traveler would come to Jericho soon after crossing the Jordan from the east side; it was not far from Jerusalem (verse 11)_. Jesus passed through the city on his way to the capital where he was soon to close his earthly career.

Verse 2

2 The publicans had access to the money of the people, and by reason of that fact they could increase their own possessions. This prominent group of citizens is described at Mat 9:10.

Verse 3

3 The press means the crowd, which was so great that Zacchaeus could not see Jesus, he being little of stature, which means he was not very tall.

Verse 4

4 Zacchaeus knew the usual path of travel, hence he found a tree along the route and climbed up into it. The sycamore tree was planted by waysides because it had wide-spreading branches which afforded a good shade.

Verse 5

5 Since Zacchaeus was a Jew (Verse 9), he was a proper subject to be commanded by Jesus, for He was sent to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mat 15:24).

Verse 6

6 Received him joyfully. Zacchaeus evidently was surprised (and honored) to be called upon to entertain the great Teacher, knowing the general estimate that was placed on publicans as a class.

Verse 7

7 The thing that happened was usual under such circumstances. The people murmured (among themselves after Jesus had gone with Zac-chaeus) because Jesus went to be a guest of one whom they classed as a sinner. That was because he was a publican, most of whom were justly charged with taking unlawful amounts of taxes from the people.

Verse 8

8 The speech in this verse was made after reaching the home of Zacchaeus, for in his response (next verse) Jesus refers to this house. This helps us to understand the phrase Zacchaeus stood, the second word of which is defined by Thayer, "To place one's self, to stand." He evidently took a position where all that were in the house could see and hear him as he made his promises to the Lord. It is significant that he was to give half of what he had to the poor first, and then reimburse any who were wronged after the division. That adjustment would hence be made out of his half of the original stock. False accusation means, "To exact money wrongfully; to extort from, defraud." Such a practice was commonly done by the publicans. As this agreement was made in the hearing of the group, any man who had a complaint was given opportunity to state it.

Verse 9

9 Salvation is come to this house. Not that every member of the household was saved, for Zacchaeus was the only one who repented; it means that salvation had come to a member of that household. A son of Abraham entitled him to salvation on the basis of the statement of Jesus to the woman (Mat 15:24).

Verse 10

0 This verse states a truth that will apply generally.

Verse 11

1 People are inclined to go to extremes with their conclusions. Jesus had frequently told them that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. They concluded, therefore, that it was just upon them, especially because He was headed toward Jerusalem and was even then very near the city. Immediately is from PARACHREMA, and Thayer defines it, "On the spot; immediately, forthwith, instantly."

Verse 12

2 The inspired writer tells us why Jesus spoke this parable, that it was because the people thought the kingdom was to be set up as soon as Jesus reached Jerusalem. Were that to be done, virtually all of the preliminary details showing true devotion to the King would be over. That would be possible only under a worldly kingdom like what they expected. Jesus considered it necessary, therefore, to give this parable that would show it was to be a spiritual kingdom, and that its citizens would be placed under strict responsibility. The nobleman is Jesus, and the far country is Heaven. If he must go to that far country in order to receive a kingdom, it follows that he would not set it up in a few days, or as soon as he arrived at Jerusalem.

Verse 13

3 The specific lesson intended by this parable is the same as that of the talents in Matthew 25, namely, individual responsibility. The details of the story should not be strained into any other meaning. When Jesus or his apostles select any par-.ticular subject for the purpose of illustration, they will give the details in order to make the main point stand out, but no other use should be made of such items. However, the items that are properly related to the principal subject under consideration will be explained accordingly. The pounds corresponds with the "talents" in Matthew 25, and occupy till I cone is the same as developing one's talents.

Verse 14

4 This verse applies to people in the kingdom who deny the authority of King Jesus. Such persons will not make the proper use of their opportunities.

Verse 15

5 This verse refers to the day of judgment, when all mankind will be held to account for the way they have lived and used their talents.

Verse 16

7 This corresponds with Mat 25:20-21. In that place the faithful are told to "enter into the joy of their Lord." In our present passage it is expressed by having authority over ten cities, but the meaning is the same.

Verse 18

9 This is equivalent to the man with two talents and the reward is to be based on the same principle, namely, faithfulness.

Verse 20

0 This man is in the same class as the one who buried his lord's talent, and he will be condemned for his unfaithfulness. (See Mat 25:24-28.)

Verse 21

6 The paragraph preceding this somewhat overlaps it, but it will be well to consider the present paragraph in connection with Mat 25:25-26.

Verse 27

7 This corresponds with Mat 25:30.

Verse 28

8 Went before. He took the lead in journeying toward Jerusalem.

Verse 29

5 See the notes on Mat 21:1-7.

Verse 36

6 This is explained at Mat 21:8.

Verse 37

8 See Mat 21:9-11.

Verse 39

9 Evidently these Pharisees were envious of Jesus because he was receiving so much honor from the disciples. Their suggestion that He rebuke his disciples was on the pretense that it was an unnecessary disturbance, but in reality it was because of their envy. (See Mat 21:15-16.)

Verse 40

0 The reference to the stones is figurative, to illustrate the worthiness of Jesus to be thus honored. John told the Jews that God was able to make the stones give birth to offspring for Abraham (Mat 3:9), and if necessary we are sure He would cause the inanimate stones to express praises for Jesus, should the devoted disciples be forced to maintain silence.

Verse 41

4 See the notes on Mat 23:37-39; Mat 24:1-2. Visitation as used here means "inspection, investigation," and applies to the time when Jerusalem was to be visited with distress, as an investigation into her history would justify.

Verse 45

6 See Mat 21:12-13.

Verse 47

7 He taught daily, also the chief of the leaders sought to destroy him. The connection between these statements is not revealed here. We know, however, it was because Jesus rebuked them for their hypocrisy.

Verse 48

8 The people had great respect for Jesus, and these priests and scribes did not want to lose the esteem of the public lest they fail in their own popularity.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Luke 19". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.