Luke Chapter Nineteen


v.1-21And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.”


            As noted in our discussion about the blind man healed on the road to Jericho; that city was Jesus’ immediate destination.  Only Luke records Jesus encounter with a man called Zacchaeus.  This man is described as being “chief among the publicans” and “rich”.  Most publicans were rich but this man’s assignment near the places were many roads crossed the Jordan would be a very lucrative place to be positioned indeed.


v.3-4  3And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.”


            Zacchaeus was one who sought to see Jesus, not just out of idle curiosity but he was determined that he would see him.  He was a small man.  For the rest of my life I will always associate him with Mark Aites, who preaches for the church at Swartz Creek, MI.  Mark is a small man, in a crowd he would have to do the same thing that Zacchaeus did, and he came to VBS one year, when one of the lessons was based upon Luke’s record, dressed as Zacchaeus.  The sycamore tree of the Middle East is not like our sycamore’s here on this continent but closer in size to a fig tree or mulberry.  So Zacchaeus climbed the tree in order to be able to see Jesus.


v.5-65And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.’


            Jesus knew the heart of this man; that he was a good man, he knew the reason he was in the tree and the effort that he went to in order to see him.  So Zacchaeus was not only rewarded by being able see Jesus but Jesus also invited himself to stay in his house.  Even though Zacchaeus was a very prominent man, rich and in authority over other tax-collectors he came down from his perch and “RECEIVED” Jesus “JOYFULLY.”


v.7And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.”


            They, we don’t know who all is included in this “THEY” but just as the scribes and Pharisees did on the occasion recorded in Luke 5:30; they condemned Jesus for associating with a man they considered to be a sinner.  The Jews hated the publicans because of their service to the Roman government and, of course, because they were paid out of the taxes they collected or worked on a percentage basis; many were corrupt as well.


v.8And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.”


            Zacchaeus probably heard the murmurings of the people.  Yes, he was a publican, yes, he was in a position that would have allowed him to abuse his authority but his integrity would not allow him to stand by and just accept the accusations made against him.  He stood, the same word we found in Luke 18:11, he took a posture and declared to Jesus that he gave half of his income to the poor, half, yet he was rich.  Can we out give God?  Absolutely not.  Not only did he give half his income away, if he took anything or exacted taxes against someone based upon incorrect information, he restored to that person four times the amount that was taken.  Why would he do that?  It was the spirit of the Mosaic Law.


Exodus 22:11If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep


When confronted with Nathan’s example designed to convict David of his sin with Bathsheba, he makes reference to that requirement.


II Samuel 12:66And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”


v.9-109And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”


            “This day is salvation come to this house”, Jesus saw in the heart of this man a penitent and contrite spirit.  He was a welcome guest, just as he must be in our houses and hearts today.  This man, though a man of authority and prominence in his community was willing and ready to receive instruction from Jesus and just as willing to follow from the heart that instruction.

            Jesus also notes that this man was a “son of Abraham”, a Hebrew, one of the chosen of God, but lost, and because of his receptiveness; one that Jesus had come to seek and to save.  Paul says that all of us that are of “Faith” are also spiritual children of Abraham and enjoy the same blessing:


Galatians 3:7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.”


v.11And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.”


            Jesus now gives the multitude some instruction in the form of a parable.  They are coming near to Jerusalem and the people thought that he was going there to establish a new physical kingdom of Israel.  Remember as he enters the city for the final time, he enters as a king as we will see later in this chapter and in John 12.


v.12-1312He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.”


            Though this parable is very similar to the parable of the talents it was given at a different time and for a different purpose.  This parable was actually presented to the entire multitude during Jesus journey to Jerusalem; the parable of the talents was presented after his entry into the city and only to his disciples.

            A nobleman or ruler goes into a far country but before he goes, he calls in ten of his servants and gives them a small amount of money to manage while he is gone.  The word translated “pound” here is the Greek “mimas” and is equal to about sixteen or eighteen dollars, whereas the “talent” in the parable of the talents was a large amount equal to about one thousand dollars.  In this parable the nobleman (Jesus) is transferring only a small portion of his goods to test the faithfulness of his servants, in the parable of the talents the nobleman (Jesus) is transferring his entire substance on earth to his disciples. Matthew 25:14-30


v.1414But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.”


            The nobleman was hated; his citizens didn’t want him to rule over them.  H. Leo Boles points out in his commentary that this has a parallel in secular history.  When Herod died his son, Archelaus, traveled to Rome to meet with Caesar and secure his father’s throne.  The people had had enough of the Herod family as their rulers and also sent an ambassador to Caesar to convey the message that they didn’t want him.  So Jesus is using something that the people knew and were familiar with to bring his lesson in this parable.


v.15And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.”


            In spite of the opposition of his citizens this nobleman received his authority to rule over this kingdom.  So when he returns he calls in his servants for an accounting of the funds that he gave them to trade and get gain, which is what the word “occupy” in verse 13 means they should do.

            The day of reckoning has come, just as the day of reckoning will come for all those whom God has given blessings when we present the results of our stewardship in the day of judgment.  Judgment that Peter tells will begin with us:


I Peter 4:1717For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”


v.16-1716Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.”


            The first servant called to give an account is very faithful to his Lord’s instructions.  He has taken the pound that he was given and through his stewardship it has been multiplied ten times.  Consequently he is given the authority to rule over ten cities in the nobleman’s new kingdom.


v.18-1918And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.”


            The second servant didn’t do as well as the first but he still has a good report and has multiplied his pound by five and is given a proportionate reward as ruler over five cities.


v.20-2120And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: 21For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.”


            We’re not given an account of all ten of these servants, just three because that is all that is needed to make the point that Jesus wants to make with this parable.  The next servant is simply called “another” servant and his report is not at all what this nobleman wants to hear.  Because he says that his lord is a austere man, (what does this mean? Severe in manner, strict, harsh, stern) he was afraid to take any kind of risk with the pound he was given.  He was afraid of failing, so he did nothing.  He wrapped his lord’s money in something translated as a napkin.  Do we know what that was?  Who has seen a bandanna handkerchief?  They came in red or blue when I was a boy and we used them to wipe sweat.  This servant didn’t need it for that purpose so he used it to wrap his lord’s pound for safe keeping.


v.22-2322And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: 23Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?”


            The nobleman says that this servants very own words have condemned him.  He’s like the Amalekite who killed Saul and Jonathan; when he presented the crown and bracelet to David expecting a reward David condemned him to die:


I Samuel 1:1616And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD’S anointed.”


            This nobleman also says that the least that this servant could have done was to put his money in the bank, or money lenders, so that it might gain interest.


v.2424And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.”


            We do not read here of any special punishment for this unfaithful servant just complete rejection by his lord.  Any blessings or privileges that this servant may have enjoyed are taken away and he is cast aside as worthless.  We too, if found to be unfaithful servants will be cast aside by God, the difference being that if we are cast aside by God we will also suffer eternal separation and punishment along with his enemies.


v.25-2625(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) 26For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.”


            The nobleman’s servants don’t understand why the one who gained ten pounds should receive the single pound that he has removed from the unfaithful servant.  They react the way most people would today, he already has ten, why give him more.  Jesus now makes the point intended with this parable.  When we fail to use the trust given us by God, however small we may think that to be, we will lose it.  At the same time the one who is found faithful will be blessed with increased blessings.  This is a principle that he has taught many times and in fact is recorded for us in scripture that we have studied before in this series: Matthew 13:12, Matthew 25:29, Mark 4:25 and:


Luke 8:18Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.”


v.2727But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”


            Jesus here refers back to his example in verse 14.  Those that hated him, those that were his enemies, those that rebelled against him and refused to allow him to rule over them would be destroyed.  When the king comes into his kingdom they will be treated as rebels in the final judgment and they will receive just recompense just as the Hebrew writer tells us:


Hebrews 2:2-32For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; 3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;”


v.2828And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.”


            When he finished his discourse Jesus continues on his journey.  You go up from Jericho to Jerusalem because Jericho is in the plain of Jordan and Jerusalem is on the mountain to the southwest.


v.2929And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,”


            Jesus is now in the place from which he will make his final entrance into Jerusalem and suffer the events that are waiting for him there.  He is approaching Jerusalem from the east.  Bethany is about a mile and one half east of the city at this time.  Bethphage must have been very near Bethany and the Mount of Olives is just across the Kidron valley in between Bethany and Jerusalem.


v.3030Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.”


            Jesus prepares for his entry into the city.  He sends two of his disciples to secure a colt “WHEREON YET NEVER MAN SAT”.  Why did Jesus want an animal that had never been ridden, seems like that may be somewhat dangerous?  Under Mosaic Law they were not to use animals that had been worked or used for any other purpose for sacrifices or any other sacred purpose.


Numbers 19:22This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:”


When David recovered the Ark of the Covenant from the Philistines, he didn’t do much of anything else right but he did do this part right.  I Samuel 6:7


v.31-3231And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. 32And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.”


            He also tells his disciples that if anyone questions them, or asks why they are taking the animal they are simply to say that the Lord has need of him.  Jesus in his divine wisdom knew what they would find, knew where they were to go and what preparations had already been made for him.


v.33-3433And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? 34And they said, The Lord hath need of him.”


            When they take the colt, either the owner or his servants apparently see them and do ask why they are doing what they’re doing.  They give the answer that Jesus told them to give and there were no further questions or objections.


v.35-3635And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. 36And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.”


            The disciples brought the colt to Jesus and prepared him to be ridden by putting their mantles on his back and then set Jesus on him.  These mantles apparently belonged to Jesus disciples.  The balance of the multitude spread their clothes before Jesus for him to ride over.  Matthew 21:8 says that they also spread the branches of trees in his path, John 12:13 tells us that it was palm tree branches.  What religious man-made holiday is celebrated in remembrance of this occurrence?  Palm Sunday.  Why did they spread their clothes in his path?  It was a sign of honor:


II Kings 9:1313Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king.”


v.3737And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;”


            Jesus is descending the mount of Olives into the Kidron valley going toward the city of Jerusalem.  The disciples begin to rejoice, shout and praise God. 


v.3838Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”


Matthew 21:9, Mark 11:9-10 record their actual words calling Jesus the Son of David, one who was coming in the name of the Lord, the Messiah who was to bring the kingdom of God to Jerusalem.  They believed on Jesus at this point and thought that he had come to take over the throne of David and rule the Israelite nation from Jerusalem.  They had tried once before to take Jesus by force to make him king and Jesus thwarted them:


John 6:1515When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”


v.39-4039And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”


            Jesus enemies are still with him.  They don’t appreciate the tumult, they especially don’t like the idea that the multitude is claiming that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Son of David, the one who is to become the ruler of Israel and they don’t understand that his reign will be over a spiritual Israel not the physical kingdom they supposed.  They tell him to make his disciples stop but he tells them that if they did even the stones by the road side would cry out to herald his arrival.  God’s plan is marching relentlessly forward to its conclusion.


v.41-4241And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.”


            As the procession descends the mount of Olives and the city comes into view, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem.  If they only knew, if they could only be reached, if they would only hear and heed the Word of God, they would be spared so much suffering.  But they were an obstinate and rebellious people.  From the time that God led them across the Red Sea until the city was completely destroyed by the Roman armies, their willful ignorance, their prejudice and their unbelief had blinded them to the truth.  They are indeed as Jesus describes:


Matthew 13:1515For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”


v.43-4443For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”


            The days of Jerusalem and God’s chosen people are numbered, Jesus knows this and this adds further reason for his weeping.  The city will be destroyed as prophesied:


Micah 3:1212Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.”


Isaiah 29:3-43And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. 4And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.”


v.45-4645And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 46Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.”


            After his description of the destruction of this city and his entrance into it Jesus goes to the temple.  He, of course, did not enter into the sacred places restricted to the priests, as he was not a priest under the Mosaic Law but entered the porches and courts that were open to regular citizens of Israel.  He had cleansed the temple of the vendors, sellers and money changers at the beginning of his ministry:


John 2:14-1514And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;”


            As it is written; the temple was supposed to be a house of prayer, the prophets speak of it as such:


Isaiah 56:77Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”


            But they had made it a den of thieves, people gouging those that traveled a long way to attend the feasts because they needed animals for sacrifice and because they needed to exchange the money from their homelands to the temple shekels that were required to make their offering.  The words of Jeremiah’s question have indeed come to pass:


Jeremiah 7:1111Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.”


v.47-4847And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, 48And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.”


            Jesus earthly life is about to come to an end.  He is teaching daily in the temple, returning to Bethany or to the mount of Olives each night and then back to the city each day.  He does this from the time he arrives in Jerusalem until he is arrested in Gethsemane.  The chief of the people or the chief priests (Mark 11:18) and the scribes sought to destroy him.  The chief priests were the high priests; they had two at this time, Annas and Caiaphas, one the legitimate high priest, the other appointed by the Romans and the chiefs of the twenty-four courses or groups of priests that served the temple.  The scribes were the lawyers, those responsible for keeping the record of the Mosaic Law and copying it for the synagogues to use.  These men were in a quandary about how they could carry out their purpose; because the people heard Jesus and were attentive to his teaching.