Text: Luke 19
Event(s): Zacchaeus; The Parable of the Minas; Jesus Triumphal Entry; 2nd Cleansing of the Temple
And so we begin walking through the Passion Week of Jesus, the Christ. It is now Spring time and the setting is primarily Jerusalem as everyone makes their way there for the Feast of Passover. Jesus has predicted His death and resurrection three times. He knows what lies before Him, yet He continues to make time to minister to those in His path, such as Zacchaeus.
Our reading plan guides us through larger chunks of passages for easy following. However, as we have learned in reading through the Gospels chronologically, the events that take place don’t happen in the exact order as they are recorded. And in the passages that follow it gets a little more tricky with placing the events in chronological order. It will require us to skip around a bit. I’ll do my best to organize those for us as we go along.
Though today, our reading plan takes us only through Luke 19, the order of events actually takes place as follows. As you’ll see, I’ve also broken down the parallel accounts of each event. This replaces my usual additional optional reading suggestions.)
Jesus has an encounter with Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
Jesus teaches using the Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:11-27)
Jesus returns to the home of Mary & Martha (John 11:55-12:1 – this will be included in tomorrow’s reading)
We learn of the plot to kill Lazarus (John 12:9-11 – also included in tomorrow’s reading)
Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-44; Matthew 21:1-9, Mark 11:1-11, John 12:12-19)
The fig tree is cursed ( Matthew 21:18-19)
The temple is cleansed (Luke 19:45-48, Matthew 21:12-13 and Mark 11:15-18)
Luke 19:1-2 Jericho served as a main customs site for goods entering Israel from the East. Therefore, it would have been a major hub for tax collecting. The profession of a tax collector itself wasn’t particularly high-paying, but the tax collectors were known to overcharge the people above what was customary and pocket the rest. In doing so, they had the potential to become very wealthy. (This is one of the reasons they were so hated by the people. Their wealth was achieved by dishonest practices.) The fact that Zacchaeus was “rich” probably meant he had done his fair share of taking his cuts.
Luke 19:4 “he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him” Jesus often spoke of having child-like faith. I only ever climbed trees as a child. The eagerness with which he ran and climbed showed his passion. This reminds me of King David, “And I will be even more undignified than this…” (2 Samuel 6:22a) It takes both passion and child-like faith to move past whatever limitations we have in order to pursue all that God has for us.
Luke 19:8 “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor…” When Jesus becomes Lord of our lives and we are born again, His ways are now written on the tablets of our hearts. (Jer 31:33, Hebrews 8:10, Hebrews 10:16) We have a fresh new slate and all of a sudden are awakened to a new way of living, a new way of interacting with others, a new way of making decisions, even a new way of running our businesses. But rebirth doesn’t just give us a fresh slate for the future. God also empowers us to make right where we had been wrong. Our conscience is reset and we are empowered to live righteously and do things we never even imagined prior. This example makes it very clear that a natural byproduct of a renewed heart and mind is to give. When our hearts are in opposition, we instead are driven to take, keep, self-protect and store up for ourselves.
Luke 19:11-27 “Parable of the Minas” This is not to be confused with the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. That will come later. This parable was given because Jesus knew the people were expecting the kingdom to come upon them suddenly – like a hostile takeover. Instead, Jesus teaches that while the kingdom had come, and is among us, it’s fullness will be delayed. In the meantime, the kingdom has been entrusted to us to be faithful stewards of it. In fact, we often hear it said that we are living in the “dispensation of grace” (Ephesians 3:2) Dispensation defined actually means “stewardship”.
Luke 19:14 “but his citizens hated him” These were the people the servants had to “do business” among. Even in the midst of resistance, the servants had to be faithful with what they had been entrusted with, as do we.
Luke 19:21 “For I feared you, because you are an austere man…” Interesting…the perception a worker has for those who are place in leadership positions over them determines their fruitfulness. All three were given the same job. All three were given the same amount of resources. All three worked for the same man. All three produced different results. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV
Luke 19:31 “Because the Lord has need of it.” It was as if though God had already spoken to the heart of the person who owned the colt and he would expecting the disciples.
Luke 19:41 “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it.” His tears were not for Himself and for what He was about to endure. His tears were for the people. Only Jesus could weep compassionately for a people knowing their praises would be short lived and they would soon not only reject Him, but also brutally crucify Him. Yet for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, thinking little of the shame. (Hebrews 12:2)
Luke 19:42 “If you had known….the things that make for your peace…” May we also, in our day t0 day, know and choose that which makes for a peaceful life.
Luke 19:45-48 “Jesus cleanses the temple” He did it at the start of His ministry, and now He does it again towards the end. It shows clearly that there was no change of heart in their actions. They went on doing what they had done previously.
Today’s Takeaway: Where to begin? Whenever I come to this part in the Gospels, it’s as though everything moves before me in slow motion. I picture it as best as I can and am moved to tears at the love and compassion of my Savior. All I can do is fall to my knees in worship of the One who is worthy of all my praise, devotion and adoration. Yes, my entire life. Today’s takeaway can only be that of thankfulness and love.
“We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19