About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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Chapter 19

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ch.19:1-10   ch. 19:11-27   ch. 19:28-45    ch. 19:45-48

Zachaeus The Tax Collector (ch. 19:1 - 10)

Jesus now entered into the city of Jericho. Luke tells us that there was a man name Zachaeus, who was a chief tax collector. The man wanted to see Jesus but the crowd was so large and he was so small that he ran down the road. climbed a tree and waited for Jesus to pass by.

When Jesus saw Zachaeus in the tree He told him to come down because "He must stay at his house today". We need to note the Jesus knew Zachaeus’ name. This appears to be a divine meeting for Jesus said that He "must" stay with him today.

Zachaeus "welcomed Jesus gladly", yet parts of the crowd was not so glad for what they saw. They complained that Jesus would spend time in a tax collectors house, and not just any tax collector but a chief tax collector. Zachaeus most likely extorted more money from his fellow Jews than the ordinary tax collector since he had men under him.

It appears that Zechaeus "stood up" in front of the crowd calling Jesus Lord. For all to hear, he told Jesus that he would give away half of all he had to the poor and if he had cheated anyone, he’d repay them back four times the amount.

Jesus was quite impressed with Zachaeus. Jesus said in verse 9, "today salvation has come to this house". Does this mean that everyone in the house got saved because of Zachaeus’ repentance? No. These words do not say that everyone in the house got saved, merely that "salvation had come to this house" because salvation came to Zachaeus.

Now was Zachaeus saved by his good works of giving to the poor? On the surface it would appear so. But we know from other Scriptures that salvation is not of works lest we boast about our good works. Salvation came to this tax collector because he had to have first trusted in Jesus in order for him to do these good works. Jesus knew the heart of Zachaeus. He knew in his heart that he trusted Him, and that trust brought salvation to him. This can be the only explanation. We cannot say that Zachaeus was saved by the good works that he did or else we’d have a problem with Scripture disagreeing with itself.

Beyond what I have just said, Jesus Himself gives a partial reason why salvation came to Zachaeus. He said, "because this man too is a son of Abraham". Why did Jesus say this? Well the other Jews in the crowd would have disowned Zachaeus and said that he could not be a real son of Abraham because he was a traitor, working for the Romans, and stealing from his fellow Jews. Jesus was merely telling the crowd that this man, though he was a tax collector still had the right to claim to be a son of Abraham, and even more so than the Pharisees because he was acting in faith as Abraham did. We know from John 8 that Jesus did not consider the Pharisees sons of Abraham but rather sons of the devil because they did not have the same faith as Abraham did. So once again, Jesus was not offering salvation to Zachaeus because of his status of being a son of Abraham. The underlying fact that Zachaeus had faith as Abraham did made him a son of Abraham, allowing Jesus to offer salvation to him. Salvation is by faith alone, by trusting Jesus, not by doing good works, and not by being a son of Abraham.

Jesus ends by saying that "the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which is lost". Zacaeus was lost, and he knew it. Jesus sought out people like Zachaeus and offered them salvation. Yet people like the Pharisees who did not understand their state of lostness, Jesus did not offer salvation to. Yes, the Pharisees were just as lost as the tax collectors, but without repentance. Without acknowledging their lost condition, salvation could not be given them.

The Parable Of The Ten Minas (ch. 19:11 - 27)

In verse 11 Luke tells us that Jesus was very close to Jerusalem. He now tells another parable and it is interesting to note the reason why Jesus tells this parable at this time. Luke tells us that "the people thought that the Kingdom of God would appear soon". Jesus had been speaking about the Kingdom of God on His way to Jerusalem and it is clear that many people thought that once Jesus arrived in Jerusalem He would somehow, maybe miraculously set up His Kingdom and overthrow the Romans. This is most likely why the crowd was cheering Him on as He entered the city.

Jesus’ coming to the city limits with this large crowd anticipating the Kingdom of God must have been an amazing event. The Pharisees were on edge. The Romans may have caught wind of this and were keeping an eye on things as well. Yet Jesus had other things in mind.

The parable that Jesus told goes like this. There was a man of noble birth who went to a distant country. There he made himself king of that country. He gave about 3 months worth of money to some of his servants to invest until he came back.

The people of the country did not want this noble man to be their king and they even sent a delegation to tell him this. The man was made king anyway and returned home to his country of origin.

From his home the king sent someone to check on the servants he gave the money to. He was interested to see what they had done with this money.

The first servant had increased the money given to him by 10 times the amount. The king was happy with these result and told the servant that because he was trustworthy in a small amount of money he would now be in charge of 10 cities in the new country the king was in charge of.

The next servant had increased his money by 5 times the amount and therefore the king put him in control of 5 cities.

The next servant did not invest the money. He just set it aside and made sure he didn’t loose it. He actually feared the king and therefore didn’t want to take the chance of investing the money and loosing it all. If this had happened, he felt he’d be in major trouble.

The king was not happy at all with this servant. He judged him immediately and told him that he’d be judged by his owns words. By this the king meant that the servant admitted that he feared the king because he was unjust. And now that fear has come to reality in the kings judgement on him. The servant allowed his fear of the king to paralyze him instead of motivating him to at least try to increase the value of the funds given to him.

The king thought that the least this servant could have done was to put the money in the bank and make a little interest from the bank, but he did not even do that.

Then the king took the money from the servant and gave it to the servant who increased his amount by 10 times.

Everyone was surprised that Jesus would suggest that this last servant should loose the money given to him and especially have it given to the servant who already had lots. The point is that all the money given to the servants did not belong to them in the first place. It was given to them for the sole reason to make more money with what they were given. If they did not even try to make any money, then they didn’t deserve to keep it.

Then in the last part of the parable the king calls those who did not want him to be king into his presence and had them all killed.

You should be able to see the parallel here. Jesus is the king. He is a good king, not so nasty as the one in the parable, yet still a king to be feared. He has given his servants many things to invest that would increase the value of His kingdom. Jesus is not happy with those who hide anything they have been given. Jesus wants us to be productive. He wants us to step out and try to invest in His kingdom. We are probably more afraid of failing that He is. Then the enemies of Jesus, as in this parable will be judged and burned in the lake of fire at the end of this age.

Concerning those who squander the things of the Kingdom of God; Jesus said that He’d take away that which He gave these people. I think through history you can see this at work. It happened to the Jews. They were given the Law and the Prophets. They ignored the Law and the Prophets, squandering the things of the Kingdom. They were judged harshly. Their capital city was destroyed and the Jews were scattered throughout the world. The same has happened in the church. When certain segments of the church fail to produce it has died. The liberal church today is pretty well dead and buried. This should be a warning call for all other parts of the church. We need to produce.

The Triumphal Entry (ch. 19:28 - 45)

Luke tells us that Jesus has now reached Bethany and Bethphage, just outside of Jerusalem at the Mount of Olives, so named for its olive orchard. We learn from John that Jesus entered Jerusalem on a Sunday. Av the 10th was the day that all Jews were to kill a lamb and sprinkle it on their door posts and across the top of their door.  When they angel came to judge Egypt , he would see the blood and save the Jews inside of the house.    

Leviticus 23:5 tells us that Passover began on the 14th day of Av, at twilight.  That would be our Wednesday.  This is when Jesus had the Passover meal with His disciples.  On the 15th day of Av, the Feast of Unleavened Bread would begin.  It lasted seven days.  That's the day Jesus was arrested.  On the 17th day was the Feast of Firstfruits, and that just happened to be resurrection day for Jesus.  This is the events of Jesus' final week as foretold in the first three Jewish feasts.  What this tells us is that Jesus was killed on our Thursday, not Friday.  Therefore, Good Friday should actually be Good Thursday.              

We learn that there were 2 crowds of people. One crowd was following Jesus into Jerusalem, and the other crowd came out of Jerusalem to meet Jesus. My guess is that this combined crowd might have been the biggest crowd that Jesus had to date. By now Jesus was truly a superstar, at least for the moment.

Another thing to note concerning the crowds is that it was Passover time and there would be many visitors in Jerusalem that would make the crowd larger still. They would have been very curious when they heard Jesus was coming to town.

Jesus told a couple of disciples to "go into the village ahead" where they’d find a "colt (donkey) tied up". Jesus told them to bring the donkey to Him because He would ride it into Jerusalem. Jesus also told the disciples to explain to the owner why they were taking it. It might be assumed, we don’t know, that the owner of the donkey knew Jesus, and that is why he freely gave it up.

The donkey was a humble animal for Jesus to ride into town on. A king, or royalty would not ride a donkey, but a horse or a camel. The crowd might have scratched their heads a bit when they saw their king riding a donkey and not a horse as He entered town to usher in the Kingdom of God, as they expected to happen.

In verses 35 through 34 the disciples did as Jesus told them. All that Jesus foretold about the donkey came true including the owner asking why they were taking the donkey. They answered, "The Lord needs it".

Verse 35 tells us that Jesus was helped on to the donkey after some disciples took off their coats, (outer layer of clothes) and put them on the donkey, making it an easier ride for Jesus. Others saw this and decided to take off their outer layer of clothes and put them on the road ahead of the donkey so Jesus would have a carpet of clothes to ride over as He approached town. This was indeed an act of praise and worship to Jesus, who once again, the crowd viewed as a political saviour.

Verse 37 tells us that the crowd of disciples and followers began to joyfully "give praises to God in loud voices". One thing to note here is that just two days earlier Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. Luke doesn’t mention this but John does. Miracles like this one helped fuel the feverish pitch of excited.

Luke tells us in verse 37 that they came to "the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives". At this point Jesus and the others would look across the Kidron valley and see Jerusalem, the temple, and all that was associated with that great city. How Jesus must have felt at this point is beyond our imagination. The end was now in sight. For the first time, except when Jesus was tempted by satan and when He was 12 years old, did Jesus see this great city. The last 3 years were spent by Jesus in small towns and villages in Galilee and surrounding region, but now He’s almost at His destination.

In verse 38 the crowd sings, "blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord". The King is Jesus. The use of the word "coming" suggests that the crowd understood Jesus to be their long awaited Messiah. They were ready for the Kingdom of God. The word Lord refers to God. Jesus was coming in the name of God to redeem His people. Yet what Jesus had in mind, and what the crowd had in mind were two different things.

Luke also adds that the crowd sang, "peace in Heaven and glory in the highest", somewhat reminiscing of what the angles said at the birth of Jesus.

In verse 39 Luke says that some Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke His followers. These men were clearly uncomfortable with the idea that this huge crowd was proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah. The Pharisees called Jesus "teacher" in this instance which is a far cry from the title of Messiah.

Jesus answered by saying that if His followers kept quiet then "the stones would cry out". Even though the crowd misinterpreted and misunderstood Jesus’ role as Messiah, they were right in acknowledging Him as their Messiah. This truth had to be proclaimed at this time, and Jesus said that if people didn’t proclaim this truth then God would make the rocks and stones cry out the truth.

We get a glimpse of how Jesus felt at this moment of time. Most of us would feel great with such adoration being sent our way. The crowds would exhilarate most of us beyond measure, but not so with Jesus. These were very sad days and hours for Jesus. Not all this sadness came from the fact that He would soon die. Some of His sadness came that His knowing that this adoration would not last long, and His people would reject Him. In verse 40 Jesus said as He wept, "if you, even you, had known on this day what would bring you peace - but now it is hidden from your eyes…"

You can see the heart of Jesus in His words. He felt so bad that God’s people, and God’s holy city could not understand what was happening. All along during Jesus’ ministry, Jerusalem, meaning its leaders, did not recognize who Jesus really was. Then beyond that, Jerusalem for the most part always rejected the messengers sent from God – the prophets of old.

Here the crowd was singing praises of peace and believing that peace would now finally come to them, but because the truth was hidden from them, peace would not come. What a tremendous irony.

What does it mean when Jesus said that the truth was hidden from these people. Did God not give these people a chance to understand? No. It is like the parable earlier in this chapter. Those who were given things and did not invest those things, what they were given was taken away and given to others. God gave Jerusalem many chances. They refused to invest what they were given and so at this time they weren’t allowed to understand. To put it another way, "those who shall not see, will not see".

Jesus goes on to prophecy against the city of Jerusalem by saying, "the days will come when your enemies will build an embankment against you and will encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground. You and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you".

These are very strong and powerful prophetic words coming from the lips of Jesus. I’m sure that no one understood these words. The meaning of them was hidden from them as well. The disciples did not even understand them, but they came true in 70 AD when the Romans totally destroyed Jerusalem. The destruction took about 3 decades to come true, but the prophecy was fulfilled.

So we see just a bit about the nature of God’s judgement. He can, and will bring judgement on His people when they refuse to follow Him. His judgment on Israel, and on Jerusalem was very severe. The church needs to learn a lesson from this act of judgement. God is not afraid to destroy something He has built, when what He has built refuses to obey Him. As God judged Israel, He can also judge the church.

Jesus At The Temple (ch. 19:45 - 48)

This section records Jesus’ famous entrance into the Temple complex. It was most likely on a Monday, the day after He first arrived in Jerusalem.

Jesus was very upset with what He saw. The Temple had become a place of commerce just as much as it was a place of worship. Some of the things sold in the Temple were animals for the sacrifices that took place there. Jesus quotes from Jer. 7:11 when He said, "my house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers".

What did Jesus mean by these words? How was buying and selling in the Temple robbing God? The Temple was to be a place of worship but since in many respects it became a place of commerce the Jews were robbing God of the worship that was due Him. They were robbing Him of the true purpose of this holy place.

Jesus was so upset that he drove those out of the area who were selling and overthrew their tables. You might wonder why the peaceful Jesus was so violent. There are a couple of answers to this question. First of all we have noted that Jesus got more intense as He got closer to Jerusalem. He knew what lay ahead of him bringing much stress into His life, thus one reason for this emotional and somewhat violent response. Then there is another reason. We need to understand that part of God’s nature which means part of Jesus’ nature is His Holy anger. God does get angry whether we like that idea or not. His anger is just and righteous. He is not merely being nasty when He is angry. His anger and wrath is based on injustices that He sees in us. Jesus saw a great injustice with the buying and selling in the Temple and responded accordingly.

The church should learn something from this event. One thing that we should not learn is to think that our modern church buildings are the equivalent of the Temple. Some say that there should be no exchange of money or goods in our church buildings. They say that the buildings should only be a place of worship. You should not have a gym where you can play basketball because that would desecrate God's house. In fact a church building is not God’s house. Church buildings are merely brick, stone and wood. We, the people of God are the house of God.

Since people are God’s house in this age we should not commercialize the church. But we have. In many cases the church looks more like a business rather than a godly group of people. Our ministries are huge. We have a large advertising budget. We promote our ministry as if it were some Hollywood production. We’ll sell promotional items to enhance our ministry. I am not sure that Jesus is all that excited about these things. We need to return to the basics of our faith and leave the commercialism behind.

By this time the opposition to Jesus by the Jewish leaders escalated to such a point that they were now ready to kill Him. How they'd do this is uncertain. They had no legal avenue to do so. Maybe they were thinking of hiring someone to do the job for them. Whatever the case, the crowds were on Jesus’ side to such a degree that the leaders could not figure out how they could kill Jesus.

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