Lost and Found 1-10
Though this story of Zacchaeus is not a parable of Jesus it had a lot in common with the parables of Jesus in chapter 15. Zacchaeus was a lost man but was saved by the seeking love of God in spite of the self-righteous who were condemning it.
Zacchaeus had some things in common with the rich young ruler in chapter 18:18-23. Both Zacchaeus and the rich young ruler were wealthy men. And the both sought to see Jesus. In other ways they were different, as the rich young rulers wealth was seen by the people as a mark of favor from God. But the people considered the wealth of Zacchaeus was gotten by ill gain. Respectable Jews of that day had no liking for other Jews who collected taxes for the Romans. It was bad enough that they collaborated with the Romans but the tax collectors also were guilty of extorting money for their own use. It is noted in this passage that Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector which may mean that he was in charge of an entire district.
The desire of Zacchaeus to see Jesus was more than curiosity. He had gone to great length to see Jesus. When Jesus called him down out of the tree he came down quickly and joyfully. Zacchaeus did not think of himself as a lost person. But his actions show him to be a person that knew that something was wrong and it was something that his money could not fix.
Jesus was on a mission for all people but many people excluded themselves from the lost that He had come to save. Jesus saw the hunger in Zacchaeus’ eyes and called him by his name, and went to his home. In much the same way as what had happened before, the so called respectable people criticized Jesus for associating with a lowly sinner as Zacchaeus.
Jesus or Zacchaeus were deterred by the critics of the crowd. Zacchaeus a man who loved his money as the rich young ruler, showed that he had made a conversion by the words of verse eight. “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” Zacchaeus would repay what he had taken from the people and with interest.
Zacchaeus had received the King and the Kingdom. Jesus stated it this way. “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham.” The teaching of that day tended to view salvation as a future event. The people were looking forward to the judgment in hope that they would be declared righteous and acceptable to God. Salvation in the New Testament is a grounded hope in the present reality. Christians today do not peer into the future hoping against hope that all may be well with us spiritually. Rather the Christian today believes that God has forgiven then by their faith in Jesus Christ and trust Him as their Lord and Savior.
Zacchaeus was a true son of Abraham. Zacchaeus like Abraham dared to trust himself and his future completely to God’s hands. This is the child like faith that Jesus is searching for. (Luke 18:17) Many have a hard time believing as this, life can begin anew! The people of the crowd in Jericho did not believe it but Jesus and Zacchaeus did.
A Faithfulness Test 11-27
The followers of Jesus heard the words that Jesus had spoken to Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come.” This probably added to their expectation that the Kingdom of God was about to appear. In spite of all that Jesus had said to them they still expected His trip to Jerusalem to result in a nationalistic kingdom with Jesus as the King. Jesus then told this parable to correct their delusion.
There is a difference between the expectation of a coming Kingdom and the present reality of His Kingdom. The experience of Zacchaeus is the beginning of a pilgrimage of faith. The conversion of Zacchaeus was an exciting event but it was only a beginning. To receive the Kingdom involves commitment and faith. Becoming a servant of the Kingdom means patience and faithfulness over the long haul.
Jesus’ disciple expected an immediate Kingdom but Jesus was teaching that the servants of the King must remain faithful as they waited for the future coming of the King. When the King returns they will be held accountable for their stewardship. A second theme in this parable is the rejection of the King. (Verses 14 and 27) This serves as a warning against total rejection of the King.
This parable teaches a basic aspect of Christian stewardship.
All that the Christian has belongs to God. The faithful servants recognized this and referred to the minas as “your pound” when reporting to the King.
A gift from God is given as a trust. The servants were instructed to conduct business with what they were given while he was away.
A good servant is faithful with what he has received. This was the basis of the commendations given to two of the servants.
Unfaithfulness is the result of having no faith. The unfaithful servant did not lose the minas but he did not invest it either. He expressed that he was afraid of his master’s harshness. Faith involves taking risks, and only those who have faith in God’s grace and help are willing to take the risk.
The reward of faith is opportunity and responsibility. The minas of the unfaithful servant was taken away from him and given to the faithful servant. This act puzzled the bystanders. (Verse 25) Jesus answer their puzzlement in verses 26, “I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”
Final Ministry in Jerusalem
This is the last major section in Luke’s Gospel. It tells the story of the culmination of Jesus’ mission in Jerusalem. Much earlier Jesus had “set His face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51) The larger section of Luke’s Gospel (9:51–19:27) frequently mentions that Jesus was journeying toward Jerusalem. The last major section recounts what happened during His last days in and around Jerusalem.
Jesus’ final ministry in Jerusalem is described in three blocks of material. Following His entry Jesus spent some time teaching in the Temple. The events connected with His crucifixion are described. Chapter 24 focuses on Jesus’ appearances after His resurrection.
The Prince of Peace
These verses tell what happened as Jesus drew near to Jerusalem and entered the Temple. Thus in one sense is the last part of the journey to Jerusalem and in another sense the beginning of the final ministry in the city.
Peace is a strong theme. Jesus approached the city as the prophesied King who would bring peace to the nations. (Zechariah 9:9-10) Peace was on the lips of those who welcomed Him. Jesus wept at the tragedy of Jerusalem’s rejection of the way of peace He offered them.
Preparing to Enter Jerusalem 28-35
During the ministry of Jesus He avoided calling attention to Himself as the Messiah. The question now becomes why did He enter Jerusalem at the Passover season when excitement about the Messiah was at its peak? And, why did Jesus make an entry that was bound to stir up this excitement?
The Prophet Zachariah spoke of the King riding in on a colt and bringing peace to the nations. (Zachariah 9:9-10) Jesus presented Himself in fulfillment of that prophecy. (Matthew 21:5; John 12:15) Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Messiah, but not as the Messiah that the people were seeking. The people were looking for a military leader who would restore their nation. Jesus came as the Prince of Peace for all the people.
Some Welcomed Him 36-38
Those following Jesus grew as He came nearer to Jerusalem. Jesus probably had a group of people with Him as He came from Jericho. It is very likely that word of His coming had reached Jerusalem and many had come out from the city to join Him. As they came into view of the city the disciples began to shout out, “the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen.” This was not just the twelve but the whole company of His disciples. They had witnessed the miracles that He had performed and now they praised God for what they had seen.
The disciples then quoted Scripture from Psalm 118:26 to praise God for Jesus, the King who had come to fulfill their hopes. “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” Peace is already a reality in the Kingdom of Heaven and now this same peace is offered by Jesus.
Criticized by Others 39-40
The Pharisees referred to Jesus as teacher and not King. This is why they asked him to rebuke His followers. The Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
In verse 40 we see more understanding as to why Jesus entered Jerusalem as He did. If Jesus was not the Messiah, then He should have made His disciples to be quite. But, since He was the Messiah, He was the fulfillment of the centuries old prophecies. The mission of Jesus in Jerusalem was the decisive event in God’s great plan of the ages. Someone must herald such an event. If the voices of the humans were silent, then the rocks would shout praises to the Messiah.
Ultimate Tragedy 41-44
Jesus knew the outcome of His ministry in Jerusalem. Jesus had predicted His rejection and death on many occasions. (Luke 9:22, Luke 44: 13:33-34; Luke 18:31-34) The praise of His followers as He approached Jerusalem did not change His mind. Others were shouting joyful words of praise, but Jesus was weeping. Jesus had expressed His desire to gather His people as a hen gathers her chicks but the people would not let Him. In two other ways Jesus had described this tragedy. Jesus had come as the Prince of Peace but they did not recognize Him. God had come to visit His blessings of salvation upon them but they did not know it.
Jesus prophesied of events that would happen in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. Verse 43 describes the siege and verse 44 the final ruin of Jerusalem.
Cleansing the Temple 45-46
Jesus in fulling the prophecy of Malachi went into the Temple and drove out the money changers. This was not a sudden burst of righteous indignation. This does not mean that He didn’t act with emotion but it does mean that He had a larger purpose than driving out the money changers. It was He, Jesus, not the priestly exploiters of the Temple, who was the real Lord of the House of God.
The High Priest and his assistants were the robbers of the poor, sincere worshippers who came to the Temple. The High Priest claimed to be providing a service for the people by the selling of the animals for sacrifice. But the people had to have the animals approved before they could be sacrificed and the animals sold in the Temple court had already been approved. The worshippers did not need to transport their own animals or risk them not being approved.
Jesus knew that this service was used to exploit the people. The High Priest controlled the inspectors and the sellers of the animals. He could charge fees for inspecting the animals and overcharge for the animals sold.
After the Cleansing 47-48
Jesus not only disrupted the work of the High Priest but He used the Temple court as a place for His daily teaching. At this time the High Priest was not a devout man and was more as a corrupt political boss. From the High Priest point of view Jesus driving out the money changers and taking over the court for teaching was a brazen power play. The High Priest reaction was predictable. No one was better at power plays than he and he formed a powerful coalition and began to make plans to destroy Jesus.