Read Luke 19
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
The Parable of the Ten Minas
11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’
22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 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.”
Jesus at the Temple
45 When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
47 Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
There’s a lot going on in Luke 19, but the key theme is that Jesus is the king! We read about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and while the people lift their voices to praise God, Jesus weeps. Why would Jesus cry during such a joyful moment? Scripture says, “If even you had known on this day what would bring you peace, but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42). He says these words looking upon the city of Jerusalem, and so many are missing out on the celebration; they don’t want Jesus to be their king. And even then, many in the crowd thought Jesus was coming as a different kind of king–one who was going to turn the Roman Empire upside down.
Prior to His triumphal entry, Jesus uses the Parable of the Ten Minas to illustrate the rejection of a man appointed king of a land yet rejected by his people despite his nobility. Like Jesus, he was given power and authority, but his people were disobedient, just like us. Whenever we choose to sin, we reject Jesus as our king and turn away from His authority.
So what can we do in light of this story? The beginning and end of this chapter give us some instruction on how to act. First, we should be like Zacchaeus who longed to see Jesus, even if it meant climbing up a tree because he was short. When Zacchaeus meets Jesus, he teaches us how to properly repent for our sins; he did that by offering himself to the Lord. He not only acknowledged his sin, but he made amends in order to be restored and to restore those whom he had wronged. Second, looking to the end of the chapter, we are reminded that the temple of the Lord is to be “a house of prayer” (Luke 19: 46). We are temples of the Holy Spirit and are to be made into places of prayer that treasure God’s Word. Prayer brings us into close relationship with God, and helps us to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
Here Scripture teaches us two ways to acknowledge Jesus as our King: to repent of our sins and to devote ourselves to prayer. Let us be the kind of people who live out those two things today.
1. Are there any sins you need to repent of today?
2. Who can you pray for today? Call or send them a text and let them know you’re praying for them.
3. Are there any aspects of your life where you are not letting Jesus be king?
By the Way
The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is a story that is accounted for in all four gospel accounts. To read the other three versions of it, check out Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, and John 12:12-19.
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2 thoughts on “Luke 19”
From a little child, the story of Zacchaeus has captivated me, when in Sunday School we sang about “the wee little man who climbed the sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see. And as the Savior passed that way HE looked up in the tree, and HE said—Zacchaeus, you come down, for I’m going to your house today.” We belted out this tune complete with hand motions. Somehow God was revealing His character to me even then. It matters not how ugly a backstory, even a despised, rich, chief tax-collector, Christ passionately pursued. Jesus invites himself into our mess, and meets us right where we are. That’s what He did as a babe born in Bethlehem, and He still does the same today. The real question is, will we respond and be restored into fellowship with Him or continue on a self-destructive path. Hebrews 3:15 says “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in rebellion.” The ultimate danger in hardening our hearts is we will never enter rest, either here or eternity. I pray we all find room in our hearts today for the Savior of the world.
I was struck today in Luke 19 by the story of Zacchaeus. Have there been times in life where you wanted someone noteworthy to see you – notice you – call you by name – give attention to you and perhaps even declare they would like to spend time with you? It changes things, especially if that noteworthy someone is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
I will never forget the day Jesus saw me, called me by name and told me as I stood in a cesspool of idols, self-righteousness and pride – that He loved me and wanted a relationship with me. My life has never been the same since (Isaiah 61:1)
Now, as an ambassador of Christ, who am I noticing? Calling by name? Asking to spend time with that through my obedience and the Holy Spirit’s work, they may meet the One who saves; the One who came to set the captives free and bring the peace that passes all understanding?