Luke 19 Commentary


NOTE: This Verse by Verse Commentary page is part of an ongoing project to add notes to each verse of the Bible. Therefore many verses do not yet have notes, but if the Lord tarries and gives me breath, additions will follow in the future. The goal is to edify and equip you for the work of service (Eph 4:12-13-note) that the Lord God might be glorified in your life and in His Church. Amen (Isa 61:3b-note, Mt 5:16-note)

From Jensen's Survey of the NT by permission

Luke 19:1  He entered Jericho and was passing through.

Butler's Outline of Luke 19

  • The Conversion of Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10)
  • The Counsel About Stewardship (Luke 19:11-27)
  • The Coming Into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-40)
  • The Crying Over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44)
  • The Cleansing of the Temple (Luke 19:45-48)
  • Analytical Bible Expositor - Analytical Bible Expositor – Luke.

He entered Jericho - For context remember that since Lk 9:51-note Jesus had been journeying toward His final goal, Jerusalem and the Passover (for He was the Passover Lamb - 1 Cor 5:7, Jn 1:29 - play Watch the Lamb). (See diagram of Jesus' final journey). He was now near the end, because Jerusalem was only about 15 miles southwest of Jericho. In this final leg of the journey, Jesus had crossed the Jordan river from Perea into Judea (see map or here for Pereaon the road which passed through this city passed through Jericho which was about 700 feet below sea level and was His last stop prior to beginning His ascent into the Holy City (Jerusalem was about 3,300 feet higher than Jericho - Thus in Lk 10:30-note "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho"). Matthew says they were leaving Jericho

Brian Bell on Jericho - In Jesus day it was famous for its balm (an aromatic gum known for its medicinal qualities). It was also the winter capital, which made it a wealthy city.

Alfred Edersheim describes Jericho in Jesus’ day:

The ancient City occupied not the site of the present wretched hamlet, but lay about half an hour to the north-west of it, by the so-called Elisha-Spring. A second spring rose an hour further to the north-north-west. The water of these springs, distributed by aqueducts, gave, under a tropical sky, unsurpassed fertility to the rich soil along the ‘plain’ of Jericho, which is about twelve or fourteen miles wide ... Josephus describes it as the richest part of the country, and calls it a little Paradise. Marc Antony had bestowed the revenues of its balsam-plantations as an Imperial gift upon Cleopatra, who in turn sold them to Herod. King Herod built a hippodrome there, and also a summer palace. Here grew palm-trees of various kinds, sycamores, the cypress-flower, the myro-balsamum, which yielded precious oil, but especially the balsam-plant. the balsam grown there was sold throughout the ancient near east. If to these advantages of climate, soil, and productions we add, that it was, so to speak, the key of Judaea towards the east, that it lay on the caravan-road from Damascus and Arabia, that it was a great commercial and military center, and lastly, its nearness to Jerusalem, to which it formed the last ‘station’ on the road of the festive pilgrims from Galilee and Peraea—it will not be difficult to understand either its importance or its prosperity.

We can picture to ourselves the scene, as our Lord on that afternoon in early spring beheld it. There it was, indeed, already summer, for, as Josephus tells us, even in winter the inhabitants could only bear the lightest clothing of linen. We are approaching it from the Jordan. It is protected by walls, flanked by four forts. These walls, the theatre, and the Amphitheatre, have been built by Herod; the new palace and its splendid gardens are the work of Archelaus. All around wave groves of feathery palms, rising in stately beauty; stretch gardens of roses, and especially sweet-scented balsam-plantations—the largest behind the royal gardens, of which the perfume is carried by the wind almost out to sea, and which may have given to the city its name (Jericho, ‘the perfumed’). It is the Eden of Palestine, the very fairyland of the old world. And how strangely is this gem set! Deep down in that hollowed valley, through which tortuous Jordan winds, to lose his waters in the slimy mass of the Sea of Judgment. The river and the Dead Sea are nearly equidistant from the town—about six miles. Far across the river rise the mountains of Moab, on which lies the purple and violet colouring. Towards Jerusalem and northwards stretch those bare limestone hills, the hiding-place of robbers along the desolate road towards the City. There, and in the neighbouring wilderness of Judæa, are also the lonely dwellings of anchorites [hermits]—while over all this strangely varied scene has been flung the many-coloured mantle of a perpetual summer. And in the streets of Jericho a motley throng meets: pilgrims from Galilee and Peræa, priests who have a ‘station’ here, traders from all lands, who have come to purchase or to sell, or are on the great caravan-road from Arabia and Damascus—robbers and anchorites, wild fanatics, soldiers, courtiers, and busy publicans—for Jericho was the central station for the collection of tax and custom, both on native produce and on that brought from across Jordan. (For additional description of this scene to help set the context read Edersheim's remarks on Jesus' entry into Jericho - The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah - In Jericho And At Bethany - Jericho - A Guest With Zacchæus - The Healing Of Blind Bartimæus - The Plot At Jerusalem - At Bethany, And In The House Of Simon The Leper)

William Barclay on Jericho “It had a great palm forest and world-famous balsam groves which perfumed the air for miles around. Its gardens of roses were known far and wide. Men called it ‘The City of Palms.’ Josephus called it ‘a divine region,’ ‘the fattest in Palestine.’ The Romans carried its dates and balsam to world-wide trade and fame.” 

Ray Pritchard - There was a major road which ran from the south to the north through Jericho. If you were coming from the north down along the western side of the Jordan River and you wanted to go to Jerusalem you would inevitably go through the city of Jericho. From the north or the east, if you were coming through Damascus, you would come through Jericho. From the south you would cross over the Dead Sea and up through Jericho to Jerusalem. What that means is this. Jericho in Jesus’ day was a good place to be because if you knew what you were doing, you could make a lot of money. It was a good place to be if you had a good idea and were willing to work hard to make your idea become reality. A lot of things went to Jericho, a lot of things came out.

In Luke 18:37-note "Jesus of Nazareth was passing by" the place where the blind beggars were located. They could not see Jesus because of physical blindness and Lk 19:3 says Zaccheus could not see Jesus because he was short in stature. Both however made an effort to seek out Jesus - Bartimaeus by screaming as loud as he could and Zaccheus by climbing up a sycamore tree! If you want to really see Jesus, you can see Him. It is all about your heart. You may say you want to see Him but your words do not match the desire of your heart. Both Bartimaeus and Zaccheus truly wanted to see Jesus. The rich young ruler at first seemed to want to see Him, coming closer to Him initially than either Bartimaeus and Zaccheus, but that was not the desire of his heart, for his true desire was his wealth, which was his "functional" idol. Idols will keep you for personal contact with Jesus either the first time (for salvation) or subsequently even after salvation (for daily communion). Dear follower of Christ, beware of allowing "functional idols" into your life, for it will disturb your sense of nearness to Jesus, for idols will grieve and/or quench His Spirit! (As a good "preventative," pray Ps 139:23-24 frequently!)

Passing through (1330)(dierchomai from dia = through + erchomai = come, go) means to go through, to pass through, to move through an area ("When they had gone through the whole island" = Acts 13:6; Jesus "went about doing good and healing" = Acts 10:38; Paul "went about preaching the kingdom" = Acts 20:25, cf Acts 8:4, 40, 17:23; "they began going throughout the villages" = Lk 9:6; Jesus "passing through Jericho" = Lk 19:1; Jesus "was passing between Samaria and Galilee" = Lk 17:11; "when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places" = Mt 12:43; "easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle" = Mk 10:25; "all passed through the sea" =1 Cor 10:1; "a great High Priest Who has passed through the heavens" = Heb 4:14). To pierce (figuratively "a sword will pierce even your own soul" = Lk 2:35). To go about ("I went about preaching the kingdom" = Acts 20:25). To go from place to place or be scattered ("those who had been scattered went about preaching the word" = Acts 8:4). To spread (Figuratively of a report being told everywhere = "the news about Him was spreading even farther" = Lk 5:15; Figuratively = "death spread to all men, because all sinned" = Ro 5:12).  It can mean simply to come or go ("the angels had gone away from them into heaven" = Lk 2:15; Jn 4:15;  “Do not delay in coming to us.” = Acts 9:38)

Dierchomai - 42x in 40v - come(1), coming(1), go(1), go across(1), go over(2), go straight(1), go through(1), going(1), going through(1), going throughout(1), gone through(2), made their way(1), pass(2), pass through(1), passed(1), passed through(7), passed...through(1), passes(2), passing(2), passing through(3), pierce(1), spread(1), spreading(1), through*(1), traveling through(2), went about(3).

Matt. 12:43; Mk. 4:35; Mk. 10:25; Lk. 2:15; Lk. 2:35; Lk. 4:30; Lk. 5:15; Lk. 8:22; Lk. 9:6; Lk. 11:24; Lk. 17:11; Lk. 19:1; Lk. 19:4; Jn. 4:4; Jn. 4:15; Acts 8:4; Acts 8:40; Acts 9:32; Acts 9:38; Acts 10:38; Acts 11:19; Acts 12:10; Acts 13:6; Acts 13:14; Acts 14:24; Acts 15:3; Acts 15:41; Acts 16:6; Acts 17:23; Acts 18:23; Acts 18:27; Acts 19:1; Acts 19:21; Acts 20:2; Acts 20:25; Rom. 5:12; 1 Co. 10:1; 1 Co. 16:5; 2 Co. 1:16; Heb. 4:14

Dierchomai - 153x in 147v in the Septuagint.

Gen. 4:8; Gen. 15:17; Gen. 22:5; Gen. 41:46; Exod. 12:12; Exod. 14:20; Exod. 32:27; Lev. 26:6; Num. 20:17; Num. 20:18; Num. 20:20; Num. 31:23; Deut. 2:7; Jos. 3:2; Jos. 16:3; Jos. 16:6; Jos. 18:4; Jos. 18:13; Jos. 18:14; Jos. 18:15; Jos. 18:17; Jos. 18:18; Jos. 19:12; Jos. 19:13; Jos. 19:27; Jos. 19:34; Jdg. 5:16; Jdg. 11:18; Jdg. 11:20; Jdg. 21:20; 1 Sam. 2:30; 1 Sam. 2:35; 1 Sam. 6:20; 1 Sam. 9:4; 1 Sam. 9:27; 1 Sam. 12:2; 1 Sam. 14:23; 1 Sam. 26:22; 1 Sam. 30:31; 2 Sam. 7:7; 2 Sam. 11:27; 2 Sam. 15:34; 2 Sam. 17:22; 2 Sam. 17:24; 2 Sam. 20:14; 2 Sam. 24:2; 1 Ki. 3:6; 1 Ki. 18:5; 1 Ki. 18:6; 2 Ki. 4:31; 2 Ki. 4:42; 2 Ki. 14:9; 1 Chr. 4:38; 1 Chr. 17:6; 1 Chr. 21:4; 2 Chr. 15:12; 2 Chr. 17:9; 2 Chr. 20:10; 2 Chr. 23:15; 2 Chr. 30:5; Neh. 12:31; Est. 6:11; Job 41:16; Ps. 18:12; Ps. 42:4; Ps. 42:7; Ps. 66:6; Ps. 66:12; Ps. 73:7; Ps. 73:9; Ps. 88:16; Ps. 90:4; Ps. 103:16; Ps. 104:10; Ps. 104:20; Ps. 105:13; Ps. 105:18; Ps. 124:4; Ps. 124:5; Prov. 28:10; Cant. 4:8; Isa. 13:20; Isa. 21:1; Isa. 41:3; Isa. 43:2; Isa. 52:1; Isa. 59:14; Jer. 2:10; Jer. 8:20; Jer. 13:1; Jer. 22:8; Jer. 37:4; Jer. 48:32; Lam. 4:21; Lam. 5:18; Ezek. 5:17; Ezek. 9:4; Ezek. 14:17; Ezek. 16:6; Ezek. 16:8; Ezek. 29:11; Ezek. 44:2; Ezek. 47:3; Ezek. 47:4; Ezek. 47:5; Joel 3:17; Amos 5:17; Amos 6:2; Amos 8:5; Jon. 2:3; Mic. 2:13; Mic. 5:8; Nah. 1:15; Hab. 1:11; Zech. 10:11;

Here are a few examples...

Genesis 15:17-note   It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.

Exodus 12:12  ‘For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments–I am the LORD.

Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night. 

Ezekiel 9:4-note  (The LORD said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.”

J R Miller on Jesus' passing through - This was Zaccheus' day of opportunity. Jesus is ever passing by. He does not linger. He may come again--He does continually come again. But He is ever moving on, and blessing we would get from Him at any time--we must get as He passes by. All the days seem alike as they come to us; but each one is really individual and peculiar, coming with its own opportunities, privileges, and blessings. If we do not take just then the gifts it offers, we never shall have another chance to get them, and always shall be poorer for what we have missed. (Ed: Should this truth not motivate us to fight off the powerful temptations of sin so that we do not grieve the Spirit's workings and miss the opportunities the Spirit of Jesus presents to us as He is "passing through" our day? Indeed, if we give in to sin, it will veil our spiritual eyes to the day's supernatural opportunities and this fact should STRONGLY MOTIVATE each of us to fight the good fight of faith [1 Ti 1:18, 6:12-note], by the Spirit putting to death the deeds of the body, [Ro 8:13-note], abstaining from evil in whatever "form" it rears its tempting head [1 Th 5:22-note], to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against our soul [1 Pe 2:11-note].)

Luke 19:2  And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich.


And there - The NAS does not translate the interjection idou which means "Behold" and is used to grab the reader's attention, in this context being used to introduce a new character. We have just met Bartimaeus (Mk 10:46, Lk 18:35-43-note), the blind beggar who met Jesus as He was passing by and had obtained his sight and his soul for his faith had also saved him from eternal destruction. 

Play this children's song (very Scriptural!) - Zaccheus was a Wee Little Man (another vocal)

I like Warren Wiersbe's outline for the changes Zaccheus experienced the day Jesus passed by - "Lk 19:2-4 = A Man Became a Child (ran down the street like a little child"), Lk 19:5 = A Seeking Man Became Found; Lk 19:7-8 = "A Small Man Became Big; Lk 19:9-10 = A poor man became rich (The child of God is born rich, for he shares "every spiritual blessing" in Jesus Christ [Eph. 1:3]. We have the riches of God's mercy and grace [Eph. 1:7; 2:4] as well as the riches of His glory [Phil. 4:19] and wisdom [Rom. 11:33]. These are "unsearchable riches" that can never be fully understood or completely exhausted [Eph. 3:8])...When a day begins, you never know how it will end. For Zaccheus, that day ended in joyful fellowship with the Son of God, for he was now a changed man with a new life. Jesus is still seeking the lost and yearning to save them. Has He found you? (Bible Exposition Commentary)

The name of Zaccheus - Zaccheus is derived from a Hebrew verb zakak which means to be bright, clean, pure, innocent (cf "make yourselves clean" - Isa 1:16). Thayer says Zaccheus means "pure, innocent." What an ironic name, because tax collectors were considered anything but pure, and in fact were treated as "unclean" by the Jews, and certainly an unlikely candidate for salvation! However as noted below with each of Luke's mention of tax collectors (Lk 3:12; 5:27; 7:29; 15:1; 18:10) he has described them as accepting the teaching of the Lord or actually being saved! God sees not as man sees (1 Sa 16:7)!

John Trapp writes that Zaccheus "should by his name have been a puritan (in the best sense), but he was an arch-publican, a public sinner, not simple, but subtle, a griping extortioner, a rich but wretched sycophant.” 

Ray Pritchard - Zaccheus has three strikes against him. Number one, he was a tax collector. Tax collectors back then weren’t liked any better than tax collectors are liked today. Number two, he was a crook and a cheat as we will find out later in the story. Number three, he was working for the hated Roman empire. So we have a crooked tax collector working for the enemy. They hated his guts. They couldn’t stand the sight of him. He represented everything that was wrong and bad about life as they knew it. When they saw Zaccheus coming, the people of Jericho wanted to get away because they didn’t like the sight of this man. The system worked like this: Rome would say to a “District Commissioner” like Zaccheus, “We want you to collect taxes of such-and-such amount, and send that amount to us.” So the Romans would assign the amount and the tax collector would set about collecting that amount. But there was one hitch: Most of the “District Commissioners” would collect more than the designated amount–sending this amount to Rome and putting the rest in their pockets. Thus incurring the wrath and hatred and displeasure of everyone in the town. Which is why Zaccheus is wealthy and rich and despised and hated. Zaccheus has learned the hard way one of the most basic lessons of life: You can be rich and not be happy. You can be wealthy and not be loved. You can be successful and not be satisfied. Lesson Number one. What money can’t buy. Zaccheus had learned it well. (Zaccheus Anonymous)

He was a  chief tax collector (754)(architelones from archi = chief, first in rank or degree + telones = tax collector) is found only here and indicates Zaccheus had other telones who were under him. This would explain Luke's addition that he was rich for he likely received part of income from these underlings. Luke mentions tax collectors six times in his Gospel and the present passage is the last one - Lk 3:12-note; Lk 5:27-32-note; Lk 7:29-34-note; Lk 15:1-note; Lk 18:10-13-note. One of the main trade routes came down the western side of the Jordan Rive and through Jericho to Bethany and Jerusalem. Zacchaeus as chief tax collector was over the entire tax district of Jericho which was one of the three main Palestinian tax offices, the other two being located at Caesarea and Capernaum. Zaccheus was at the top of the pyramid, so to speak. 

Hendriksen adds that "Now one of the things for which Jericho was famous was the balm derived from the balsam tree. Josephus (Antiquities XV.96) calls balsam "the most precious thing there is." It was fragrant, soothing, and highly regarded for its healing qualities. The trade in this commodity—and in other commodities abounding in the Jericho region—yielded high taxes for the Roman government. Besides, Jericho was at the heart and center of a vast trade route network (as noted above)...The city had trade connections with Damascus, Tyre, and Sidon to the north, Caesarea and Joppa to the west, and Egypt to the south, as well as with many other cities and countries in every direction. An important man, therefore, this Zacchaeus! (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke.)

While tax collectors were hated by the Jews, it was not a crime to be a tax collector. The crime was  in defrauding and extorting the people which usually "went with the territory!" When the tax collectors came to John the Baptist to be baptized, it is notable that he did not tell them to quit their jobs but he told them to “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.” (Lk 3:13-note). Jesus Himself affirmed the propriety and legality of paying taxes when He commanded "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s." (Lk 20:25-note). 

Tax collector (publican) (5057)(telones from telos = tax + onéomai = to buy) means a reaper of the taxes or customs who in turn paid the Roman government a sum for the privilege of collecting taxes in a district. Those who purchased rights to collect taxes for the Romans were chiefly of the equestrian order (belonging to the wealthy class known as the equites) and were of a higher class because they rode horses, or they were at least persons of wealth and rank like Zacchaeus, who had subcontractors or employed agents who collected the taxes and customs at the gates of cities, in seaports, on public ways and bridges. They were called publicans and were objects of hatred and detestation so that none but persons of worthless character were likely to be found in this employment. So now coming on the scene is not just a publican but the chief publican! Think of the mafia which always has a head man! Undoubtedly Zaccheus had a bad reputation, since the tax collecting system was open to abuse and extortion was a common practice.

Steven ColeIn light of the public hatred of tax collectors, it is significant that every time they are mentioned in Luke, it is in a favorable light (Lu 3:12; Lu 5:27; Lu 7:29; Lu 15:1; Lu 18:10; Lu 19:2). In fact, Jesus picked one (Levi, or Matthew) as one of His twelve apostles! This shows Jesus’ heart for sinners and the transforming power of His saving grace.

As J R Miller says "The luxurious and worldly comforts which money brings, are a paltry compensation for the hatred and contempt of one's neighbors, and a lack of respect in one's community... The exposure of getting rich dishonestly, has left many names disgraced in our own days." (aka "Bernie Madoff!)."

Henry Morris - Zacchaeus was very rich and powerful, and not many such as these are ever saved (Luke 18:24; 1 Corinthians 1:26). Yet this man showed his humility and his desire to know Christ (Luke 19:4), and the Lord saw a repentant, believing heart and recognized him, desiring to "sup with him" (Revelation 3:20) (Defender's Study Bible) 

Spurgeon - Jesus Christ had just blessed a blind man who was poor, so poor that he was a common wayside beggar; will he bless the rich man, too? Oh, yes! he knows no distinction of persons, he is ready to bless all classes; whether they be rich or poor is nothing to him.

And he was rich - Yes, he was rich by the world's standards, but he was a bankrupt sinner by God's standard of perfect righteousness! All his riches could not purchase the priceless gift of eternal life! This gift must be received into a humble, believing heart. 

Zaccheus had position and possessions, problems preventing salvation for most people (Lk 18:24-25) but praise God for Lk 18:17 "The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” Zaccheus proves to be a perfect example of this truth!

Rich (4145)(plousios from ploutos = wealth, abundance, riches) is an adjective which defines that which exists in a large amount with implication of its being valuable. Plousios refers to having an abundance of earthly possessions that exceeds normal experience. It is interesting that Luke has just described a rich young ruler who when he heard Jesus' commands in Lk 18:22-note "became very sad, for he was extremely rich (plousios)." And then Jesus proceeded to boggle the minds of His disciples declaring that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich (plousios) man to enter the kingdom of God (a synonym = "be saved," "inherit eternal life," or "be born again").” (Lk 18:25-note). And when they asked Jesus who then could be saved, He replied "The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (Lk 18:26, 27-note) Now in Luke 19:1-10 Luke gives us an illustration which is living proof that a rich man can be saved as the Spirit of God proceeds to save rich Zaccheus. While riches were the young ruler's idol, riches did not impede Zaccheus from coming to Jesus and holding nothing back. Notice that Jesus did not ask Zaccheus to sell everything and distribute to the poor. Jesus knew Zaccheus' heart and his unsolicited response to give to the poor and to make restitution to those he had defrauded, was clear evidence of the desire of his heart! Jesus also did not tell Zaccheus to quit his job as a tax collector. Why not? For one thing as noted it was not a crime to be a tax collector but it was a crime to be a tax collector who robbed the people. Surely Zaccheus changed heart would result in changed practices regarding tax collecting. And what effect might this have on those Jews who witnessed his changed behavior? Surely they would want to know why and it would ultimately be an opportunity for him to tell them about what Jesus had done in his heart. Not only that, but since he was the chief collector, this means he had many other collectors under him and almost certainly he would demand that they drop their dishonest practices. While, this is somewhat speculative because Scripture does not say definitively, it is a very reasonable scenario. One wonders if we will see any of Zaccheus' "employees" or "clients" in heaven as a result of his changed life? We will have to wait and see! How about your changed heart and transformed life? Has it had a "ripple effect" on those you are in daily contact? It should!

All Luke's uses of plousios - Lk. 6:24; Lk. 12:16; Lk. 14:12; Lk. 16:1; Lk. 16:19; Lk. 16:21; Lk. 16:22; Lk. 18:23; Lk. 18:25; Lk. 19:2; Lk. 21:1; 

Luke 19:3  Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature.


Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was - "He was trying to get a look at Jesus" (NET) Keep in mind that as a tax collector, Zaccheus was considered "unclean" and thus he was barred from attending the local Synagogue. As an aside, do you notice the rank hypocrisy? Church (synagogues back then) is supposed to be the very place unclean come so that they might be made clean by the Gospel! Now back to Zaccheus - We know his social circle was likely very small and restricted primarily to other tax collectors and others who were considered "unclean" in Jewish society (often lumped into the category "sinners" like prostitutes, etc). In Lk 15:1-note we see the two groups lumped together in the phrase "tax collectors and the sinners." In fact the phrase "tax collectors and sinners" in found 7x in 7v - Mt 9:10, 11, 11:19, Mk 2:15, 16, Lk 5:30, 7:34.

Ray Pritchard - Zaccheus had a problem. Verse 3 says he wanted “to see who Jesus was. But being a short man he could not because of the crowd.” That’s one problem I personally have never had. Zaccheus had the problem of being too short to see Jesus. I don’t know how tall he was–probably around 5 feet or a little less. I don’t think he was any bigger than that. He was a short, rich man who was the most hated man in town. And Zaccheus wants to see this Jesus so he’s pushing his way down the street. He tries to stand on his tiptoes but that doesn’t help. He starts pushing, “Excuse me. I’ve got to get through.” When people turn and see it’s Zaccheus they spit right in his face. Do you think they’re going to let the tax collector through? Not this year. Not any year. They hate this man. Zaccheus can’t fight his way through the crowd.... Do you suppose Zaccheus had heard through the tax collectors’ grapevine about what had happened when Jesus met Levi? He was another tax collector equally hated and despised and when Jesus had dinner with him, he said, “Levi, why don’t you come and follow me?” (By the way, what was Levi’s name when he became a follower of Jesus? Matthew.) Do you suppose that Zaccheus had heard that Jesus had called one of his colleagues into his ministry? Do you think it’s possible that Zaccheus for all his money had a hole in his heart that made him so desperate that he would do anything just to see this man?(Zaccheus Anonymous)

Brian Bill - Notice that it doesn’t say that Zaccheus just wanted to see Jesus. No. He wanted to see who Jesus was. He wanted to figure out what it was that made Jesus different from everyone else. He was drawn to this man who had just given sight to the blind beggar on the outskirts of Jericho. Now this healer was walking through his town. He may not have fully understood what was going on in his heart, but Zack had a desperate need to get to Jesus.

J R Miller - It is a golden moment in anyone's life--when he begins to want to see Jesus. It is the starting of a new life. The interest of all heaven centers upon a man in this world who begins to pray, to look for God for mercy, to long to become a Christian. There were difficulties in the way of Zacchaeus. There always are difficulties in the way of a man who wants to find God (cf Lk 8:12-note, 1 Th 2:15, 16, 18-note). The crowd was in the way of Zacchaeus; the crowd is always in the way of those who want to get to Christ. Zacchaeus was little, too little to see over the heads of the people; we are all in some sense too little of ourselves to see Christ. People hide Him from our eyes. We must expect that there will be obstacles in the way of our desire to find Him. (J R Miller)

Trying (Seeking)(2212)(zeteo) implies giving attention and priority to and deliberately pursuing after. The most common sense of this word means to go in search or quest of, to look for, to try to discover, to search for by going from place to place (including sycamore trees!) In short, zeteo means to endeavor to find by any means which is an apt description of Zaccheus who used the "means" of a tree! It is interesting to note that zeteo in classical Greek is a technical term for philosophical investigation, describing that which is “examined, considered” or “deliberated.” Zaccheus was not interested in an empty philosophy, but in an eternal Person! And with the verb zeteo, Luke uses the vivid imperfect tense (over and over, again and again is the idea) which perfectly depicts Zaccheus' efforts to see Jesus -- can't you see him trying to push through the crowd (who would recognize this little weasel and would not be at all inclined to make room for him to pass through, but instead feeling vindicated that this "slimy" little shyster would not even be able to get a glimpse of Jesus)? Or picture Zaccheus again and again trying to stand on his tip toes to see Jesus, but all to no avail. 

Was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature -   Edersheim calls the crowd a ""a solid wall of onlookers." I would say more like a barbed wire fence when it came to letting Zaccheus through! So as noted above it would be unlikely that anyone would offer this hated man a position on the first row of the crowd. This was the opportunity for those in the crowd who had been defrauded and extorted by this little man to put him in his place, so to speak! Small is the Greek adjective mikros (English "micro"). As we might say today he was "vertically challenged!"

Beloved, lest we look down on Zaccheus as being a "wee little man," the truth is we are all "wee little men" in the eyes of God "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Ro 3:23). God has a standard and every human born (other than Jesus) fails to measure up to that standard!

As Wiersbe says "We are all "too little" to enter into heaven! The tragedy is, many lost sinners think they are "big." They measure themselves by man's standards—money, position, authority, popularity—things that are an "abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15). They think they have everything when really they have nothing (Rev. 3:17). Zaccheus trusted Jesus Christ and became a true "son of Abraham," meaning, of course, a child of faith (Rom. 4:12; Gal. 3:7). That is as big as you can get! (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Brian Bill adds that in addition to his short physical stature "His second problem was spiritual ­ his sins were keeping him from Jesus. Isaiah 59:2 say that “our iniquities have separated us from God.” Not only was Zack of short stature, he, like us, was not able to measure up to God’s standards. He came up far short in a spiritual sense of ever entering into a relationship with God. He was short on integrity and tall on sin." (Sermon)

Stature (2244)(helika) has two main senses - (1) speaks of as the time of a person's life on earth (the period of time that one’s life continues) and so their span of life, age, time of life (Mt 6:27, Lk 12:25, perhaps Lk 2:52). It can refer to a particular period of life - of mature age, adulthood, maturity, age of legal maturity ("he is of age" = Jn 9:21, 23).  past the normal age to bear children = Heb 11:11 (2) bodily stature Lk 19:3. This meaning is also possible for Lk 2:52 and is probable for Mt 6:27 = Lk 12:25. Helika is used figuratively of the age which is sufficient or requisite for certain things as in Eph 4:13 = "to a mature man (to the measure of the full maturity of Christ - the spiritual maturity for which all believers should strive!)." Finally, as here in Lk 19:3 helika can refer to one's physical size or bodily stature. Stature is used of Jesus in Lk 2:52-note describing His growth as a child but could also include His growth in maturity. Helika is found in the Septuagint only in Ezekiel 13:18 and Job 29:18. 

Liddell Scott add that in the Greek culture helika was used to refer to the flower or prime of life from about 17 to 45, man's estate, manhood. 

Gilbrant Hēlikia in classical Greek means (1) “the age of adulthood, physical maturity, or discretion,” (2) “age” or “generation” as a measure of time, or (3) physical “size” as the sign of a particular age or level of maturity. The papyri contain the word in the first two meanings only (Moulton-Milligan). (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

The IVP Bible Background Commentary –  For Zacchaeus to be “short” by ancient Mediterranean standards probably means he was less than five feet tall.

Able (1410)(dunamai) conveys the basic meaning of having the inherent ability to accomplish some end. Clearly, in this case dunamai is modified in the Greek with a "negative" particle ("ou" = absolute negation) and in the vivid imperfect tense pictures short Zaccheus attempting again and again to see Jesus but finding himself thwarted by every attempt. But as we shall see, his zeal gives way to ingenuity. He was not to be deterred! 

A Better View

Read: Luke 19:1-10

Because he was short he could not see over the crowd. Luke 19:3

As a child, I loved to climb trees. The higher I climbed, the more I could see. Occasionally, in search of a better view, I might inch out along a branch until I felt it bend under my weight. Not surprisingly, my tree-climbing days are over. I suppose it isn’t very safe—or dignified.

Zacchaeus, a wealthy man, set aside his dignity (and perhaps ignored his safety) when he climbed a tree one day in Jericho. Jesus was traveling through the city, and Zacchaeus wanted to get a look at Him. However, “because he was short he could not see over the crowd” (Luke 19:3). Fortunately, those things did not stop him from seeing and even talking with Christ. Zacchaeus’s plan worked! And when he met Jesus, his life was changed forever. “Salvation has come to this house,” Jesus said (v. 9).

God rewards people who earnestly seek him (Heb. 11:6).

We too can be prevented from seeing Jesus. Pride can blind us from seeing Him as the Wonderful Counselor. Anxiety keeps us from knowing Him as the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). Hunger for status and stuff can prevent us from seeing Him as the true source of satisfaction—the Bread of Life (John 6:48).

What are you willing to do to get a better view of Jesus? Any sincere effort to get closer to Him will have a good result. God rewards people who earnestly seek Him (Heb. 11:6).

Thank You Jesus for all that You are. Show me more of Yourself as I read the Bible and pray. Help me to pursue You with all of my heart and mind.

To strengthen your faith in God, seek the face of God.

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 19:4  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way.


So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him - In the Near East it was very unusual to see a grown man running, much less a wealthy government official. And yet we can picture this small man running down the street like a little boy following a parade! Indeed, Zaccheus was acting like a little child! He was a perfect example of Jesus' words that "whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”(Lk 18:17-note) Much like the blind beggar Bartimaeus who would not stop calling out to Jesus "Have mercy on me," (Lk 18:38-39-note) Zaccheus' zeal to see Jesus would not be cooled by the crowd or curtailed by his short stature. He was a man on a mission! As he climbed into the tree one can just see the crowd catcalling and mocking this short shyster sitting in the sycamore! Zaccheus earnestly wanted something that religion could never give him. In fact, far too often "religion" is the very hindrance that prevents many proud men from seeking Jesus as He is passing by!

Spurgeon - Possibly he had not much respect, but he had great curiosity; he would like to see the man about whom everybody was talking: “He sought to see Jesus who he was.” Do you not see the little short man running in front of the throng, and climbing up a tree that stood in the way? Rich men do not generally climb trees, but here was a man whose curiosity overcame his dignity, so he “climbed up into a sycomore tree” Zacchaeus went up into the sycamore tree that he might see Jesus, but he was himself seen there by Jesus; and that, dear friends, is the first act in the process of salvation. Jesus looks at us, and then we look at him.

Alexander Maclaren quipped "I wish there were more of us who did not mind being laughed at if only what we did helped us to see Jesus!”

Brian Bell - Sycamore tree – Fig-mulberry tree. (leaves like mulberry, fruit that of a fig) And this tree was about to bear fruit!!!

Guzik comments that Zaccheus "climbed the tree like a little boy, and without knowing fulfilled Jesus’ word that unless we become like children we will not see the kingdom of God (Matthew 18:3 - "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven [i.e., you will not be saved or obtain eternal life]." See Lk 18:15-17-note).  (Enduring Word Bible Commentary – Luke 19)

John Calvin wrote: “Curiosity and simplicity are a sort of preparation for faith.” In other words Calvin is voicing what most commentators have said about Zaccheus, that he was seeking Jesus. Certainly he was curious ("trying to see who Jesus was" Lk 19:3). We know from Scripture that no man seeks for God (Ro 3:11-note), so if it was not out of curiosity, then it had to be because the Spirit had urged him to do so. Jesus taught that "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:44). In John 6:65 Jesus said "no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father." So here we can see the Trinity involved in orchestrating Zaccheus' encounter with Jesus, the Father drawing him through the inner working of the Spirit to seek the Son Who ultimately was really the One seeking Zaccheus! Amazing grace indeed! God's pursuit of Zaccheus reminds me of the poem by Francis Thompson (1859–1907). Although Thompson was a follower of Christ, he struggled with poverty, poor health, and an addiction to opium (which in those days was sold as an “over-the-counter” medication). In the depths of his despair, Thompson described his flight from God

The Hound of Heaven
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
  Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

Thompson's long poem (the preceding stanza is only a small excerpt) ends with the words that tell us the One from Whom the writer had been fleeing all his days was God Who says "Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,  I am He Whom thou seekest!" And so once again we see the "Hound of Heaven" saying as it were to despised Zaccheus "I am He Whom thou seekest!" John Stott wrote the following words which any of us who now follow Christ could have penned...

[My faith is] due to Jesus Christ himself, Who pursued me relentlessly even when I was running away from Him in order to go my own way. And if it were not for the gracious pursuit of the Hound of Heaven I would today be on the scrap-heap of wasted and discarded lives. (To which I say "Amen")

As an aside lest you be offended by the metaphor of God portrayed as a "hound" as Stott explained "there are good hounds as well as bad hounds, and that specially admirable are collies, which range the Scottish Highlands in search of lost sheep." In Psalm 23:6 David wrote "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life." Pastor Ray Stedman commenting on that passage wrote "Some quaint commentator has said that those two words goodness and mercy (hesed) are God's "sheep dogs". This is the Shepherd's Psalm. David wrote it when he was but a lad, keeping sheep. In referring to the goodness and mercy of God, he is referring to the sheep dogs that nip at the heels of the flock and keep them in line, driving them into place. "Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life," nipping at my heels, humiliating me, turning me back from that which looks good but is really evil, keeping me from getting what I think I need, and what I think I want. But in the end we must name these what God names them -- goodness and mercy!" Thank God that He did not give up, but keep on pursuing us into the sheepfold of the Kingdom of God! (Read Lk 15:3-7-note). And so we say with John "We love, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19-note). 

Steven Cole adds "John Calvin notes “the astonishing kindness” of our Lord who took the initiative to seek out this notorious sinner from whom others recoiled before there was any request on Zaccheus’ part (Calvin’s Commentaries). Charles Spurgeon said, “Christ does not leave it to ourselves to seek Him, or else it would be left indeed, for so vile is human nature that although heaven be offered, and though hell thunder in our ears, yet there never was, and there never will be, any man who, unconstrained by sovereign grace, will run in the way of salvation, and so escape from hell and flee to heaven." Thus if you are seeking God today, you can know that it is only because of the Savior’s kindness in taking the initiative to seek you first."

Ray Pritchard - I submit something for your consideration. If you had taken a poll that day and asked, “Name the most hated man in Jericho,” Zaccheus would have been named on 99% of the ballots. Virtually everybody would have said, “This is the worst man in town.” And then you’d ask the second question, “Who is the least likely person to want to see Jesus?” Zaccheus would once again have been at the top of the list. People had written off this crooked tax collector long ago. But when Jesus comes down he sees a man up a tree so desperate to see him. It’s the man everybody hates. Sometimes in our effort to share the gospel we get so discouraged. We think our friends and loved ones are never going to listen. We try to share Christ at work. We try to share Christ with our friends and our neighbors. We try to build bridges. We try to get to know people who don ’t know the Lord. We get discouraged when they don’t respond quickly. Sometimes they go months and years without responding at all. We look at them and we conclude that they are hardened to God. Zaccheus reminds us not to jump to hasty conclusions. If you had looked on the outside you would have written him off because his society had written him off. But in his heart, the Holy Spirit was working, waiting for the day when Jesus would arrive. (Ibid)

J R Miller comments that "Nothing should ever be allowed to hinder us, in a great purpose, especially in getting to see Jesus. Often one has to brave the ridicule of others--but we should never let ridicule hinder us from doing our duty and getting a blessing from Christ. We should not allow ourselves to be laughed out of heaven. Zacchaeus overcame his littleness, by getting up into a tree. Men must often overcome disadvantages by expedients. Personal disadvantages often become one's best blessings. The very effort to overcome them, makes one a stronger, nobler man." (Zaccheus)

The sycamore tree is most likely the sycamore fig tree, Ficus sycomorus (not the North American sycamore or European-Asian sycamore maple) which grows in the Near Ease (map), which grew up to 50 feet tall with broad low branches (which Zaccheus would be able to grasp and climb despite his short stature - in this picture note the large size of the tree (Another picture in Jericho - branches seem high for a little man!) - see cattle and people walking!). A study in 2015 indicated that the sycamore tree was brought to Israel by Philistines during the Iron Age (which lasted from about 1200 BC to 550 BC). Now think about this for a moment. Was this tree on the side of that particular street in Jericho by accident or chance? Not a chance! Who created this tree? Why did God allow this tree to grow here at this time? What if the tree had not been beside the road? What if it had been a palm tree instead of a sycamore known for its low hanging branches? (It is notable that Jericho was known for its palm trees not its sycamore trees for Dt 34:3 calls it "the city of palm trees"!) And so this blessed sycamore tree was no mere accident of "mother nature" beloved! It was the purposeful planting by Father God! While you may think it a bit far fetched, it is clear that God had already provided a "front row" seat for this little man who was seeking a big God! Beloved, when a heart seeks the truth about God, the God of truth will make certain that the seeking person encounters His truth as shown by this simple strategically placed sycamore tree! God was carrying out His sovereign plan of redemption of little Zaccheus, even through He was doing so in part behind-the-scenes! And if you doubt that God was behind the scenes, orchestrating the acts in this drama in Jericho. You might enjoy an incredible book by Don Richardson entitled "Eternity in their Hearts" which addresses the question "Has the God Who prepared the Gospel for all people groups also prepared all people groups for the Gospel?" (cf Eccl 3:11, Acts 17:27). It is a truly fascinating book (read some reviews).

Beloved, do you believe that God is working "behind the scenes" in your life? Well, He is, whether you believe it or not! God has not "checked out," regardless of what you are experiencing. His is there. He is working. His is active. He is loving and caring. And He promises to complete the good work He has begun in you (Phil 1:6-note) and ultimately is causing ALL things to work together for good in your life (Ro 8:28-note, cf Joseph's testimony to this truth in Ge 50:20). Let the truth of the doctrine of divine providence permeate your heart and mind, for as Jesus promised, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free! (Jn 8:31, 32) This is the blessed benefit of God's providence. As you read through the Bible, consider placing a "P" in your Bible margin when the Spirit illuminates some aspect of God's providence, a truth which saturates the pages of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. You could begin by placing a "P" by Luke 19:4 where Zaccheus just happened to find a sycamore tree to climb so he could encounter the Lord of Creation! Beloved, you can mark it down as an absolute truth that God is always behind the scenes and controls the scenes He is behind! See study of the Providence of God

Sycamore (4809)(sukomorea from sukon = fig + moron = mulberry) means a fig-mulberry tree, a sycamore fig. Used only here in the Bible. Different than the "sycamine tree" in Lk 17:6.  It may be that Luke is displaying his interests as a physician for these trees were the sources for two different medicines (A. T. Robertson).

Brian Bell - Columnist Herb Caen wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning alion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you'd better be running." Spurgeon wrote likewise: "If you are not seeking the Lord, the Devil is seeking you. If you are not seeking the Lordjudgment is at your heels." In the pursuit of the Christian life, it's not enough simply to wake up & visit church. You are called to run to Jesus! Zaccheus was a man who ran to see who Jesus was!

Brian Bill - Zack did not allow anything, not the crowd or his condition, to stand between him and his desire to see the Lord Jesus. What about you? Do you care enough about the condition of your soul to pay whatever price is necessary to be right with God? Are you willing to turn from that little pet sin? Are you ready to walk away from the crowd in order to see Jesus? Are you ready to run to Him?

Luke 19:5  When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house."


When Jesus came to the place, He looked up - Notice that while Zaccheus was looking for Jesus, but in actual fact Jesus was looking for Zaccheus! Jesus makes eye contact with Zaccheus which is amazing considering that he was only one of a large multitude who were following Jesus. Jesus knows His sheep and He spotted one in a sycamore tree! In John 10:14 Jesus said "I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me."

Bell - Though Jesus was surrounded by a great crowd of people, Jesus took time for individuals,…He even saw a man up a tree! Wait! Who found who? (maybe this story will help) There was a man who had a hunting dog for that he loved dearly. One time while out hunting they were separated. No matter how loud the master whistled the dog would not come. The man had an appointment in town & needed to leave. Would he ever see his best friend again? He did a trick an old trainer told him. He took off his coat & the removed his tee-shirt & placed his shirt on the ground under some small branches of a bush. The man returned the next day to find his dog cuddled up on the tee-shirt, with his nose under the sleeve. Who found who? – The dog sniffed out the scent of the master & waited, but it was the Master who returned to seek & save the dog. (Brian Bell)

Edersheim describes the scene - "Those eyes, out of which heaven seemed to look upon earth, were upturned, and that face of infinite grace, never to be forgotten, beamed upon him the welcome of recognition, and He uttered the invitation in which the invited was the real Inviter, the guest the true Host".

What the Bible teaches -  Adam hid among the trees, but Zacchaeus was not hiding but seeking.

Looked (308)(anablepo from ana = up, again + blepo = to look, to perceive and so discern) means to look up or direct one's vision upward (Of Jesus "looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food," = Mt 14:19; Mk 6:41,Lk 9:16; Of Jesus "and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh" = Mk 7:34, Of man who regained his sight "he looked up and said, “I see men..." = Mk 8:24;  "at that very time I looked up at him" = Acts 22:13) To regain one's sight or recover from blindness and thus see again ("the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT" = Mt 11:5; "“Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” = Mk 10:51; "so that he might regain his sight" = Acts 9:12, 17,18). Of one born blind anablepo means to gain sight, become able to see, receive sight  (" I went away and washed, and I received sight.” = Jn 9:11, 15, 18).

Gilbrant Three basic uses of anablepō are found among classical writers: “to look up,” “to see again, regain sight,” and metaphorically “to revive.” “Looking up” is particularly a mark of confidence (Liddell-Scott). (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Anablepo - 25x in 23v - looked(4), looking(5), receive...sight(2), receive sight(2), received...sight(2), received sight(2), regain his sight(1), regain...sight(3), regained...sight(4).

Matt. 11:5; Matt. 14:19; Matt. 20:34; Mk. 6:41; Mk. 7:34; Mk. 8:24; Mk. 10:51; Mk. 10:52; Mk. 16:4; Lk. 7:22; Lk. 9:16; Lk. 18:41; Lk. 18:42; Lk. 18:43; Lk. 19:5; Lk. 21:1; Jn. 9:11; Jn. 9:15; Jn. 9:18; Acts 9:12; Acts 9:17; Acts 9:18; Acts 22:13

Anablepo - 35x in 34v in the Septuagint - Most are translations of a form of nāsâ’, “to lift, be exalted.” Normally this concerns merely “raising one’s eyes” to look at something (e.g., Ge 13:14; 18:2; Ex 14:10; Dt 3:27). “Looking into heaven,” however, can indicate “considering God” (Isa 8:21), for God is the Creator of the heavens and stars (Ge 15:5; Isa 40:26)

Gen. 13:14; Gen. 15:5; Gen. 18:2; Gen. 22:4; Gen. 22:13; Gen. 24:63; Gen. 24:64; Gen. 31:12; Gen. 32:1; Gen. 33:1; Gen. 33:5; Gen. 37:25; Gen. 43:29; Exod. 14:10; Deut. 3:27; Deut. 4:19; Jos. 5:13; Jdg. 19:17; 1 Sam. 14:27; Job 22:26; Job 35:5; Isa. 8:21; Isa. 40:26; Isa. 42:18; Ezek. 8:5; Dan. 8:3; Joel 1:20; Zech. 5:5

Pritchard - Whenever Jesus calls a person by name, something is about to happen. Our Lord never uses anybody’s name in vain.... If you like to write words in the margin of your Bible, write beside verse 5 the word “Grace.” Beside verse 6, write the word “Faith.” “So he came down and welcomed him gladly.” This is the doctrine of the free grace of God. This is the story of what salvation is all about....Zaccheus is up in a tree. He’s interested in Jesus. He’s watching and here comes Jesus. He stops and he calls him by name and says, “Zaccheus, come on down.” That’s the grace of God. That’s where salvation begins. Listen, Zaccheus had nothing with which to recommend himself to God. Zaccheus had done nothing to deserve an invitation from the Master. Zaccheus was the worst man in the city. And that’s the man that Jesus singles out. That’s the unmerited grace of God. “Zaccheus, Zaccheus, you wicked old tax collector. Come on down. We’re going to eat supper together.” That’s the grace of God and the Bible says that “Zaccheus came on down and he received him gladly.” That’s the human response to the grace of God. That’s what salvation is. Zaccheus had nothing to recommend himself to Jesus. He had done nothing good in his past, nothing at all.Do you want to know how to be born again? When Jesus calls you, answer him gladly. How do you know when he calls? Believe me, you’ll know it when you hear his voice speaking to your heart. When you want to leave your life of sin, when you are ready, come on down and receive him gladly. You say, “I’m not good enough.” Neither was Zaccheus. “I’ve been a bad man.” Zaccheus was bad too. “I’m an outcast.” So was Zaccheus. He’s the man that Jesus picked out. Salvation made simple. “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.” This is a wonderful picture of the grace of God saving the worst of sinners.  (Ibid)

He looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus - How did Jesus know who Zaccheus was? While Scripture tells us that Jesus laid aside His divine prerogatives (Php 2:6-7-note), it is clear that He was still able to discern the hearts of men (cf Mt 9:4, 12:25, Mt 16:7-8, Lk 5:22-note, Lk 6:8-note, Lk 9:46-note, etc), and obviously He knew not only Zacchesus' heart but his name. And He knows your name also beloved! If Zaccheus could have sung at this moment, here is a song he might have sung - "He Knows My Name." In fact in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Jesus promises that overcomers (aka, believers - cf 1 Jn 5:4-5-note) will receive a new name that only God and we know (Rev 2:17-note). 

Spurgeon - Oh, how astonished must the little Jew have been when he heard Christ’s words! Never was a man so taken with surprise before, but with the word there came a divine softness into the heart of the chief of the publicans, and he yielded to that singularly condescending invitation, that strangely unexpected command.

The IVP Bible Background Commentary –  Jewish people normally considered the ability to call the name of someone one had never met—as Jesus does here with Zacchaeus—to be the sort of thing that only a prophet could do.

Children's song has this line "Zaccheus, you Come Down!"

Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house - Notice who speaks first. The rich young ruler spoke first as did the blind beggar but that was not the case in this divine encounter. To be sure Zaccheus was seeking Jesus, but Jesus takes the initiative and speaks first. He is demonstrating the essence of Lk 19:10 showing that He came to seek and to save the lost! And this is a fascinating request from Jesus who is requesting a time of personal fellowship with Zaccheus! The Lord of the Universe did not say He would LIKE to stay, but that He MUST stay (and it is in the present tense)!  It was the MUST of divine necessity! Can you imagine the joy in Zaccheus' heart (cf "gladly" in Lk 19:6). Zaccheus had come to see Jesus and his earnest desire to see Jesus yielded far more than he could have asked or thought, which can be every believer's experience (cf Eph 3:20-note). On the other hand imagine the shock and horror of the crowd at hearing Jesus address this vermin

Recall another MUST in John 4:4 that spoke of divine necessity. This one could easily be overlooked because the translations do not use the word "MUST" (with exception of the KJV). John records "And he must needs go through Samaria.( Jn 4:4KJV) Why was this a MUST for Jesus? Clearly He had a divine appointment with the Samaritan woman at the well, an appointment which resulted not only in her salvation (as it did with Zaccheus), but also brought about the salvation of many of the Samaritans in the nearby village (John 4:29, 40-41) who came to "know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42)

Steven Cole comments "On several other occasions, Jesus accepted the hospitality of others, but this is the only recorded instance where He invited Himself to someone’s house. He was going after Zaccheus personally. Jesus does not call the mass of humanity to Himself, hoping against hope that somehow, somewhere, someone will respond and come to Him. Rather, He calls individuals by name and His call is effectual—it powerfully accomplishes His purpose. He saw Matthew sitting in his tax office and said, “Follow Me.” He left everything behind and began following Jesus (Lu 5:27). He saw Peter and Andrew fishing and said, “Follow Me.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Shortly after, He saw James and John mending their nets and He called them. They also immediately left the boat and their father and followed Him (Mt 4:18-22). Have you had that experience, where the Spirit of God was dealing with your soul? Perhaps you were listening to a sermon and you felt that it was aimed directly at you. Jesus was calling you very personally and individually. Perhaps even now you can hear the Savior calling you by name and saying, “Follow Me.” Jesus Christ seeks the lost individually by name and calls them into a personal relationship with Himself."

Jesus' request reminds me of His words in Revelation 3:20-note "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." Zaccheus heard His voice and opened the door of not just his home but his heart! Can you imagine that evening with Jesus! Surely (in my opinion) we will be able to hear about this once in a lifetime experience from Zaccheus himself in eternity future!

Must (1163) (dei from deo = to bind) refers to what is not optional but needful (binding) out of intrinsic necessity. Dei refers to inward constraint regarding that which is under necessity of happening. This was a "divine appointment" that MUST take place. So why did Jesus say "I MUST stay?" Must speaks of something that should not be overlooked or missed. Jesus was on a mission to seek and save the lost (Lk 19:10) and Zaccheus was lost but would soon be found!  Steven Cole paraphrases Jesus as saying "I am going to be the guest of a great sinner because that is the express reason I came to this earth as the Son of Man: to seek and to save those who are lost in sin.”

J R Miller - Jesus called him. He knew his name. Wherever you are, Jesus knows you are there, and knows your name. He knows also what is in your heart--He sees the desire there. He called Zacchaeus by name. Bible invitations rain down on the earth for everybody; yet when one touches your ear and heart--you hear your own name spoken with it and know that you are personally called. Jesus asked Zacchaeus to come down from the tree. He wanted to meet him. He is always calling people to come down, to get nearer to Him. It is a lowly place where Jesus stands to receive sinners, a place of self-abasement, of penitence. Zacchaeus was bidden to come down in haste. There is always haste in Christ's calls.

Butler summarizes the character of the call -  This call was such a blessing to Zaccheus. First, a gracious call. "When Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him [Zaccheus]." (Luke 19:5). This was all of grace. There was no merit whatever in Zaccheus for Christ to save him. He was a sinner worthy of condemnation. But all calls to salvation are gracious, for none deserve it. Second, an urgent call. "Make haste and come down" (Luke 19:5). The Gospel is always urgent. Salvation is needed now. Delay can led to eternal disaster. Third, a humbling call. "Come down" (Luke 19:5). True, this command referred to Zaccheus' perch in a tree. But it was symbolic of the humbleness that the call would entail. Salvation is humbling. It requires the person to acknowledge that he is a sinner and that Jesus is Lord. Fourth, a personal call. "Zaccheus... I must abide at thy house" (Luke 19:5). Salvation is personal. We are not saved by proxy. Baptism for the dead is a fraud. To be saved you must have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. (Analytical Bible Expositor - Analytical Bible Expositor – Luke)

Called By Name

Read: Luke 19:1-10 

[Jesus] looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” —Luke 19:5

At the beginning of the academic year, a school principal in our city pledged to learn the names of all 600 students in her school. Anyone who doubted her ability or resolve could look at her track record. During the previous year she had learned the names of 700 students, and prior to that, 400 children in a different school. Think of what it must have meant to these students to be recognized and greeted by name.

The story of Zacchaeus and Jesus (Luke 19:1-10) contains a surprising element of personal recognition. As Jesus passed through the city of Jericho, a wealthy tax collector named Zacchaeus climbed a tree in order to see Him. “When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house’” (v.5). Instead of ignoring Zacchaeus or saying “Hey, you in the tree,” Jesus called him by name. From that moment on, his life began to change.

When it seems that no one knows you or cares who you are, remember Jesus. He knows us by name and longs for us to know Him in a personal way. Our Father in heaven sees us through His eyes of love and cares about every detail of our lives.

Father, thank You that my value in Your eyes is not
determined by what I do but simply by the fact that
You created me. Help me to recognize that same
value in others as I represent You to the world.

Jesus knows you by name and longs for you to know Him.

By David C. McCasland  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

He Knows Your Name

Read: Luke 19:1-10

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. —Psalm 139:1

What did they call Zacchaeus in his hometown of Jericho? Most folks recognized him as the chief tax collector. The Romans may have identified him with a number. He was merely one cog in the huge machine that brought revenues pouring into Rome. Zealots in Israel spoke of him as a traitor because he had sold out to the enemy. Others in the community may have called him names behind his back.

Yet Jesus, when He passed through the village, called Zacchaeus by his name. Looking up into the leafy tree where the little man was perched, Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house” (Lk. 19:5). Although the two men had never met, Jesus called him by name.

Hearing our own name spoken means that we are known. When Zacchaeus heard Jesus speak his name, it had a dramatic impact on him. It led to such a remarkable transformation that he promised to give half of his goods to the poor and to make restitution to those he had cheated (v.8).

God knows you intimately. He is keenly interested in your life. How you respond to Him will determine what you live for on this earth. It will also determine where you will spend eternity. It’s your call.

'Tis not that I did choose Thee,
For, Lord, that could not be;
This heart would still refuse Thee—
But Thou hast chosen me. —Conder

The Creator knows you well; do you know Him at all?

By Haddon W. Robinson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Rabbit-Hole Christians

Read: Luke 19:1-10

Jesus . . . said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house." —Luke 19:5

Rabbits are timid creatures that pop out of their holes every morning, try to avoid everything (except other rabbits), eat their food, and jump back into their holes in the evening. “Whew! We made it through another day,” they’d say if they could talk.

Rabbit-hole Christians are a lot like that. They eat lunch with other Christians at work and relate almost exclusively with fellow-believers in their church. They avoid socializing with unbelievers and wouldn’t think of accepting an invitation to one of their parties. No wonder unbelievers equate being a Christian with a kind of aloof self-righteousness.

No one could say that about Jesus. He actually invited Himself to the home of Zacchaeus, a notorious tax collector. His congeniality among disreputable people earned Him the title of “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 11:19). He reached out to such people because He knew He couldn’t help them without becoming their friend. Jesus never said anything He shouldn’t have said, nor did He laugh at off-color stories. He won people’s respect by caring for them.

Jesus has equipped us with the Holy Spirit and assured us that He’ll be with us so we can follow His example. Let’s guard against being rabbit-hole Christians.

Help us, O Lord, to live our lives
So people clearly see
Reflections of Your caring heart,
Your love and purity. —Sper

Jesus leaves us in the world to be a witness to the world.

By Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Come Sit a Spell

Read: Luke 19:1–9

Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today. Luke 19:5

When I was a kid, our family made a monthly excursion from Ohio to West Virginia to visit my maternal grandparents. Every time we arrived at the door of their farmhouse, Grandma Lester would greet us with the words, “Come on in and sit a spell.” It was her way of telling us to make ourselves comfortable, stay a while, and share in some “catching-up” conversation.

Life can get pretty busy. In our action-oriented world, it’s hard to get to know people. It’s tough to find time to ask someone to “sit a spell” with us. We can get more done if we text each other and get right to the point.

Get to know someone to make a difference in their life.

But look at what Jesus did when He wanted to make a difference in the life of a tax collector. He went to Zacchaeus’s house to “sit a spell.” His words, “I must stay at your house” indicate that this was no quick stopover (Luke 19:5). Jesus spent time with him, and Zacchaeus’s life was turned around because of this time with Jesus.

On the front porch of my grandmother’s house were several chairs—a warm invitation to all visitors to relax and talk. If we’re going to get to know someone and to make a difference in their life—as Jesus did for Zacchaeus—we need to invite them to “come sit a spell.”

Dear Lord, as I look around at those who share this life with me, help me to make time to spend with them—for encouragement, challenge, and perhaps just plain conversation.

The best gift you can give to others may be your time.

By Dave Branon | 

INSIGHT For generations, the government of ancient Rome commissioned generals to conquer and colonize people of various cultures and locations. In governing these conquered people, Rome enlisted the service of the publicani, who are called publicans or tax collectors in Scripture. These publicans were often considered both traitors to their own people and collaborators with the occupying forces, and they would often tax more revenue than required in order to line their own pockets. Today’s reading bears significant meaning because it shows how even a hated publican like Zacchaeus received forgiveness and redemption through Christ. As a result of his repentance, Zacchaeus reimbursed those he had cheated four times the amount he had taken.  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 19:6  And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly.


And he hurried and came down - Zaccheus' alacrity is a vivid picture of his genuine desire to meet Jesus. No hesitation. No debating. No procrastinating. Zaccheus is a man in motion on a mission for in Lk 19:4 we saw him running and here we see him hurrying! In consenting to Jesus' request to come down he shows a submissive spirit. Notice also that when Jesus called, it was as if the "Red Sea" opened, for this time Zaccheus had no difficulty getting through the crowd (except for their murmuring)!

J R Miller - He did not hesitate an instant. If he had done so--he would have lost his opportunity, for Jesus was only passing through, and soon would have been out of sight. A moment's lingering and indecision, and He would have been gone, and Zacchaeus would have been left unblessed. That is the way thousands of people respond, who hear Christ's call. They defer obeying, and then the opportunity is soon passed.

Hurried (made haste, quickly)(4692)(speudo) means to do something quickly or in a hurry, hasten, make haste. The picture is of quick movement in the interests of a person or cause, usually reflecting eagerness, and a strong desire in carrying out of a matter. This definition perfectly describes Zaccheus' heart attitude.

Steven Cole comments "It’s not easy to hurry down out of a tree, but Jesus told him to hurry! And, Zaccheus “hurried and came down” (Lu 19:6). I don’t know if he jumped or whether he scratched himself on the branches as he climbed down. But he didn’t waste any time.Neither should you! The Bible says, “Now is the day of salvation” (2Co 6:2). It says, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb 4:7). You may not have tomorrow. If you put off responding to Christ’s call, you may be in hell tomorrow. Even if you get scratched up, hurry down from that tree!

Received Him gladly - To where? His home? Certainly true! But what about his heart? Certainly likely considering subsequent events (see the discussion of the root verb dechomai below).It recalls to mind John 1:12-13 ("received" here is lambano) - "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."  I like the literal reading that Zaccheus "received Him rejoicing" where rejoicing is in the present tense indicating Zaccheus was continually rejoicing! As Cole says "when the reality of God’s grace floods your soul, great joy will be your response." Contrast Zaccheus' joy with the rich young ruler's sadness (Lk 18:23-note). Zaccheus' reaction is more like that of the blind beggar Bartimaeus who when he "regained his sight...began following Him, glorifying (praising) God (Lk 18:43). 

Spurgeon - A great change had been suddenly wrought in him; the opening of the blind man’s eyes was not at all more remarkable than the renewing of the heart of Zacchaeus: “He made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.”

Received (5264)(hupodechomai from hupo = under + dechomai = receive, welcome) means to welcome, receive, entertain as a guest. The idea is to receive one hospitably as Rahab the harlot "received the messengers" which was "fruit" in keeping with her repentance and which attested to the genuineness of her justification by faith through grace (Jas 2:25-note). Hupodechomai describes Martha who "welcomed" Jesus into her home (much like Zaccheus did) (Lk 10:38-note) and Jason who "welcomed" Paul and his companions (Acts 17:7-note). The root verb dechomai is used 4 times in Mt 10:40 where Jesus declares that “He who receives you (speaking to His disciples) receives (dechomai) Me, and he who receives (dechomai) Me receives (dechomai) Him who sent Me." In Luke 18:17-note Jesus said “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive (dechomai) the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” In short, Zaccheus welcomed Jesus not only into his home but also into his heart and as a result he received eternal life, the very thing the rich young ruler had zealously sought from Jesus but failed to receive because of his fatal "heart condition" (idolatry) (Lk 18:17, 24-note)!

D L Moody on received Him gladly - DID you ever hear of any one receiving Christ in any other way? He received Him joyfully. Christ brings joy with Him. Sin, gloom, and darkness flee away; light, peace, and joy burst into the soul.

Gladly (joyfully)(5463)(chairo) is a verb which means to be "cheer" full, to be glad, with the verbal participle used as an adverb with other verbs to mean gladly, with joy, joyfully, as in this passage. Chairo is used to describe the magi "When they saw the star (that led them to Jesus - Mt 2:9), they rejoiced (chairo) exceedingly with great joy." (Mt 2:10)

Joy (rejoice) is a "key word" in the Gospel of Luke and is frequently mentioned as a response to what God was doing. Here are all the uses related to joy in Luke:

Lk. 1:14; Lk. 1:28; Lk 1:44, Lk 1:47; Lk 2:10, Lk. 6:23; Lk 8:13 Lk 10:17, Lk 10:20;  Lk. 13:17; Lk. 15:5; Lk. 15:5, 7, 32; Lk. 19:6; Lk. 19:37; Lk. 22:5; Lk. 23:8; Lk 24:41, 52

Alfred Edersheim - As bidden by Christ, Zacchaeus ‘made haste and came down.’ Under the gracious influence of the Holy Ghost (cf Gal 5:22-note = "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy...") he ‘received Him rejoicing.’ Nothing was as yet clear to him, and yet all was joyous within his soul. In that dim twilight of the new day, and at this new creation (cf " if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" = 2 Cor 5:17-note), the Angels sang and the Sons of God shouted together (cf "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” = Lk 15:10-note), and all was melody and harmony in his heart. (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah)

Luke's uses of chairo (Gospel and Acts)...

Lk. 1:14; Lk. 1:28; Lk. 6:23; Lk. 10:20; Lk. 13:17; Lk. 15:5; Lk. 15:32; Lk. 19:6; Lk. 19:37; Lk. 22:5; Lk. 23:8; Acts 5:41; Acts 8:39; Acts 11:23; Acts 13:48; Acts 15:23; Acts 15:31; Acts 23:26;

Luke uses this verb and the noun chara 9x to describe the attitude that accompanies saving faith. Those who have been born again should radiate a special joy and why not, because the Spirit now bears witness with their spirit that they are truly Children of the King and have have inherited eternal like in His Kingdom. That is good news worth shouting about. And notice how quickly Zaccheus obeyed his Master's voice - this rich tax collector humbled himself and became an obedient child who "hurried and (came) down and received Him gladly.'' Our actions speak louder than our words! Zaccheus did not just say he believed in Messiah. He obeyed Messiah in spite of the catcalls from the crowd of self-righteous religious hypocrites!

David GuzikZacchaeus is a model to everyone of how to receive Jesus:

  • Receive Jesus by seeking after Him with real effort.
  • Receive Jesus by humbling yourself.
  • Receive Jesus no matter how sinful or hated you are.
  • Receive Jesus as He invites you by name.
  • Receive Jesus without delay.
  • Receive Jesus by coming down to Him.
  • Receive Jesus Himself.
  • Receive Jesus into your life, your home.
  • Receive Jesus joyfully.
  • Receive Jesus despite what other say.
  • Receive Jesus with repentance and restitution
     (Enduring Word Bible Commentary – Luke 19)

Luke 19:7  When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."

  • When they saw it, they all began to grumble: Lu 5:30 Lk 7:34,39  Lk 15:2 Lk 18:9-14 Mt 9:11 Mt 21:28-31 

Phillips Paraphrase - But the bystanders muttered their disapproval, saying, "Now he has gone to stay with a real sinner."

When they saw it - Who is they? Pharisees? Crowd? Probably both because the latter had already grumbled at similar actions by Jesus (Lk 5:30-note, Lk 15:2-note). The Jews detested Zaccheus who had enriched himself at their expense and thus they placed him in the same despicable class as sinners (Mt 9:10,11, 11:19, Mk 2:15, 16, 17, Lk 7:34-note).

Spurgeon - “This professedly superior teacher, this purist, this teacher of the highest morality, has gone to be guest with this tax gatherer, — a man who is a sort of outlaw, a disreputable person altogether.” Ah! how does the legal spirit, in self-righteous men, cry out against the sweet benevolence of our blessed Master, who comes into the world for this very purpose, — to be the Guest of sinners, that he may be the Physician of sinners! (See Luke 5:31-32-note, cf Mt 9:12,13 Mk 2:17)

They all began to grumble - Luke again uses the vivid imperfect tense which depicts the crowd grumbling again and again producing a veritable chorus ("ALL began to grumble") of grumbling voices. He was disliked by everyone! One can just imagine the "buzz" in the crowd. Of course they were grumbling because Jesus was willing to associate Himself with an unclean sinner who was especially abhorrent to the Jews! The judges with logs in their eyes by their statement implied that by going to Zaccheus' house Christ was give tacit approval to Zaccheus' sin. They were blind to His mission (Lk 19:10), for the Messiah went not to "commend" him in his sin, but to convert him from his sin! Critical spirits and grumbling nay sayers sadly often attach bad motives to the actions of zealous Spirit filled believers! Jesus of course was continually filled with the Spirit and power (Acts 10:38) and we are called to imitate His example (1 Jn 2:6-note). 

Began to grumble (murmur)(1234)(diagogguzo from dia = intensifies meaning of gogguzo = grumble, murmur) means they began to express their dissatisfaction by murmur aloud or murmuring throughout (as in a crowd). And they kept on murmuring, as a manifestation of their distaste for Jesus' actions. Thayer observes that the preposition "dia"  means "through" which suggests that the murmuring rippled through the whole crowd. 

Grumble in English dictionaries - a loud low dull continuous noise, a complaint uttered in a low and indistinct tone, to make a low, growling or rumbling noise, like a hungry stomach or certain animals, to make complaining remarks or noises under one's breath, to utter or emit low dull rumbling sounds, to utter (complaints) in a nagging or discontented way, to complain about something in a bad-tempered way. 

The only other NT use of diagogguzo is also by Luke

Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” (Lu 15:1-2-note)

He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner - "Being the guest of a man who is a sinner was a common complaint about Jesus: Luke 5:31–32; 7:37–50; 15:1–2." (NET Note)

Guest (2647)(kataluo from kata = down + luo = to loose) means to loose or unloose what was bound and is used (intransitively) by Luke here and in Lk 9:12 (and in the Sept = Ge 24:23, 25; 42:27; 43:21) of lodging, because in such a lodging the weary traveler would unyoke his beasts of burden and unloose his pack. Many of the 16 NT uses carry the sense of to destroy or demolish. Obviously the former sense is meant in this passage. Imagine what it must have been like for Zaccheus to have the Lord Jesus lodge in his house overnight, which is something even Abraham did not experience with the holy Visitor in Ge 18:16! It is interesting that Abraham also met the Lord (pre-incarnate Lord - Christophany - see Angel of the Lord) under a tree much like Zaccheus and also gladly received Him as his guest (Ge 18:1-3, 4-16). 

Pritchard -  If you have the NIV (Lk 19:7NIV), notice the quotation marks around the word “sinner.” That means a big sinner, a gross sinner, a terrible sinner, a person we would never associate with.

MacDonald commenting on He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner quips that these grumblers "overlooked the fact that, coming into a world like ours, He was limited exclusively to such homes!" (Believer's Bible Commentary)

Spurgeon - I wonder where he could have gone and not been guest with a man that was a sinner; but Zacchaeus was thought to be a sinner beyond ordinary sinners. Our Lord still loves to be the guest of a man that is a sinner, he still wants a place where he can stay. O man, thou who art a sinner, ask him home with thee! O woman, thou who art in thy very trade a sinner, ask him home with thee, and we will say again, not murmuringly, but joyfully, “He has gone to be guest with one who is a sinner.”

Sinner (268)(hamartolos from hamartáno = deviate, miss the mark) is an adjective that is often used as a noun (as in this verse and Ro 5:19 [note]) to describe those who are continually erring from the way, constantly missing God's mark, living in opposition to His good and acceptable and perfect will. Thus a sinner is one who lives in opposition to the divine will. In a more selective use, in the view of the Pharisees a sinner was a Jew who is one not careful in the observance of ceremonial duties (Mt 9:10ff, Lk 15:1ff, Mk 2.16). Finally sinners were frequently placed in the same category as despised tax-collectors - Mt 9:10, 11, Mt 11:19, Mk 2:15, 16, Lk 5:30, Lk 7:34, Lk 15:1, Lk 18:13. Jesus' purpose for coming into the world was to save sinners (Mt 9:13 1Ti 1:15) as He says in Luke 19:10. 

Life Application Study note - Judging from the crowd's reaction to him, Zacchaeus must have been a very crooked tax collector. After he met Jesus, however, he realized that his life needed straightening out. By giving to the poor and making restitution-with generous interest-to those he had cheated, Zacchaeus demonstrated inner change by outward action. Following Jesus in your head or heart alone is not enough. You must show your faith by changed behavior. Has your faith resulted in action? What changes do you need to make? (Life Application Study Bible - Luke)

Luke 19:8  Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "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."


In Luke 3:8 John the Baptist addressing those who had come for his baptism declared "bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham." Here we see Zaccheus a "son of Abraham" physically bear fruits in keeping with repentance demonstrating that he is a "son of Abraham" spiritually. This is a crucial lesson in the life of Zaccheus which we can apply to modern "conversions" as to whether they are genuine or false. Many claim to have believed in Jesus Christ, but they lack fruit in keeping with their alleged repentance and belief. And the tragedy is they are deceived. In my experience it is very difficult to share the true Gospel with them because they have in effect been "vaccinated" against the real deal. So just as a vaccination shot for flu keeps you (theoretically) from contracting the real flu, "spiritual vaccination" can likewise present a person from "catching the real thing" so to speak. We need to follow the example of Zaccheus, although of course not in identical details. Faith alone in Christ alone saves, but the faith that is alone is suspect. In other words, the faith that demonstrates no faith is dead faith. See James 2:14-26-note

It was apparently John Calvin who said "It is faith alone that justifies, but the faith that justifies is not alone."

Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord - Literally he "stood," or as NJB says "stood his ground." The HCSB has "But Zacchaeus stood there." This is a vivid detail that is easy to miss. Zaccheus hears the murmuring crowd and he "stops on a dime" as we might say today. He had a message that the grumbling audience needed to hear. So before they even arrive at his house, Zaccheus wants to carry out some "business" with the Lord. His conscience is renewed and pricked by his new birth and past memories of his extortion and defrauding of many people are flooding through his mind. Yes, the crowd had a right to grumble at him, and so he senses a need to give public testimony of his changed heart. This is a "transaction" that could not be put off. And so he gives "personal testimony" of the fact that his heart of great greed has been supernaturally changed by the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:3-8) in a moment into a heart of genuine good! In short, he gives the crowd evidence that Jesus has performed a miracle, the greatest miracle of all, to save a soul from eternal punishment.

Leon Morris on Zaccheus stoppedHe stood, which may mean that he took up his stance. There is a note of formality about it which fits the important announcement Zacchaeus was about to make. He proceeded to give striking evidence of what Jesus’ visit had done for him. (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries – Luke)

A T Robertson writes "Apparently Jesus and Zacchaeus had come to the house of Zacchaeus and were about to enter when the murmur became such a roar that Zacchaeus turned round and faced the crowd."

Edersheim comments on the grumbling crowd (Lk 19:7) and its effect on Zaccheus writing "Oh, terribly fatal misunderstanding of all that was characteristic of the Mission of the Christ! (Referring to Jesus reaching out to a hated tax collector, cf Lk 15:1-2-note) Oh, terribly fatal blindness and jealousy (cf "envy" in Mk 15:10)! But it was this sudden shock of opposition which awoke Zacchaeus to full consciousness ("Zaccheus stopped!"). The hands (of the crowd) so rudely and profanely thrust forward only served to rend the veil (that had previously covered Zaccheus' mind and heart). It often needs some such sudden shock of opposition, some sudden sharp contest, to waken the new convert to full consciousness, to bring before him, in clear outline, alike the past and the present. In that moment Zacchaeus saw it all: what his past had been, what his present was, what his future must be. Standing forth, not so much before the crowd as before the Lord, and not ashamed, nay, scarcely conscious of the confession it implied - so much is the sorrow of the past in true repentance swallowed up by the joy of the present - Zacchaeus vowed fourfold restoration, as by a thief, of what had become his through false accusation, as well as the half of all his goods to the poor. And so the whole current of his life had been turned, in those few moments, through his joyous reception of Christ, the Saviour of sinners; and Zacchaeus the public robber, the rich Chief of the Publicans, had become an almsgiver.

NET Note - Zacchaeus was a penitent man who resolved on the spot to act differently in the face of Jesus’ acceptance of him. In resolving to give half his possessions to the poor, Zacchaeus was not defending himself against the crowd’s charges and claiming to be righteous. Rather as a result of this meeting with Jesus, he was a changed individual. So Jesus could speak of salvation coming that day (Lk 19:9) and of the lost being saved (Lk 19:10).

Pritchard - This is the only place in the Bible where Zaccheus is recorded saying anything. Not bad for a new convert.

Spurgeon Jesus Christ did not teach Zacchaeus by going to his house that character was of no consequence; on the contrary, Zacchaeus perceived at once that character was of the greatest consequence, and so he stood forth, and said ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.' There was not one among those self-righteous people who would have done a tenth as much as Zacchaeus declared that he would do. There was not one among the murmurers who would have dared to say as much as that. There are a great many people who are quick to condemn those who are a hundred times better than themselves. I wonder whether there are any people of that sort here; I should not wonder if there are.

A question you might be asking is "Can a person change as quickly as Zaccheus?" And the answer is absolutely! Most who are saved can attest to this fact - I can recall that one of the things that changed markedly for me was cessation of cursing. So yes, a person who is saved in a moment is in fact transformed in a moment. While not EVERY bad habit instantly disappears, there should always be some changes that are obvious in one's behavior when they are saved. Paul makes this clear in writing "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new (kainos = brand new, not seen before) things have come." (2 Cor 5:17). If fact as discussed elsewhere, if one says they have accepted Jesus as their Savior and they see no "new things," then they need to examine carefully whether they have ever truly been born again and regenerated by the Spirit into a new creation in Christ with new desires, new tastes, new goals, etc. 

D L Moody - A SHORT speech; but how the words have come ringing down through the ages! By making that remark Zacchæus confessed his sin—that he had been dishonest. Besides that, he showed that he knew the requirements of the law of Moses. If a man had taken what did not belong to him, he was not only to return it, but to multiply it by four. I think that men in this dispensation ought to be fully as honest as men under the Law. I am getting so tired and sick of your mere sentimentalism, that does not straighten out a man’s life. We may sing our hymns and psalms, and offer prayers, but they will be an abomination to God, unless we are willing to be thoroughly straightforward in our daily life. Nothing will give Christianity such a hold upon the world as to have God’s believing people begin to act in this way. Zacchæus had probably more influence in Jericho after he made restitution than any other man in it.

Behold (2400)(idou) draws attention to what follows. Idou in the middle voice means "you yourself look, see, perceive!" The aorist imperative is a command emphasizing "Do it now! Don't delay!" The NIV has "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor." He was not negotiating terms with Jesus but was fully sold out.

As Brian Bill says "Whenever Jesus meets someone there is change. If you’ve never changed, it may be because you haven’t truly been saved. William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, understood the importance of asking God to change him. I came across one of his prayers: “Lord, I give you everything there is in this man, William Booth. Do with me what you will.” God loves to hear prayers like this because it shows a willingness to change. Zack’s public confession shows the sincerity of his repentance and was his way of living out Romans 10:10: “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

Lord - Notice this freshly born again believer immediately acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus! One wonders what Zaccheus would say about the "Lordship controversy" in modern evangelicalism? While "Lord" was used in ancient times as a respectful designation (much like our English word "sir"), the use of Lord by Zaccheus in context leaves no doubt that he is using the title to acknowledge Jesus' lordship, including the thought that Jesus was Master over all of his possessions! What an example for believers of all ages! 

Lord (2962)(kurios from kuros = might or power, related to kuroo = to give authority) primarily means the One Who is the possessor, owner, and master, the One Who is sovereign and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership and unrivaled power. In Acts 25:26 Festus uses kurios as a title for the Roman emperor. Kurios described the one to whom a person or thing belonged, and over which he (the kurios) had the power of deciding how it was disposed. Kurios is used over 9000 times in the Septuagint and over 700 times in the NT. 

J R Miller - Grace began at once to work in this little man's (big) heart. His acceptance of Christ took hold of his life. It went down into his pocketbook. He is an example for the rich (Ed: and the poor) who come to Christ, and are saved by Him. All that they have belongs to Christ, and everything is truly given to Him, if the conversion is genuine. How they shall use their wealth for Christ, is a very serious question, which they should answer with great care. Jesus asked one seeker to lay down the whole of his wealth, and then give himself to Him, besides, for ministry (Ed: And the rich young ruler passed on the opportunity of a lifetime! Lk 18:18-27-note). We have easy theories of consecration, by which we make out that we may keep our money, and then use it for Christ. Yet--but the problem is vital. Do we use it for Him? Another evidence of the genuineness of the repentance of Zacchaeus, was shown in his resolve to make restitution to those whom he had wronged. "If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." Here we come upon another too much neglected part of consecration. We say: "Let the past go. We cannot change it. We cannot undo the wrongs we have done. Let us make the future beautiful, pure, and true." This is right in a sense. It is idle to waste time in unavailing tears and regrets. Yet there may be wrongs we have done, which we can undo--or at least in a measure, can set right. If one has spoken false or injurious words against another before his conversion, he should seek instantly to undo the harm, so far as it is in his power. Sorrow for sin is not enough, if we can in any way make right, that which we have marred. (Zaccheus)

While the text does not say anything directly about Zaccheus’ faith, it is clear from his repentance and restitution that he had if fact placed his faith in the Messiah. That Zaccheus exercised faith is also clear in Jesus' pronouncement that he was saved (Lk 19:9), for we know that "by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Eph 2:8-9-note). Ephesians 2:10 says that Zaccheus was God's "workmanship (see God's Poiema) created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that (he) would walk in them." James 2:14-26 says the same thing - when Christ turns our heart of stone into a heart of flesh, this new heart results in a changed life! Do you know folks who have "accepted Christ" as their "ticket" to heaven, and yet you see no significant changes in their life? If so, it may be because they exercised an intellectual belief in Christ, and thus experienced no supernatural change in their heart. (cf 2 Cor 13:5-note, 2 Pe 1:10-note)

Spurgeon - That was a grand proof that the conversion of Zacchaeus was genuine; I should like to see the same kind of proof in many professors whom I know: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor.” I remember one who was converted in this place, and he at once gave £50 to some good object, and I said to his brother, “I think your brother I converted.” He answered, “I hope he is, but he is a dreadful skin-flint.” “But,” I replied, “only yesterday, he gave £50 to such-and-such a work.” “Ah, then!” said the brother, “I am sure he is converted, for nothing but the grace of God would make him do such a thing as that.” Now Zacchaeus was, no doubt, a man of that kind, one who loved his money, and kept it to himself as long as ever he could; but now that he is converted, he says, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor;” —He acts in charity and justice, for he is determined to do the right thing with his substance. You see, he was a rich man, so his money was a source of trouble. The blind beggar had no such difficulty, for he had not any money that he must distribute when he was converted; but this rich man —this camel, as our Saviour called such men, went through the eye of a needle by the grace of God, and thus the Lord proved the reality of his conversion.

Half of my possessions I will give to the poor - So much for "tithing!" Zaccheus has set the bar excruciatingly high! And he is not even finished! This is evidence of a changed man. Zaccheus has become a cheerful giver (cf 2 Cor 9:7, Lk 19:6 = gladly or joyfully = chairo). 

To give to the poor was always God's plan in the Old Testament and now with new spiritual eyes Zaccheus seeks to practice the Word heretofore having been only a hearer (and maybe not even that!) and not a doer (James 1:22-note) - See Dt 15:7-11, leaving part of the harvest  Lev 19:9; 23:22; Dt 24:20; allowing the poor to eat the produce of the seventh, fallow year, Ex 23:10-11; Lv 25:2-7; cf Job 29:12-17 Ps 112:1,9 Pr 11:4; 14:21,31; 16:6; 21:3,13. 

Brian Bell - Christianity is not a sphere of life, but its very atmosphere! Christianity is not a section of life, but an influence that pervades the whole field of it. It changed this man to the very core of his being. My Zacchaeus experience: (1978-1980) I ran a parking lot for a guy named Gene Selznick (His son Dane is Kerry Walsh & Misty May’s coach; Beach V.B.) I collected all the tips of the evening & then we’d get paid hourly. But when you ran the evening no one knew how much came in. Myself, & the other couple guys who ran it would take from $80-$100 off the top. Then I got saved! I didn’t take ½ of what I stole & give it to the poor, nor did I restore 4-fold to Gene (I really never thought of that)…but I started turning in all my tips from that point on. And the other guys were pretty upset w/me because it became very noticeable that when I ran it, my nights were always huge! Christianity should change all of your life! If we hold to the Golden Rule in all our business, we will once again be communicating the Law of Love in life! Hudson Taylor said, “If Christ is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all!” Paul said, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Zaccheus went in mastered by the passion to get. He came out swept by a compassion that gives! The core of his personality changes to “I giveI restore”! Not like the Rich Young Ruler, “I keep, I go”!

Zaccheus in a moment of time has been supernaturally transformed from the guttermost to the uttermost (cf Heb 7:25KJV-note) and is now like the man described by the psalmist 

Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments.....He has given freely to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be exalted in honor. (Ps 112:1,9)

Notice that pattern -  Zaccheus RECOGNIZES his sins, REPENTS of his sins, and makes RESTITUTION for his sins. 

Cole rightly says that "One of the surest tests of genuine repentance is when God gets a hold of our money!" (Woe!)

Zacchaeus' restitution is a response to grace, not a meritorious work to receive grace. 

If I have defraurded anyone of anything - The "IF" here is is a first class condition so that Zaccheus is saying "Since I have defrauded." In other words he "virtually confesses fraud." (NET Note) Wuest translates it "And since I have wrongfully exacted" leaving n "if" about it. Leon Morris adds "Considering the way he had made his money it was unlikely that this would be a short list. Notice that he uses the present tense in his verbs. He is so firm in his resolve that he says he is about his giving already, NEB’s ‘I am ready to repay’ misses this." (Ibid) 

Defrauded (4811)(sukophanteo/sykophanteo from sukon = fig + phaino = to shine) is literally one who shows the fig (see etymology below) and which means to accuse falsely, to annoy, to harass, to oppress, or to blackmail. In Lk 3:14-note John the Baptist instructed soldiers who came to him (having been convicted by his preaching) "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.” It also means to extort (Lk 19:8). These are the only 2 uses in the NT. There are 8 uses in the Septuagint (Ge 43:18; Lev 19:11 = "deal falsely"; Job 35:9 = "oppressions"; Ps 119:122 = "Do not let the arrogant oppress me"; Pr 14:31; 22:16; 28:3; Eccl 4:1) with all 3 uses in Proverbs speaking of oppression of the poor, translating the Hebrew verb ashaq (See 06231) which means to wrong someone, to extort, to defraud or to oppress.

Friberg adds that sukophanteo is derived "from an Athenian term for an informer against illegal exporters of figs; (1) accuse falsely, bring false charges, blackmail; more generally harass, oppress (Lk 3.14-note); (2) as exacting money by using false information extort, defraud, cheat (Lk 19.8). 

BDAG has "to put pressure on someone for personal gain - harass, squeeze, shake down, blackmail." and "to secure someth. through intimidation - extort."

Gilbrant This verb appears in classical Greek from the Fifth Century B.C. with the meaning “accuse falsely, defraud, slander.” Frequently such action was done in the form of “blackmail” by public officials (cf. Liddell-Scott), but it could refer to any effort by a person who seeks to oppress or exhort someone with false charges or threats. (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

This verb sykophanteo gives us our English word sycophant (sukon + phainein) which describes a person who tries to please others to gain a personal advantage. Do you know anyone like that? Does that describe you (me)? Woe! The Online Etymology Dictionary has the following note on sycophant (the  off color portion of their description is not quoted here)-- 

"Showing the fig" was a vulgar gesture made by sticking the thumb between two fingers...The modern accepted explanation is that prominent politicians in ancient Greece held aloof from such inflammatory gestures, but privately urged their followers to taunt their opponents." 

What the Bible teaches - adds that "A. T. Robertson says that to export figs from Attica was against the law, but it was a lucrative trade, so there were people whose business it was to inform the authorities about the illegal traffic and they were called sukophantai. Vine does not dispute this, but also traces its meaning from the practice of shaking a fig tree to make it give up its ripe fruit, so Zacchaeus and men like him were adept at shaking down rich men for their wealth. The very fact that the saved man used this word about his former life indicates how much he now abhorred his former practices.

I will give back four times as much - Zaccheus was a truly transformed man! He was bringing forth ''FRUIT IN KEEPING WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS.'' Jesus had accused the religious leaders of not believing John the Baptist's call to repent and even when these self-righteous hypocrites saw the ''fruit'' of a changed life in the tax-gatherers and harlots they refused to repent of their evil thoughts and believe. (Mt 21:31-32). (See What was the meaning and importance of the baptism of John the Baptist?) We can be sure that there were religious leaders in the crown who witnessed Zaccheus' startling words to give to the poor and make restitution. That is the last thing the Pharisees and other religious leaders would have expected to hear from the lips of a tax collector. And yet they heard them from Zacchesus, but they still steadfastly refused to believe in Jesus. Their response reminds me of Jesus' words (in the context of speaking in parables) "while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE, FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’  (Mt 13:13-15) And so the SAW and HEARD Zaccheus, but they still did understand what they were witnessing!

A T RobertsonRestitution is good proof of a change of heart. D. L. Moody used to preach it with great power. Without this the offer of Zacchaeus to give half his goods to the poor would be less effective.

William MacDonald writes that Lk 19:8 "is one of the strongest in the Bible on restitution. Salvation does not relieve a person from righting the wrongs of the past. Debts contracted during one's unconverted days are not canceled by the new birth. And if money was stolen before salvation, then a true sense of the grace of God requires that this money be repaid after a person has become a child of God." (Ibid)

In stating he will give back four times as much, Zacchaeus went beyond the requirement of the Law, which, in the case of fraud, requires the return of that which is illegally acquired plus one-fifth. For example Lev 6:2-5-note says "he shall make restitution for it in full and add to it one-fifth more." In the case of theft the requirement in the Law was a payment of at least four times the amount stolen (cf. Ex. 22:1) and so it appears that Zacchaeus regards his actions as the equivalent of theft. Under Mosaic Law if a thief voluntarily confessed, he had to restore what he took, add  20% and bring a trespass offering to the Lord (Leviticus 6:1ff-note). If he stole something and was caught with the goods, he had to repay two times (Ex 22:4).

Ray Pritchard - The greater question is this: How do you show the reality of Christ in your life? The answer for you would be the same as it was for Zaccheus. Here’s the principle. The reality of your new life in Jesus Christ will be seen at precisely the point of your old weakness. His problem was money, greed and lust. Therefore, since that was the point of the weakness, that’s the point at which his new life had to be demonstrated. It wouldn’t do any good for Zaccheus to say, “Lord, I’m not going to curse any more” because cursing wasn’t his problem. It wouldn’t do to say, “Lord I’m going to be a nice guy” because being a jerk wasn’t his problem. It wouldn’t do for him to say, “Lord, I’m going to give more offerings at the temple” because I’m sure he was a religious Jew. That wasn’t the point of his weakness. The point of his weakness was money. Greed for money. And nobody would believe that he had really changed unless he had changed the point of his past weakness. When you come to Jesus Christ, if your problem is gossip, if that area doesn’t change, don’t think anybody is going to buy your Christianity just because you come to church. If you gossip and that’s your weakness, if that doesn’t change, then coming to church isn’t going to make any difference at all. It’s not simply that you add on something to your past weaknesses; real conversion is shown when you change in the future in what used to be your weak point. If pornography is your problem, if sleeping around is your problem, then that’s the area that has to change. If that doesn’t change, then singing in the choir isn’t going to convince anybody. If lust is your problem then that’s the area that has to change. If bitterness is your problem then that’s the area that has to change. If a bad temper is your problem then that’s the area that has to change. If treating people like dirt is your problem, then that’s the area that has to change. If being disrespectful to those who are in authority over you is your problem, when you come to Jesus Christ that’s the area where the change has to be demonstrated. That’s a tremendously important principle.

There are at least three reasons why restitution is good for you. First, it’s good because it shows that you are really sorry for what you did. I’m not just talking about restitution for money, or things you stole, but people you’ve hurt by what you’ve said, by your attitudes, by your broken relationships. People you’ve treated like dirt in the past and now you want to live for Christ. Those bridges are out and you’re going to have to go back and rebuild them. You need to make restitution. It’s good, number one, because it shows that you are really sorry for what you have done.

Second, restitution is good because it makes it easier for the people you’ve hurt to forgive you. People don’t want to hear pious words; they want to see your changed life exhibited by changed behavior. What better exhibition than making amends for the things you have said and done that have hurt people?

Third, if you make restitution it makes you much less likely to make the same mistake again because it’s cost you so dearly. Restitution costs something. You have to humble yourself and admit your wrongdoing. It isn’t easy, which is why most people don’t do it. That’s also why it is so good for you. Make restitution once or twice and you’ll think twice before doing the same dumb thing again.

That’s what Zaccheus is doing here. At the point of his weakness, he is demonstrating new life in Christ by voluntarily giving his money away to the poor and making restitution four times over.

The Eighth Step

This week I borrowed a book from Bill Miller called The AA Way of Life. Are you familiar with the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous? Millions of people have been helped by following the twelve steps. Listen to step 4: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of your own life. Take a look in the mirror and see yourself as you really are. Step number 8: Make a list of all the persons you have harmed and be willing to make amends to them all. Step Number 9: Make direct amends to such people whenever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 4: Take an inventory

Step 8: Make a list of the people you’ve hurt

Step 9: Make amends

This is what Zaccheus is doing. This is what the book says on page 187:

In making amends it is seldom wise to approach the individual who still smarts from our injustice to him and to announce that we have gone religious. This might be called leading with the chin. Why lay ourselves open to being branded fanatics or religious bores? If we do this we may kill a future opportunity to carry a beneficial message. But the man who hears our amends is sure to be impressed with our sincere desire to set right a wrong. He is going to be more interested in a demonstration of good will than in talk of spiritual discoveries.

It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. And don’t say it until your life can back it up.

“Repentance, Repentance, Repentance”

Two weeks ago I mentioned the remarkable story of Lee Atwater’s conversion. The “Bad Boy of GOP Politics” died on Good Friday. In the midst of fighting a brain tumor he came to Christ. At his funeral service, Harry Dent, who was an advisor to President Nixon in the 70s and who himself found Christ nearly twelve years ago, stood up and said, “A lot of people wonder if Lee Atwater’s confession of faith is real. Let me tell you about Lee Atwater’s life the last few months. It was characterized by one word. Repentance. Repentance. Repentance.” He told how Lee Atwater had written letters of apology to Michael Dukakis, and Tom Turnipseed, a politician in South Carolina, to Ron Brown, the head of the Democratic Party, asking forgiveness for his bad and hateful attitude and for the things he had done in the past. Harry Dent said, “That’s the evidence of a changed life. A man who repented to the point that before he died he made right the wrongs he had done. He made amends with the people he had hurt.” (Source: World magazine, April 13, 1991, pp. 16-17; Harry Dent interview on Primetime America)

You can talk about faith all you want. But unless your faith is backed up by the evidence of a changed life no one will listen. Why is that? Because we are justified before God by faith but we are justified before men by works. Why? Because only God can see our faith. The only thing men can see is our works. There’s no contradiction there. Talk all you want about your faith but then show it by the way you live. Specifically by the change that Jesus had made at the point of your past weakness.

Lesson # 5: Our Number One Priority 9-10

“Jesus said to him, ’Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a Son of Abraham.’” I’ll bet the country club crowd in Jericho couldn’t stand that. They were offended that Jesus would consider a man like Zaccheus as a Son of Abraham. They thought they had it made and they had already counted Zaccheus out. But the truth of the matter is, Jesus was saying that a son of Abraham is not somebody who has the right kind of birth certificate. A son of Abraham is the one who has the kind of faith Abraham had. Zaccheus had that faith demonstrated by his changed life.

Verse 10 gives us the moral of the story: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Why did Jesus come? Why is the church here? The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. It’s a lesson to us about why the church is in the world. As the Savior came to seek and to save that which was lost, Exhibit A would be Zaccheus. Even so, the reason the church is here is to follow the Son of God as we seek and save that which is lost.

If Jesus Came to Oak Park

Don’t you understand? It’s easy for us to mutter and complain and say, “I’m not sure we want those Zaccheus types here in our church. I’d rather they go someplace else.” If we are not willing to do what Jesus did, we can hardly call ourselves his disciples. If we as a church have decided that only the good, the pure, the righteous and the holy can come into this place, then we’re not worthy of the name Christian. That’s really the challenge–to follow Jesus in this world.

Let me leave you with this. If Jesus were to come to Oak Park today where would we find him? Where would we find him? You wouldn’t find him in the churches. He wouldn’t be here. That’s not where he was two thousand years ago. You’d find him out with the homeless, out with the hungry, out with the hurting, out with the drug abusers, down in Austin helping the people who have AIDS. He’d be out talking to those guys who are sleeping around every night of the week. He’d be talking to those women who feel like there’s no hope of a change for them. That’s where Jesus would be if he came to Oak Park today.

The R.O.Z.A.

And I’ll give you something else to think about. As long as the church stays in the church, Jesus is not there because that’s not where Jesus is. If the church wants Jesus, the church has to go out where Jesus is. Out into the world, because that’s where he is this morning. (See George McLeod's statement).

What I want to suggest to you is that many of you face the challenge of doing what Zaccheus did. You need to join the ROZA - The Royal Order of Zaccheus Anonymous and take seriously the challenge of going out of this place and showing to the world that Jesus Christ has really made the difference. Some of you this morning need to take Step Number Four seriously –Make a searching moral inventory. Where do you really stand before God? You need to take Number Eight seriously–Make a list of the people we have hurt and offended. And you need to take Number Nine seriously–Resolve before God that as far as possible (Ed: Only possible as you are enabled by God in you, the Spirit of Christ Who will give you the desire and power [Php 2:13NLT-note] necessary to work out this aspect of your salvation in fear and trembling." [Php 2:12-note]) we will make things right with the people we have hurt so badly. Until you do that we’re not going to get very far in you Christian life. It’s just that basic! But when you do, you will be providing to the world living proof of two things. First, living proof of why Jesus came into the world. Second, living proof of the difference Jesus Christ can make when he comes into a life. God help us to be that living proof wherever we go this week.. Amen. (Zaccheus Anonymous)

Learning To Give

Read: Luke 19:1-10 

Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor." —Luke 19:8

Many people in affluent countries have become burdened by the accumulation of material goods they no longer need or use. But they have a hard time getting rid of things that clog their homes and businesses. After five moves in four years, one woman said, “You know how much stuff I brought with me to each place? I’ve asked myself, ‘Where was your brain when you moved all this stuff?'” She then hired a professional organizer to help her learn to let go of things.

People cling to their possessions for many different reasons. It seems that Zacchaeus struggled with this problem because he was greedy (Luke 19:1-10). But the story of this wealthy tax collector who climbed a tree to see Jesus culminated in a complete change of heart when Zacchaeus said, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor” (v.8). He then promised, “If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” Jesus responded by saying, “Today salvation has come to this house” (v.9).

The new spiritual freedom that Zacchaeus found could be observed as he turned from getting to giving. His relaxed grip revealed a renewed heart.

Is it true of us as well?

Speak to us, Lord, till shamed by Thy great giving,
Our hands unclasp to set our treasures free;
Our wills, our love, our dear ones, our possessions
All gladly yielded, gracious Lord, to Thee. —Anon.

We haven't learned to live until we've learned to give.

By David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Making It Right

Read: Luke 19:1-10

If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold. —Luke 19:8

It was a perfect day for our garage sale—bright and warm. People rummaged through clothing, paperbacks, and mismatched dishes. I noticed a young woman looking at a string of white beads. A few minutes later, the necklace vanished along with its admirer. I spotted her in the street, jogged the length of my driveway, and discovered the missing jewelry nestled in her palm. As we faced each other with the knowledge of what had happened, she volunteered to pay for the stolen item.

Zacchaeus, the tree-climbing tax collector, met Jesus and was changed. He vowed to repay four times the amount of money he had dishonestly taken from others (Luke 19:8). In those days, tax collectors frequently overcharged citizens and then pocketed the extra funds. Zacchaeus’ eagerness to pay back the money and to donate half of what he owned to the poor showed a significant change of heart. He had once been a taker, but after meeting Jesus he was determined to make restoration and be a giver.

Zacchaeus’ example can inspire us to make the same kind of change. When God reminds us about items we have taken, taxes left unpaid, or ways we have wronged others, we can honor Him by making it right.

Help me, dear Lord, to be honest and true
In all that I say and all that I do;
Give me the courage to do what is right
To bring to the world a glimpse of Your light. —Fasick

A debt is never too old for an honest person to pay.

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Loving The Unlovable

Read: Luke 19:1-10

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. —Luke 19:10

Zacchaeus was easy to dislike. As a tax collector for an oppressive occupying government, he made himself rich by overcharging his countrymen. Yet, to the consternation of the crowd, Jesus honored him by going to his house and eating with him.

A judge with a reputation for toughness tells how he learned to relate to unlovable people. In a Sunday morning homily his clergyman urged the congregation to try to look at people through the eyes of Jesus.

A few days later the judge was about to give a stiff sentence to an arrogant young man who kept getting in trouble. But then he remembered what the minister had suggested. The judge said, “I looked this young man in the eye and told him I thought he was a bright and talented human being. And then I said to him, ‘Let’s talk together about how we can get you living in more creative and constructive ways.’ We had a surprisingly good conversation.”

Jesus saw Zacchaeus as a sinner with an empty hole that only He could fill, and through His kindness Zacchaeus was transformed. The judge could not report any such change, but who knows the long-term outcome? He set a good example for all of us, because he saw the man through the eyes of Jesus. 

We need to see through Jesus' eyes
Our neighbors who are lost;
For then we will reach out to them,
Regardless of the cost.  -Sper

True compassion will put love into action.

By Herbert Vander Lugt  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


Read: Luke 19:1-10

Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold. —Luke 19:8

Zacchaeus was a little tax man who shinnied up a sycamore tree to get a good look at Jesus. The Teacher spotted him perched on one of the branches, told him to come down, and then invited Himself over for a meal.

During dinner something happened that revolutionized the tax collector’s life. Luke’s record tells us nothing about the conversation, but when Zacchaeus emerged from the house that afternoon he made a dramatic announcement. He promised to give away half of his wealth to poor people, and to return fourfold the amount of money he had taken dishonestly.

We think we are generous if we give God 10 percent of our income. Most pastors and deacons would be delighted if everyone in the congregation contributed 5 percent.

The mark of Zacchaeus’ transformation was his staggering generosity. That’s why Jesus declared, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Lk. 19:9). Obviously, salvation isn’t bought with money, but one evidence of whether or not people have trusted Christ is how completely they trust Him with all they own.

Do we display a love and generosity that is compatible with God’s boundless grace to us?

Christ paid the debt our sin incurred;
He died to set us free;
So let us now give back to Him
With generosity. —Sper

When you think about giving to others, think about all God has given to you.

By Haddon W. Robinson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Making Restitution

Read: Luke 19:1-9

He shall make restitution for his trespass in full. —Numbers 5:7

During the compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary, managing editor James Murray received thousands of definitions from Dr. William Chester Minor. They were always sent in by mail and never brought in personally. Murray was curious about this brilliant man, so he went to visit him. He was shocked to find that Minor was incarcerated in an asylum for the criminally insane.

Years earlier, while in a delusional state, Minor had shot an innocent man whom he thought had been tormenting him. Later he was filled with remorse and began sending money to support the widow and her family.  Minor was imprisoned for the rest of his life but he found practical ways of easing the pain of his victims and contributing to society through his work on the dictionary.

When the dishonest tax collector Zacchaeus heard Jesus’ message of grace, he chose to return more than what he had extorted from others. “Look, Lord, . . . if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (Luke 19:8). The gospel of grace stirred Zacchaeus to help those he had harmed.

Have you wronged someone? What steps will you take to help make things right?

Forgive me, Lord, for all my sins,
The many wrongs that I have done;
And show me how to make things right
Before the setting of the sun.  —Bosch

Making restitution reveals genuine repentance.

By Dennis Fisher  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The Ultimate Physician

Read: Luke 19:1-10

I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold. —Luke19:8

Physicians can cure many illnesses, both physical and mental. But only Jesus can bring about the healing that makes bad people good.

A noted psychiatrist recognized his own limitations in a conversation he had with British clergyman William Barclay. “All that a psychiatrist can do,” said the doctor, “is strip a man naked until you get to the essential man; and if the essential man is bad stuff, there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s where you come in.” Barclay later commented, “I think he meant that this is where Jesus comes in.”

Zacchaeus was a bad man who needed inner healing. As a chief tax collector, he could take a cut from what his subordinates had collected. Therefore he was a wealthy man. Apparently he had heard about Jesus and wanted very much to see Him. Being short in stature, he climbed up into a tree to see above the crowd.

I believe Zacchaeus was overwhelmed with guilt when Jesus looked up and told him He was coming to his house. Later, he told Jesus he would give half his wealth to the poor and restore fourfold to any he had defrauded. Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9). In that instant Zacchaeus was spiritually healed. Only the ultimate Physician can make bad people good.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost,
Left heaven's glory, minding not the cost;
Looking high and low and far and wide,
The Son of Man for all was crucified. —Hess

The ultimate Physician can reach you wherever you are. 

By Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 19:9  And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham.


Today salvation has come to this house - Jesus saw the sincerity of Zaccheus' heart and the reality of his conversion. His almsgiving and restitution did not merit his salvation but were the fruit of his salvation, demonstrating his faith was genuine. So in a moment he is transformed from a vile chief tax collector into a beloved child of God, and it had all happened because he went to see Jesus as He was passing by! Jesus no longer uses the word sinner but salvation! In saving the rich Zaccheus Jesus fulfills the promise that while it is impossible for a rich man to enter heaven, it is possible with God (Lk 18:24-27-note).

Bell - This is the 2nd to last conversion recorded. (thief on cross)

NET Note on house - "The household is not a reference to the building, but to the people who lived within it." But don't misunderstand what Jesus is saying. He is not saying everyone in Zaccheus' house would automatically be saved. Salvation is a decision each person must personally make. To be sure when the head of a household believes, those in the house frequently are also saved. When I came to Christ over 30 years ago, my two oldest children were saved soon after, while my other two were not saved until almost 30 years later!

Spurgeon - When our Lord was here, his personal mission as a soul-winner was to the Jews, to those who were of the house of Abraham; so he shows that however much despised this man might be, he came within the compass of the Christ’s immediate mission: “forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.”

Because he, too, is a son of Abraham - Zaccheus, a physical son of Abraham has now become a spiritual son of Abraham, having followed in the footsteps of the faith of Abraham which Paul describes in Ro 4:12-note writing that Abraham is "the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision (physical Jews like Zaccheus), but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.' To reiterate, do not misinterpret this passage. Yes, Zaccheus had carried out what some might call an "act of penance" but that is not why Jesus says salvation has come. Salvation has come because Zaccheus had the same kind of faith Abraham had in Genesis 15 when he "believed in the LORD; and He (Jehovah) reckoned ("placed it on his spiritual bank account") it to him as righteousness." (Genesis 15:6-note)  As Paul clearly stated in Romans 

He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:28-29-note)

In Galatians Paul explained

Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those (LIKE ZACCHEUS) who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer....And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:6-9-note)

Jesus explained to the Jews who ostensibly had believed in Him in John 8:30 that they did not really believe in Him (their subsequent behavior proved their belief was not unto salvation - see Jn 8:59)

They (JEWS) answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone (THEY FORGET ABOUT EGYPT! AND NOW ROME! THIS SHOWS THE POWER OF SELF-DECEPTION OF THE UNCONVERTED MIND!); how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits (PRESENT TENSE = HABITUALLY NOT JUST AN OCCASIONAL LAPSE) sin is the slave of sin (2 Pe 2:19-note - CONTRAST Ro 6:5-6-note). 35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 “I know that you are Abraham’s (PHYSICAL) descendants; yet you seek to kill Me (CONTRAST ZACCHEUS' BEHAVIOR!), because My word has no place in you. 38 “I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”  39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus *said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40 “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41 “You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:33-44)

Morris on Jesus' discourse to Jews who "believed" - This section of the discourse is addressed to those who believe, and yet do not believe. Clearly they were inclined to think that what Jesus said was true. But they were not prepared to yield Him the far-reaching allegiance that real trust in Him implies. This is a most dangerous spiritual state.

Dods - To those who have just been described as believing on Him Jesus went on to say (Jn 8:31), ‘If you’ – emphasized in distinction from those who had not believed – ‘abide in My word’ – not content with making the first step towards faith and obedience – ‘then’ – but not till then – ‘are ye really My disciples.'

Tasker on abiding in His word: “Welcoming it, being at home with it, and living with it so continuously that it becomes part of the believer’s life, a permanent influence and stimulus in every fresh advance in goodness and holiness.”

Salvation (4991) (soteria from soter = Savior in turn from sozo = save, rescue, deliver) (Click here or here for in depth discussion of the related terms soter and sozo) describes the rescue or deliverance from danger, destruction and peril. Salvation is a broader term in Greek than we often think of in English. Other concepts that are inherent in soteria include restoration to a state of safety, soundness, health and well being as well as preservation from danger of destruction, especially eternal destruction

William Barclay - In classical Greek soteria means 'deliverance' or 'preservation'. It can be used for a man's safe return to his own home or his own country after an absence and a journey. It can mean a 'guarantee of safety' or a 'security against danger'. In the papyri by far the commonest meaning of soteria is 'bodily health'. For instance, a member of the family writes home, 'Write me a letter about your soteria,' or, as we would say, 'Let me know how you are.'  (New Testament Words) For an interesting analysis of soteria by William Barclay click here.

Luke's uses of soteria - Lk. 1:69; Lk. 1:71; Lk. 1:77; Lk. 19:9; Acts 4:12; Acts 7:25; Acts 13:26; Acts 13:47; Acts 16:17; Acts 27:34;

NET Note on salvation - This is one of the few uses of the specific term salvation in Luke (Lk 1:69, 71, 77), though the concept runs throughout the Gospel.

One's physical or blood lineage does not guarantee entry into the spiritual family of God

Life Application Study Note - To finance their great world empire, the Romans levied heavy taxes on all nations under their control. The Jews opposed these taxes because they supported a secular government and its pagan gods, but they were still forced to pay. Tax collectors were among the most unpopular people in Israel. Jews by birth, they chose to work for Rome and were considered traitors. Besides, it was common knowledge that tax collectors were making themselves rich by gouging their fellow Jews. No wonder the people muttered when Jesus went home with the tax collector Zacchaeus. But despite the fact that Zacchaeus was both a cheater and a turncoat, Jesus loved him; and in response, this tax collector was converted. In every society, certain groups of people are considered "untouchable" because of their political views, their immoral behavior, or their lifestyle. We should not give in to social pressure to avoid these people. Jesus loves them, and they need to hear his Good News.....When Jesus said Zacchaeus was a son of Abraham and yet was lost, he must have shocked his hearers in at least two ways: (1) They would not have liked to acknowledge that this unpopular tax collector was a fellow son of Abraham, and (2) they would not have wished to admit that sons of Abraham could be lost. But a person is not saved because of a good heritage or condemned by a bad one; faith is more important than genealogy. Jesus came to save all the lost, regardless of their background or previous way of life. Through faith, the lost can be forgiven and made new.(Life Application Study Bible - Luke) (Life Application Study Bible - Luke)

Where Jesus Lives

Read: Luke 19:1-10

Today salvation has come to this house. —Luke 19:9

The German poet Goethe told a fable about a poor fisherman’s crude hut. When a lighted silver lamp was placed inside, the entire cabin was transformed into silver—the flooring, the logs that formed the walls, the roof, even the furniture.

This is a beautiful picture of what happens in a home when the Lord Jesus is allowed to reign supreme. Where bitterness, hatred, and ill will once prevailed, now the brightness of His holiness and the warmth of His love are enthroned.

Jesus told Zacchaeus, “Today I must stay at your house” (Lk. 19:5). But he didn’t treat the Lord merely as his guest—he “received Him joyfully” (v.6). Christ’s visit had an effect on Zacchaeus’ heart that led to dramatic changes in his behavior. He told the Master that from now on he would give half of his goods to the poor (v.8). Jesus observed, “Today salvation has come to this house” (v.9).

Jesus wants to transform our homes too. But before He can do that, we must invite Him into our lives. Only when Jesus is Savior and Lord of our lives can we experience His abundant blessing on our homes.

Does Jesus live at your house? You will know His presence and blessing if you respond in faith to Him.

If you want the warmth of Christ's love in your home, let Him kindle a fire in your heart.

By Richard DeHaan  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Looking For Zacchaeus

Read: Luke 19:1-10

Today salvation has come to this house. —Luke 19:9

Alf Clark walks the city streets looking for Zacchaeus. Well, not the actual one in the Bible—Jesus already found him. Alf and some friends who serve with an urban ministry do what Jesus did in Luke 19. They go purposefully through town to meet with and help those in need.

Alf walks house to house in his neighborhood, knocking on doors and saying to whoever peeks out, “Hi, I’m Alf. Do you have any needs I can pray for?” It’s his way of opening up communication and—like Jesus did with tax-collector Zacchaeus—seeking to supply needed counsel and spiritual life and hope.

Notice what Jesus did. Luke simply says that Jesus “passed through” Jericho (Luke 19:1). Of course, a crowd gathered, as usually occurred when Jesus came to town. Zacchaeus, being “height challenged,” climbed a tree. Jesus, while passing through, walked right over to his tree and told him He had to visit at his house. That day salvation came to Zacchaeus’s house. Jesus had “come to seek and to save that which was lost” (v.10).

Do we look for Zacchaeus? He is everywhere, needing Jesus. In what ways can we share Christ’s love with people who need the Savior?

God, guide our steps toward and not away
from those who need You. Then guide our words
and our actions so that we can be purposeful
in our encounters with others.

God’s good news is too good to keep to ourselves.

By Dave Branon  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 19:10  "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."


Some have referred to this as the "golden text of Luke's Gospel." It certainly aptly summarizes Jesus' mission to earth!

Since the Jews had failed to be a light unto the nations (cf Acts 13:47 quoting Isa 42:6), God Himself took over seeking the lost sheep as recorded by the prophet Ezekiel  “My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.”...For thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out." (Ezekiel 34:6; 11)

D L Moody - TO me this is one of the sweetest verses in the whole Bible. In this one short sentence we are told what Christ came into this world for. He came for a purpose, He came to do a work. He came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Brian Bell - This verse is illustrated in the experience of Zacchaeus: Jesus came to him, sought him, & saved him. (Warren Wiersbe; pg.682) The whole gospel is in this simple sentence(10); & there is not a word that has even two syllables!

There is a very important practical point of application in Jesus' "purpose statement" -- Until a person comes to the realization that they are a sinner and lost, they have little desire in being "found" (saved). Why would they want deliverance (another meaning of "save") when they do not sense any peril or danger from which to be rescued! Thus it is important in presenting the Gospel to not forget to emphasize every person's desperate state without Christ and thus their dire need of the Good News. The "bad news" precedes the "good news." 

J R Miller -  The people murmured at Jesus because He went among the outcasts. He assured them, however, that these were the very people He had come to save. "The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Sinners were the very ones He had come from heaven to continue to seek. In another place He illustrated the same truth by the case of a physician, whose mission is to the sick, not to the healthy (Lk 5:31-note, Mt 9:12, Mk 2:17). Who would sneer at the physician for choosing sick people to associate with and call upon? Who then should murmur at Jesus for going among sinners, when He came to this world expressly to save sinners?

Son of Man -  This is the name Jesus used for Himself more than any other and always by Jesus Himself. It speaks of His humanity, God in the flesh. It was a clearly a Messianic title (Da 7:13, 14-note) clearly referring to the humanity and the humility of Christ, but also to His deity (see Cole's note below). Son of Man is His name as the representative Man, in the sense of 1 Cor 15:45-47. 

Steven Cole adds that "Son of Man emphasizes that Jesus was in every way human, except for our sin. He used it with increasing frequency as He anticipated the cross. Thus, “Its meaning for Him was inextricably bound up with His work of redemption” (D. Guthrie, Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible [Zondervan], 3:568). But the title also affirms the full deity of our Lord. Jesus used it when referring to the fact that He existed in heaven before descending to earth and that He would again ascend into heaven (Jn 3:13; Jo 6:62). He used it to assert that the Father had given Him all authority to execute judgment (Jn 5:27). He said that as the Son of Man He had authority on earth to forgive sins (Lu 5:20-24). He used it often in reference to His second coming in power and glory (Lu 17:22-30; Lu 18:8; Lu 21:36; Mt 24:30; Mat 25:31). In fact, at His trial the high priest adjured Him by the living God to tell them whether He was the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus replied, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of glory.” He was quoting from Da 7:13, Da 7:14 and applying it to Himself. At this the priest accused Him of blasphemy. If Jesus did not mean that as the Son of Man, He is God, surely He would have corrected the priest’s mistaken impression and absolved Himself of the charge. By letting it stand, Jesus affirmed that they were correct: the Son of Man is the Son of God, one with the Father.

Son of Man - Matt. 8:20; Matt. 9:6; Matt. 10:23; Matt. 11:19; Matt. 12:8; Matt. 12:32; Matt. 12:40; Matt. 13:37; Matt. 13:41; Matt. 16:13; Matt. 16:27; Matt. 16:28; Matt. 17:9; Matt. 17:12; Matt. 17:22; Matt. 18:11; Matt. 19:28; Matt. 20:18; Matt. 20:28; Matt. 24:27; Matt. 24:30; Matt. 24:37; Matt. 24:39; Matt. 24:44; Matt. 25:31; Matt. 26:2; Matt. 26:24; Matt. 26:45; Matt. 26:64; Mk. 2:10; Mk. 2:28; Mk. 8:31; Mk. 8:38; Mk. 9:9; Mk. 9:12; Mk. 9:31; Mk. 10:33; Mk. 10:45; Mk. 13:26; Mk. 14:21; Mk. 14:41; Mk. 14:62; Lk. 5:24; Lk. 6:5; Lk. 6:22; Lk. 7:34; Lk. 9:22; Lk. 9:26; Lk. 9:44; Lk. 9:56; Lk. 9:58; Lk. 11:30; Lk. 12:8; Lk. 12:10; Lk. 12:40; Lk. 17:22; Lk. 17:24; Lk. 17:26; Lk. 17:30; Lk. 18:8; Lk. 18:31; Lk. 19:10; Lk. 21:27; Lk. 21:36; Lk. 22:22; Lk. 22:48; Lk. 22:69; Lk. 24:7; Jn. 1:51; Jn. 3:13; Jn. 3:14; Jn. 5:27; Jn. 6:27; Jn. 6:53; Jn. 6:62; Jn. 8:28; Jn. 9:35; Jn. 12:23; Jn. 12:34; Jn. 13:31; Acts 7:56; Heb. 2:6; Rev. 1:13; Rev. 14:14

Related Resources:

Has come - This speaks of His condescension in His incarnation (Php 2:6-9-note).

Spurgeon - If, at this time, we ask our Lord Jesus, “Whither goest thou, Divine Master?” his answer still is, “I am come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “Art thou come after those who think themselves good enough without thee?” He shakes his head and says, “I am a Physician, and the whole have no need of a Physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” The gospel of the grace of God is for the guilty; if you are not guilty, there is no gospel for you; but if you are guilty, and confess it, to you is the word of this salvation sent.

To seek - This speaks of His compassion for the horrible state of sinners.

Seek (2212)(zeteo) in this context speaks of searching for what is lost, in this case every man or woman born in the image of Adam, because all have inherited his "sin virus" (Ro 5:12-note) and thus all are spiritually dead (aka lost, cf Eph 2:1-note). We see God's seeking Adam immediately after he had sinned - "Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”" (Ge 3:9)

Ezekiel 34:16 “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment. 

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
-- Philip Bliss
(Here is a version from my home church)

To save - This speaks of the price Jesus paid to redeem us from the penalty and power of sin. He came to die!

To save (4982) (sozo) has the basic meaning of rescuing one from great peril, especially from God's judgment of sin and the penalty of eternal death. Every person born is in great peril for they are not guaranteed that their heart will beat another beat! And should it stop, they can no longer be rescued from the great peril which is eternal banishment away from the presence of God and His glory! Sozo can also mean to deliver (as from the power of sin, cf Ro 6:14-note), to heal (as from the wages of sin which is death, cf Ro 6:23-note, 1 Peter 2:24-note), or be made whole (to come to know and experience the true purpose for which you were created - cf Col 2:10-note ). Zaccheus had begun to experience all of these supernatural benefits of his new life in Christ because he had placed in faith fully in the Messiah and had been born again. 

Adrian Rogers once said of those who are never born again...

They go to church three times in their lives: 

  • when they're born, 
  • when they're married, 
  • and when they die. 

Hatched, matched, and dispatched!

  • The first time they throw water, 
  • the second time they throw rice, 
  • and the third time they throw dirt!

To save that which was lost - What does Jesus mean by lost? Lost refers to all who have never been born again by grace through faith in Jesus. They are not spiritually, eternally saved and "safe" in Christ. In context who was lost? Zaccheus, a physical son of Abraham. Contrary to popular Jewish thought (aka, "national deception"), Zaccheus' physical lineage was not a "free ticket" guaranteeing entry into the Kingdom of God (i.e., salvation). In fact, that is the lost group Jesus came to first, to the lost sons of Abraham. 

There are only two kinds of people — the saved and the lost. Which are you?

Spurgeon“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” When our Lord came into this world, he seemed to select that title “Son of Man” for himself and make it his own special name—and worthily so. Other men are the sons of this man or that, but his is no restricted humanity; it is manhood of the universal type. Jesus is not born into the race of the Jews so much as into the human family. He is not to be claimed for any age, place, or nationality. He is “the Son of Man.” And this, I say, is how he comes to man. As long as Christ is the Son of Man, we may still say of him that he comes to seek and to save the lost. I know that in person he has gone back to heaven. I know that the cloud has received him out of our sight. But the taking on himself of our humanity was a coming down to seek and save the lost, and as he has not laid that humanity aside, he is still with men, continuing to seek and to save even to this day. If I treat the text as if Jesus were still among us, I would not err; for he is here in the sense of seeking the same end, though it is by his Spirit and by his servants rather than by his own bodily presence. He has said that he will be with us even until the end of the age. It is still true that the great Savior and friend of man has come among us and is seeking and saving the lost.

What the Bible teaches on that which was lost "That which was lost" is a neuter, perfect active participle, which A. T. Robertson says indicates "the collective whole" of mankind. The lost is not a special group among the billions of mankind but a descriptive term for all men (ch. 15). The simple facts about his lostness are that all are lost; no one can save himself; each one who is saved was once lost; Christ alone can save, and there is a time of seeking and saving that will soon be past forever.

Clarkson on Lost - The sense in which each sinful human soul is lost

(1) It has lost its way; it is a traveler going in the wrong direction, away from his home toward the perilous precipice. 
(2) It has lost its treasure, its heritage; for it has lost its peace, its harmony, its accordance with all those beings to whom it is most nearly and vitally related; it has lost its hopes. 
(3) It has lost its worth, its likeness to the Holy One; it has been brought down to folly, to that which is unbeautiful and unworthy. 

Was lost (622)(apollumi from apo = away from + olethros = state of utter ruin) conveys the sense of utter destruction of one's purpose for which they were created which is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Had Zaccheus died without placing his faith in Jesus, he would have been thrown into a horrid place of purposeless existence! This fate is almost beyond our human comprehension. We would rather say it means annihilation, cessation of existence, but that is sadly not true, even though some teach this false doctrine. Every person ever born will end up in one of two places - Either alone in hell fully conscious of its torments or in Heaven with God fully capable in a glorified body to experience perfect joy and eternal bliss. Dear reader, surely there is no comparison between these two fates! If you have never believed in Jesus, believe today, and you will immediately be transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, form lost to found! 

Apollumi as it relates to mankind is not the loss of being per se, but is more the loss of well-being. It means to ruin so that the person (or thing) ruined can no longer serve the use for which he (it) was designed. The Gospel promises everlasting life for the one who believes. The failure to possess this life will result in utter ruin and eternal uselessness but not a cessation of existence. It is a place where there is no hope! As Adrian Rogers said "There are only two places where there's no hope. One is in Hell because when you go to Hell, you've lost hope. The other is in Heaven because when you're in Heaven, you don't need hope!"

Steven Cole comments "You may be thinking, “How do I know that Christ will save me in particular?” Do you see yourself as lost? Do you know that apart from God’s grace, you would justly spend eternity in hell? Do you recognize that if God left you to yourself, you would never seek Him or believe in Him? If so, then the good news is, “Christ Jesus came … to save sinners” (1Ti 1:15). He died for the ungodly (Ro 5:6). If the words, “lost,” “sinner,” “ungodly,” fit you, then you can have hope, because Christ came to save such people from their sins. But if you say, “I may have my faults, but I’m not lost,” then I cannot offer you a Savior. Jesus came to save the lost. If you say, “I’m only human, of course, but I’m not a sinner,” then Christ did not come to save you. He came into this world to save sinners. If you say, “I know that I have done plenty of wrong things, but I wouldn’t call myself ungodly,” then I’m afraid that Christ did not die for you. Scripture says that Christ died for the ungodly.

Brian Bell - He is still the seeking Savior, but now he uses your eyes & lips!If we are to win souls we must seek them. The hunter knows his game will not come to the window of his house to be shot. The fisherman knows that the fish will not come swimming up to his house. No, they must go out & seek! - And so must you and I!

George MacLeod -  “I simply argue that the cross be raised again, at the centre of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles but on a cross between two thieves;on a town garbage heap; at a crossroad of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek …and at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died, And that is what He died about. And that is where Christ’s own ought to be, And that is what church people ought to be about.”

Brian Bill - Lord Kenneth Clark, internationally known for his television series Civilization, admitted in his autobiography that while visiting a beautiful church he had an overwhelming religious experience. This is what he wrote: “My whole being was irradiated by a kind of heavenly joy far more intense than anything I had never known before.” But, as he described it, the “gloom of grace” created a problem for him. If he allowed himself to be influenced by his spiritual yearnings, he knew he would have to change and his family would think he had lost his mind. And so he concluded, “I was too deeply embedded in the world to change course.” As far as I know, he died without putting his faith in Christ.

David GuzikThe entire account with Zacchaeus gives us a remarkable who, what, where, when, why, and how of receiving Jesus.

  • Who Jesus wants to receive Him: those lost.
  • What Jesus wants with those who receive Him: relationship.
  • Where Jesus wants to go: down to Him.
  • When Jesus wants you to receive Him: immediately, quickly.
  • Why Jesus wants you to receive Him: to be with Him, to connect with Him in life.
  • How Jesus wants you to receive Him: joyfully. (Enduring Word Bible Commentary – Luke 19)

Spurgeon When our Lord came into this world, he seemed to select that title “Son of Man” for himself and make it his own special name—and worthily so. Other men are the sons of this man or that, but his is no restricted humanity; it is manhood of the universal type. Jesus is not born into the race of the Jews so much as into the human family. He is not to be claimed for any age, place, or nationality. He is “the Son of Man.” And this, I say, is how he comes to man. As long as Christ is the Son of Man, we may still say of him that he comes to seek and to save the lost. I know that in person he has gone back to heaven. I know that the cloud has received him out of our sight. But the taking on himself of our humanity was a coming down to seek and save the lost, and as he has not laid that humanity aside, he is still with men, continuing to seek and to save even to this day. If I treat the text as if Jesus were still among us, I would not err; for he is here in the sense of seeking the same end, though it is by his Spirit and by his servants rather than by his own bodily presence. He has said that he will be with us even until the end of the age. It is still true that the great Savior and friend of man has come among us and is seeking and saving the lost.

ILLUSTRATION George Whitefield, one of America’s greatest evangelist, had a brother that was backslidden. One day his brother found himself sitting at tea with the Countess of Huntingdon. He said, “I know what you have said is very proper, & I believe in the infinite mercy & goodness of God. But I do not believe in its application to me, for I am a lost man.” the Countess put down her tea & said, “I am glad to hear it, Mr. Whitefield!” “Madam,” he said, “I did not think you would rejoice & glory in a thing so terrible as that.” “I am glad to hear you say you are lost Mr. Whitefield,” she said, “for it is written that Jesus Christ came to seek & to save that which was lost.” His eyes sparkled, & he said, “I thank God for that text, & for the extraordinary power with which it has now come into my heart.” He died later that night.  Until a man is lost he cannot be found!

ILLUSTRATION Spurgeon illustrates this truth by saying, suppose that you came and told me of a great doctor in London. I asked, “What does he do?” You said, “He has many patients.” “But, what does he do?” Finally, you reply, “He cures bad fingers.” Well, that’s not too impressive. But suppose, instead, you reply, “There have been many patients whom no one else could cure. They were near death, but he healed them.” That’s the kind of man whose praises we would sing. If we were sick, we would go to Him for the cure. (Cole)

ILLUSTRATION - Dr. Boreham has a terrible story. There was a meeting in progress at which several women were giving their testimony. One woman kept grimly silent. She was asked to testify but refused. She was asked why and she answered, "Four of these women who have just given their testimony owe me money, and I and my family are half-starved because we cannot buy food." A testimony is utterly worthless unless it is backed by deeds which guarantee its sincerity. It is not a mere change of words which Jesus Christ demands, but a change of life. (Barclay)

An Interesting Note on Luke 19:10 -  Harry Allen Ironside initially had religion but not Christ. He was memorizing Scripture from three years of age and up, starting with Luke 19:10. Ironside read the Bible through 14 times by his 14th year. Two frequent visitors were Scotch evangelists, Donald Munro and John Smith. They would always ask Harry "are you born again?" He always replied that he passed out tracts, memorized Scripture, went to Sunday School. He was quite relieved when he heard his mother make plans to go to Los Angeles in 1886 when he was ten years old. At least they would not be bugging him anymore, he mused.  A train ride from Toronto to Los Angeles was an adventure for an adult, let alone a child of ten. They arrived on December 12, 1886. Harry was surprised to find out there was no Sunday School in his neighborhood, so at age 11 he started one. He called together boys and girls and talked to them about his purpose. He sent out the boys to collect sacks and burlap bags and he organized the girls into a sewing club. They sewed the burlap together and soon a burlap tent was made that could accommodate 100 people. There was no teacher, so Harry taught, and the average attendance was 60 including a few adults. Harry would always revert to Isaiah 53 when he couldn't think of anything else to say. People would say, "God bless this little preacher" and Harry assumed himself saved. In 1888 [Dwight L.] Moody came to Los Angeles for a campaign. Meetings were held in Hazzard's Pavilion which seated 8,000. Finding no seat he climbed up on a trough-like girder that extended from the second gallery up to the apex of the roof. (ED: DOES THIS NOT REMIND US OF ZACCHEUS CLIMBING INTO THE SYCAMORE TREE?) Moody excited Harry and he prayed, "Lord, help me some day to preach to crowds like these, and to lead souls to Christ." Forty-two years later he became pastor of the church Moody founded. In 1889 his mother said happily one day after school, "Guess who's here?" Harry thought it to be some lost relative, but it was evangelist Donald Munro. As he arrived it was, "Well, well, Harry lad, how you have grown! And are you born again yet, my boy?" His Uncle Allan, who was in the room said, "Oh, Harry preaches himself, now." Undaunted Munro said, "You are preaching, and yet you don't know that you're born again! Go and get your Bible, lad." Young Ironside was really challenged. Within a few weeks Harry gave up his Sunday School, for he felt he had no right to open his mouth for God if he were unsaved. For six months he battled this problem.Then in February, 1890, he went to a party, and Proverbs 1:24-32 came to his mind. As soon as he could, he hurried home. After midnight, he fell on his knees and said, "Lord, save me." He wondered about a lack of some new emotion, but soon claimed the promise, rose from his knees - saved at age 13. He later said, "I rested on the Word of God and confessed Christ as my Saviour." (Click here if you are interested to read the rest of the story).

J C Ryle - Luke 19:1-10 - The Conversion of Zacchaeus

 These verses describe the conversion of a soul. Like the stories of Nicodemus, and the Samaritan woman, the story of Zacchaeus should be frequently studied by Christians. The Lord Jesus never changes. What He did for the man before us, He is able and willing to do for any one of ourselves.

      We learn, firstly, from these verses, that no one is too bad to be saved, or beyond the power of Christ's grace. We are told of a wealthy tax-collector becoming a disciple of Christ. A more unlikely event we cannot well imagine! We see the "camel passing through the eye of a needle," and the "rich man entering the kingdom of God." We behold a plain proof that "all things are possible with God." We see a covetous tax-gatherer transformed into a liberal Christian!

      The door of hope which the Gospel reveals to sinners, is very wide open. Let us leave it open as we find it Let us not attempt in narrow-minded ignorance, to shut it. We should never be afraid to maintain that Christ is "able to save to the uttermost," and that the vilest of sinners may be freely forgiven if they will only come to Him. We should offer the Gospel boldly to the worst and wickedest, and say, "There is hope. Only repent and believe. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool." (Isaiah. 1:18.) Such doctrine may seem to worldly people foolishness and licentiousness. But such doctrine is the Gospel of Him who saved Zacchaeus at Jericho. Hospitals discharge many cases as incurable. But there are no incurable cases under the Gospel. Any sinner may be healed, if he will only come to Christ.

      We learn, secondly, from these verses, how little and insignificant are the things on which a soul's salvation often turns. We are told that Zacchaeus "sought to see who Jesus was; and could not, because he was little of stature." Curiosity, and nothing but curiosity, appears to have been the motive of his mind. That curiosity once roused, Zaccheus was determined to gratify it. Rather than not see Jesus he ran on before along the road, and "climbed up into a tree." Upon that little action, so far as man's eyes can see, there hinged the salvation of his soul. Our Lord stopped under the tree, and said When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." From that very moment Zacchaeus was an altered man. That very night he lay down a Christian.

      We must never "despise the day of small things." (Zech. 4:10.) We must never reckon anything little that concerns the soul. The ways by which the Holy Spirit leads men and women to Christ are wonderful and mysterious. He is often beginning in a heart a work which shall stand to eternity, when a looker-on observes nothing remarkable.

      In every work there must be a beginning, and in spiritual work that beginning is often very small. Do we see a careless brother beginning to use means of grace, which in time past he neglected? Do we see him coming to Church and listening to the Gospel after a long course of Sabbath-breaking? When we see such things let us remember Zaccheus and be hopeful. Let us not look coldly on him because his motives are at present very poor and questionable. Let us believe that it is far better to hear the Gospel out of mere curiosity, than not to hear it at all. Our brother is with Zaccheus in the tree! For anything we know he may go further. Who can tell but that he may one day receive Christ joyfully?

      We learn, thirdly, from these verses, Christ's free compassion towards sinners, and Christ's power to change hearts. A more striking instance than that before us it is impossible to conceive. Unasked, our Lord stops and speaks to Zaccheus. Unasked, He offers Himself to be a guest in the house of a sinner. Unasked, He sends into the heart of a tax-collector the renewing grace of the Spirit, and puts him that very day among the children of God. (Jer 3:19.)

   It is impossible, with such a passage as this before as, to exalt too highly the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot maintain too strongly that there is in Him an infinite readiness to receive, and an infinite ability to save sinners. Above all, we cannot hold too firmly that salvation is not of works, but of grace. If ever there was a soul sought and saved, without having done anything to deserve it, that soul was the soul of Zaccheus.

      Let us grasp these doctrines firmly and never let them go. Their price is above rubies. Grace, free grace, is the only thought which gives men rest in a dying hour. Let us proclaim these doctrines confidently to every one to whom we speak about spiritual things. Let us bid them come to Jesus Christ, just as they are, and not wait in the vain hope that they can make themselves fit and worthy to come. Not least, let us tell them that Jesus Christ waits for them, and would come and dwell in their poor sinful hearts, if they would only receive Him. "Behold," He says, "I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me." (Rev. 3:20.)

      We learn, lastly, from these verses, that converted sinners will always give evidence of their conversion. We are told that Zaccheus "stood, and said unto the Lord, the half of my goods I give unto the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold." There was reality in that speech. There was unmistakable proof that Zaccheus was a new creature. When a wealthy Christian begins to distribute his riches, and an extortioner begins to make restitution, we may well believe that old things have passed away, and all things become new. (2 Cor. 5:17.) There was decision in that speech. "I give," says Zaccheus--"I restore." He does not speak of future intentions. He does not say, "I will," but "I do." Freely pardoned, and raised from death to life, Zaccheus felt that he could not begin too soon to show whose he was and whom he served.

      He that desires to give proof that he is a believer, should walk in the steps of Zaccheus. Like him, let him thoroughly renounce the sins which have formerly most easily beset him. Like him, let him follow the Christian graces which he has formerly most habitually neglected. In any case a believer should so live that all may know that he is a believer. Faith that does not purify the heart and life, is not faith at all. Grace that cannot be seen, like light--and tasted, like salt, is not grace, but hypocrisy. The man who professes to know Christ and trust Him, while he cleaves to sin and the world, is going down to hell with a lie in his right hand. The heart that has really tasted the grace of Christ, will instinctively hate sin.

      Let us turn from the whole passage with the last verse ringing in our ears--"The Son of man came to seek and save that which is lost." It is as a Savior, more than as a Judge, that Christ desires to be known. Let us see that we know Him as such. Let us take heed that our souls are saved. Once saved and converted, we shall say, "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits?" (Psalm 116:12.) Once saved, we shall not complain that self-denial, like that of Zaccheus, is a grievous requirement.

He Found Me

Read: Luke 19:1-10 

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. —Luke 19:10

The film Amazing Grace was set in the late 1700s. It tells the story of William Wilberforce, a politician who was driven by his faith in Christ to commit his money and energy to abolishing the slave trade in England. In one scene, Wilberforce’s butler finds him praying. The butler asks, “You found God, Sir?” Wilberforce responds, “I think He found me.”

The Bible pictures humanity as wayward and wandering sheep. It says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way” (Isa. 53:6). In fact, this wayward condition is so deeply rooted in us that the apostle Paul said: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside” (Rom. 3:10-12). That is why Jesus came. We would never seek Him, so He came seeking us. Jesus declared His mission with the words, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

Wilberforce was exactly right. Jesus came to find us, for we could never have found Him if left to ourselves. It is a clear expression of the Creator’s love for His lost creation that He pursues us and desires to make us His own.

Amazing grace—how sweet the sound—that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
was blind, but now I see. John Newton

Once lost, now found. Eternally thankful!

By Bill Crowder  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Campaign Of Reconciliation

Read: Luke 19:1-10

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. —Luke 19:10

In Craig Nelson’s book The First Heroes, we read about the Doolittle Raiders who launched the first major counterattack on the Pacific front during World War II. Not all of the “raiders” returned from their bombing mission. Jacob DeShazer was among those who were captured and held in POW camps under difficult and painful circumstances.

DeShazer later returned to Japan after the war, but not to seek revenge. He had received Jesus as his Savior and had come back to Japanese soil carrying the message of Christ. A former warrior who was once on a campaign of war was now on a campaign of reconciliation.

DeShazer’s mission to Japan mirrors the heart of the Savior, who Himself came on a mission of love and reconciliation. Luke reminds us that when Christ came into the world, it was not merely to be a moral example or a compelling teacher. He came “to seek and to save” the lost (19:10). His love for us found its expression in the cross, and His rescue of us found its realization when He emerged triumphantly from the tomb in resurrected life.

In Christ we find forgiveness, and that forgiveness changes our life and our eternity—all because Jesus came on a campaign of reconciliation.

While Jesus hung on Calvary’s cross,
The devil and his demons smiled;
Disciples grieved and mourned the loss,
But God and man were reconciled.  —Sper

We can go to others because Jesus came to us.

By Bill Crowder    (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A Father Who Runs

Read: Luke 15:11-24 

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. —Luke 19:10

Every day a father craned his neck to look toward the distant road, waiting for his son’s return. And every night he went to bed disappointed. But one day, a speck appeared. A lonesome silhouette stood against the crimson sky. Could that be my son? the father wondered. Then he caught sight of the familiar saunter. Yes, that has to be my son!

And so while the son was “still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). It is remarkable that the family patriarch did something that was considered undignified in Middle Eastern culture—he ran to meet his son. The father was full of unbridled joy at his son’s return.

The son didn’t deserve such a reception. When he had asked his father for his share of the inheritance and left home, it was as if he had wished his father dead. But despite all that the son had done to his father, he was still his son (v.24).

This parable reminds me that I’m accepted by God because of His grace, not because of my merits. It assures me that I’ll never sink so deep that God’s grace can’t reach me. Our heavenly Father is waiting to run to us with open arms.

Father, I’m so grateful for all Your Son did for me at the cross. I’m thankful for grace. I offer You a heart that desires to be like Jesus—merciful and gracious.

We deserve punishment and get forgiveness; we deserve God’s wrath and get God’s love. —Philip Yancey

By Poh Fang Chia 

INSIGHT The parables of Luke 15 deal with recovering what was lost. In verses 3-7 the search is for a lost sheep; in verses 8-10, a lost coin; in verses 11-24, a lost son. Each time the emphasis is on the sense of urgency of the one who is searching. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When The Lost Is Found

Read: Luke 15:1-32

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. —Luke 19:10

Six-week-old Crystal Guerrero was kidnapped on December 16, 1993, from a Chicago health clinic. Her parents lived in emotional turmoil for a week, unable to eat or sleep.

Then an abandoned baby was found in a church. It was Crystal! She was unharmed and well. Imagine the family’s joy, a joy shared by the whole country as the media spread the heartwarming news. The infant was back in her mother’s arms just in time for a jubilant Christmas.

How does God feel about those who are lost? In Luke 15, Jesus told the parable of the shepherd who left his flock of 99 sheep and went out into the desert to search for one that was lost. He also told about a father who waited and watched with anguished heart praying for the return of his prodigal son.

Those stories reveal the heart of the heavenly Father. Indeed, God was so burdened for the lost human race that He made the costliest sacrifice He could make. He sent His Son into the world to die on the cross so that He could save lost sinners. And Jesus said that whenever a sin-abducted soul is found and restored to the Father’s family, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God” (Lk. 15:10).

Have you made heaven rejoice?

I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me.
It was not I who found, O Savior true,
No, I was found by Thee. —Anon.

When we find Christ, we discover that we were the ones who were lost.

By Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Extreme Measures

Read: Luke 19:1–10 

The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10

A few years ago, a friend of mine lost track of her young son while walking through a swarm of people at Union Station in Chicago. Needless to say, it was a terrifying experience. Frantically, she yelled his name and ran back up the escalator, retracing her steps in an effort to find her little boy. The minutes of separation seemed like hours, until suddenly—thankfully—her son emerged from the crowd and ran to the safety of her arms.

Thinking of my friend who would have done anything to find her child fills me with a renewed sense of gratitude for the amazing work God did to save us. From the time God’s first image-bearers—Adam and Eve—wandered off in sin, He lamented the loss of fellowship with His people. He went to great lengths to restore the relationship by sending His one and only Son “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Without the birth of Jesus, and without His willingness to die to pay the price for our sin and to bring us to God, we would have nothing to celebrate at Christmastime.

Christmas is about God taking extreme measures to reclaim those who were lost.

So this Christmas, let’s be thankful that God took extreme measures by sending Jesus to reclaim our fellowship with Him. Although we once were lost, because of Jesus we have been found!

Heavenly Father, in the midst of all the joy of Christmas, remind me that the true meaning of this season lies in the depth of Your love. Thank You for sending Jesus to reclaim undeserving people like me!

Christmas is about God taking extreme measures to reclaim those who were lost.

By Joe Stowell (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Who Do We See?

Read: Luke 19:1-10 

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. —Luke 19:10

For many years, Allen Funt’s Candid Camera television program delighted viewers by using a hidden camera to catch the often hilarious reactions of ordinary people to unexpected situations. Their approach, according to his son Peter was: “We believe people are wonderful, and we’re out to confirm it.” Peter feels the perspective of some other similar shows is that “people are stupid, and we’re going to find ways to underscore that.”

His comments point out that our view of people determines how we treat them.

The citizens of Jericho were offended when Jesus went to the home of Zacchaeus the tax collector. “When they saw it, they all complained, saying, ‘He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner’” (Luke 19:7). Yet, when Zacchaeus had a deep change of heart (v.8), Jesus told him, “Today salvation has come to this house . . . for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (vv.9-10).

My friend Bob Horner says, “When we see people as losers, we treat them with contempt. When we see them as lost, we treat them with compassion.”

Jesus doesn’t see losers, only lost people He loves. When we look at others, who do we see?

Oh, give me, Lord, Your love for souls,
For lost and wandering sheep,
That I may see the multitudes
And weep as You did weep. —Harrison

Those who have been found should seek the lost.

By David C. McCasland   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Seek And Save

Read: Luke 19:1-10

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. —Luke 19:10

Lachlan Macquarie, governor of New South Wales from 1810–1821, had a way of making everyone feel included in the new colony. When the “exclusives” (free settlers, civil servants, and military officers) shunned the society of the “emancipists” (transported convicts given conditional or absolute pardon), Governor Macquarie insisted that they be treated as social equals.

Jesus showed interest in Zacchaeus, a shunned tax collector in Jericho, and included him in the recipients of His salvation plan (Luke 19:1-10). A marginalized and hated man because of his profession, Zacchaeus was desperate to see Jesus and climbed a tree to get a glimpse of Him. When Jesus passed by, He saw Zacchaeus’ desire and told him to come down because he had a divine appointment at his house. Some complained that Jesus was spending time with a sinner. His loving attention changed Zacchaeus’ life. He repented and offered restitution for those he had defrauded. Salvation had come to his house.

Jesus’ mission was simple: Diligently search for lost people, whatever their social standing, and offer them God’s salvation plan. As followers of Christ, we too have that as our mission.

Lord, help us show compassion
To a world that’s lost in sin,
So when we share the gospel,
Hungry souls for Christ we’ll win. —Sper

Christ’s mission is our mission.

By Marvin Williams   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Search And Rescue

Read: Luke 19:1-10

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. —Luke 19:10

Almost every week we see news about a search-and-rescue mission. It may involve a child who wandered away from a family picnic and is lost, or a hiker stranded on a mountain, or people trapped in the rubble following an earthquake. In every case, the people at risk are unable to help themselves. Those who are found and saved usually have lasting gratitude for those who joined in the search and rescued them.

The account of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10 is a story of search and rescue. At first glance it may seem like a series of chance events—Jesus was passing through Jericho and a rich tax collector climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of the miracle-working teacher. But this encounter with Jesus was not a coincidence. At the end of the narrative, Luke deliberately included Jesus’ words to Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house . . . ; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (vv.9-10).

Jesus began His search-and-rescue operation on earth by His life, death, and resurrection. He continues it today through the power of the Holy Spirit, and He graciously invites us to participate with Him by loving those who are lost.

People can’t believe in Jesus If the gospel they don’t hear, So we must proclaim its message To the world—both far and near. —Sper

Those rescued from sin are best able to rescue those in sin.

By David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Valuing Others

Read: Luke 19:1-10 | Bible in a Year: Exodus 12-13; Matthew 16

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. —Luke 19:10

As a young person, Robert had many things working against him—poverty, a broken home, a violent neighborhood. He skipped school often and was difficult to handle. But when a friend was shot to death, he considered it a wake-up call. Determined to change his life, Robert worked hard to bring his grades from failing to top marks.

Yet the school counselor did not believe in him and told him that no college would accept him. But Robert proved him wrong. He graduated from college and pursued a career in education. He chose that career because, as he says, “Teachers saw me as a non-entity”—a person of little value. He didn’t want that to happen to others.

Jesus views everyone as significant. Zacchaeus was a dishonest tax collector (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus could have ignored him, but He saw him in the tree and called him by name.

It’s important that Christians acknowledge others as people with value. Brennan Manning writes, “A Christian who doesn’t merely see but looks at another communicates to that person that he is being recognized as a human being in an impersonal world of objects.”

Do the people we interact with know that we view them as valuable to us and to God?

Burdened people everywhere
Need to know what Christ has done;
They need to feel God’s love and care—
It was for them He sent His Son.  —D. De Haan

Love people and not things, use things and not people.

By Anne Cetas  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 19:11  While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.


Do not confuse this parable of the minas (found only in Luke) with the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, which was given several days later in the middle of passion week and had different details and a different application (see summary). While there are some similarities between the two parables, the major difference is that the talents (a unit of money much greater than a mina) represent abilities much like our English word talent speaks of abilities, as with a "talented" individual. As discussed below most commentators agree that the "mina" in this parable speaks not of ability but of a common deposit of the Gospel which is shared equally by all of God's servants. As the parable in Luke unfolds, Jesus tells of a nobleman who is going away to receive a kingdom from someone with higher authority and will return to rule over that kingdom. While he is gone, he gives his servants money with which to do business and gain a profit that demonstrates their faithfulness as well as their respect and love for him. Upon the nobleman's return, all the servants will be evaluated for what they did with his funds. This is the gist of the story, and what is fascinating is that this parable is based on or at least has similarities to a historical event about which most of the Jews of Judea (Green area on map) would have been familiar. 

The following discussion summarizes the detailed account by Josephus of the historical event which had occurred in Jerusalem and Judea some 30 years prior (click here for more on this story of intrigue). When Herod the Great died, he left his reign in the hands of three people: Philip, Herod and ArchelausArchelaus (mentioned in Mt 2:13-21, 22, 23) was to rule over Judea but in order to be proclaimed king he had to go to Rome and have Caesar approve his kingship. However, before he was able to make this trip, there was an demonstration by Jews at the Temple who were mourning the killing of some of their religious leaders by Archelaus' recently deceased father, King Herod. When Archelaus sent a general accompanied by some soldiers to quell the Jews, the Jews turned and stoned the soldiers and returned to their sacrifices as if nothing had happened! In reaction, Archelaus ordered Roman soldiers to invade the Temple with the result that 3000 Jews were killed. Archelaus then sent heralds throughout Jerusalem announcing that the Passover feast was cancelled. Archelaus quickly sailed for Rome to get Caesar's approval of his kingship, but there he was opposed by his brother Antipater (who had been recently removed from his father Herod's will) and a group of dissident Jews protesting his killing of 3000 countrymen. Because of this resistance to Archelaus, Caesar would only grant him  the title of "ethnarch" (ruler over an ethnic group) and not the title of king, which he would have to earn, but never did, eventually being deposed and banished in 6 AD because of his continued cruelty. Herod the Great had made a similar journey to Rome where he was crowned King of Judea in 40 B.C., although he was not able to claim his kingdom until 37 B.C..

While they were listening to these things - This should prompt the question of what things? This forces us to examine the context. What has Jesus just spoken about? He has described the salvation of the lost tax collector Zaccheus and announced that His mission to mankind was to seek and save the lost. So the phrase these things establishes the region of Jericho as the place where Jesus gave this parable, presumably as He was about to begin the last 17 miles of His journey from Jericho to Jerusalem, a journey which would take about 6 hours and which ultimately would change the fate of every human being ever born. And so this parable is a story that in some way concerns every person every born, for as we shall see, we all fit into one of the categories Jesus describes. 

Jesus went on to tell a parable - Luke gives us two reasons for the parable - (1) Jesus was near Jerusalem and (2) the Jews (including His disciples) thought the Kingdom of God was going to appear immediately

Parable (3850)(parabole from para = beside, near + ballo = throw, cast) is literally a throwing beside or placing of one thing by the side of another or laying something besides something else for the purpose of comparison so that it could be more easily understood. Gotquestions defines a parable as "literally, something “cast alongside” something else. Jesus’ parables were stories that were “cast alongside” a truth in order to illustrate that truth. His parables were teaching aids and can be thought of as extended analogies or inspired comparisons. A common description of a parable is that it is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning."

That which was well known was laid alongside that which was not known or understood in order to explain it. In the present case Jesus tells a simple relatively easy to understand story using characters and events that can be reliably identified (at least by modern readers) with a high degree of certainty. Of course the original audience who heard this story would not likely be able to understand for Jesus (the nobleman) had not yet left to receive a kingdom. As emphasized one of the reasons for Jesus telling this parable is because the crowds and His disciples thought the Kingdom was near, but the parable emphasizes that the future Kingdom will be delayed until His return. Another major teaching of this parable is that during this time of delay between His ascension and His descension (Second Coming), there is Gospel work that must be accomplished and His slaves will be held accountable and rewarded for their faithful proclamation of the Good News during the present evil age (Gal 1:4-note) . So here are the cast of characters and the events in the parable....

  • Nobleman - Jesus
  • Went to Distant country to receive a kingdom - Jesus' resurrection, ascension and crowning as King 
  • Citizens hated him - Jews hated Jesus and rejected Him as King
  • Nobleman returns - Jesus' Second Coming
  • Two slaves - Believers
  • One slave - Believer or unbeliever (see discussion below)
  • Mina - The Gospel to proclaim
  • Yield of 10/5 minas  - Spiritual fruit related to speaking forth the Gospel
  • Receipt of  cities - Reward at the Bema Seat - literal cities or symbolic of other rewards
  • Mina taken away - Loss of rewards or loss of life (see discussion below)
  • Enemies slain - Unbelieving Israel thrown into the place of eternal punishment.

Stein sets the context - The parable of the ten minas concludes the Lukan travel narrative that began in Lk 9:51-note. It brings together several themes contained in that narrative (the proper use of possessions, the Jewish rejection of Jesus, the return of the Son of Man, the kingship of Jesus, the delay of the parousia) and prepares for the following account of the triumphal entry (cf. the nobleman receiving his kingship in Lk 19:12 with Lk 19:38). In his introduction to the parable, Luke provided his readers with the interpretative key for understanding it (cf. Lk 18:1 and Lk 18:9).

Constable adds that in this parable Jesus "repeated His coming rejection and future return, and He clarified the time when the kingdom would appear. He also explained the duty of His disciples during His absence from the earth. Both the nation of Israel and the disciples had duties to Jesus. This parable summarizes Jesus’ teaching on this subject. The parable also prepared the people for the postponement of the kingdom. (ED: CLEARLY EVEN JESUS DISCIPLES FAILED TO GRASP THIS POINT - cf Acts 1:6 discussed below)"

Tannehill - In Lk 19:11 the disciples are pictured as expecting something that should have been and could have been apart from the rejection of Jesus. But because of this rejection, the messianic kingdom for Israel does not come immediately, as the disciples mistakenly hoped. We see that in Luke-Acts the problem of eschatological delay is intertwined with the problem of Jewish rejection.”

It is fascinating as you study the Gospels that this idea of an earthly kingdom resurfaces again and again in the minds of the Jews, despite the fact that Jesus repeatedly emphasized that His first coming was not to establish a literal earthly kingdom. As discussed in prior notes the meaning of the phrase the Kingdom of God must be established by the context. In some contexts this phrase refers to a present spiritual Kingdom (in which Jesus rules in the hearts of all who believe in Him -cf Lk 17:20-21-note) and a future literal, earthly Kingdom (in which King Jesus rules over the entire world) and finally a future kingdom in the New Heavens and New Earth (cf 1 Cor 15:24-25).

In the present passage, Luke's allusion to the Kingdom of God is clearly referring to the literal, earthly Kingdom which the Jews were hoping Jesus would set up when He arrived at Jerusalem. Imagine for a moment that you were a Jew following Jesus on this last lap of His journey to Jerusalem. Your heart would have been in a continual state of excitement and expectation as you thought "Surely, this is the moment we have been waiting for. All of the evidences of Jesus' power over demon forces. All of His miraculous healings and other demonstrations of His power over the forces of nature. Now all this power would be brought againist the pagan oppressors from Rome whom Jesus would defeat and then establish His Messianic reign as our King, the King of the Jews."

Admittedly, while I am taking some liberty to imagine what the Jews were thinking, there is ample evidence to support the premise that this genre of thinking was widespread among the Jews following Jesus. The teaching that there would be a future literal nation of Israel with Messiah as King is found both in the Bible (cf just a few of Jehovah's many immutable prophetic promises to His chosen nation of Israel [Dt 7:6, the literal nation of Israel and not the Church as is taught in replacement theology], prophecies like Zech 14:4,9-note, Zech 8:23, Dt 30:1-4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9-note, Zeph 3:17-19, 20-note; Click here for numerous additional passages that prophesy the literal restoration of the nation of Israel.) and the extra-Biblical Jewish writings (cf Maimonides below). In fact, this is the very subject Luke says prompted the present parable - the Jews were thinking Jesus was going to establish the Kingdom of God immediately upon His arrival at Jerusalem.

Additional support that the Jews were expecting a King and a Kingdom is the fact that as Jesus began to enter Jerusalem the Jewish crowds were shouting "BLESSED IS THE KING." (Lk 19:38) They were calling Him King because they were sure that now He would set up His Kingdom. The name "King" clearly implies that there is a place over which to rule or a "Kingdom!" 

As alluded to above, numerous Old Testament prophecies described that the Messiah would come and set up His earthly kingdom! What the Jews failed to comprehend and what orthodox Jews to this day still fail to understand, is that there were two comings of the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. They misinterpreted the prophecies that described His death in sections like Isaiah 53:1-12, Psalm 22:1-31 and Psalm 16:10 (see The Jewish Tradition Of Two Messiahs). 

So Jesus now teaches the Jews a parable that relates to His two comings, for He describes a nobleman who went away to procure His Kingdom and would return. This parable clearly relates to Jesus' impending death, burial, resurrection and ascension back to the right hand of His Father to receive His coronation and His Kingship. And so as Jesus describes the nobleman's return to take account of how they handled his money, so too Jesus will (soon - see Imminency) return as King of kings (Rev 19:11-15, 16-note) and all will have to give an account to the King (believers at the Bema - 2 Cor 5:10-note), for at "the Name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Php 2:10-11-note). This begs an urgent question dear reader - Have you bowed your knee to Jesus as your Savior and Lord? "Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION” (2 Cor 6:2)!

He was near Jerusalem - As noted above Jericho was about 17 miles from Jerusalem. And since the Passover would soon be celebrated in Jerusalem and (according to Josephus) there were as many as two million Jewish pilgrims in the city. The nearer Jesus came to Jerusalem, undoubtedly the greater the Messianic expectations of the Jews grew that the Messiah was coming to set up His Kingdom. However failing to understand the Two Comings of the Messiah, the Jewish expectations were in error as George MacDonald expresses in this poem

They were all looking for a King,
To slay their foes and lift them high.
He came a little baby thing,
That made a woman cry.


They supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately - As explained above the Jews believed the Old Testament teachings that said Messiah would set up the Kingdom of God on earth and restore Israel to her former position of prominence among all the nations of the world. The Jews were well aware of the words of Moses in declaring to Israel that "you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth...and He shall set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor." (Dt 7:6, 26:19) One can only imagine their excitement at the thought that Israel's restoration to world prominence was just over the hill ascending into Jerusalem!

Kent Hughes adds " They were excited! Jerusalem was only seventeen miles away, and Passover was at hand. Crowds were thronging from Jericho up to the Holy City. Jesus was “the Son of David.” He could reestablish David’s throne. And he was calling himself “the Son of Man,” the awesome, divine being of Daniel 7. They had seen his supernatural power repeatedly, and now, with the seventeen-mile ascent to the Holy City rising before them, they looked for a mighty outbreak of his redemptive powers to overrun the old age and bring in the new. Their feverish kingdom expectancy was peaking! (Preaching the Word - Luke)

And viewed from another perspective, given their predominant belief of Kingdom restoration, it is fair to say that these first century Jews were about as far away from the teaching of amillennialism as one could get! Of course, they had no knowledge that the length of Messiah's Kingdom would be 1000 years. However recall that Scripture was progressively revealed (the "New" is the "Old" revealed)  and in the last book of the Bible, John clearly states (remember I am a literalist and adhere to the maxim that if the plain sense of a passage makes good sense in context, then seek to make no other sense or it may end up being complete "nonsense!" - see the tragic rise of the allegorical method of interpretation)....

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6-commentary).

Obviously the Jews did not have this John's progressive revelation regarding the length of the earthly phase of the Kingdom of God, but they did believe in a literal, earthly Messianic Kingdom, contrary to what amillennialism teaches. One wonders how amillennialists explain away Jewish beliefs which are so clearly stated in passages like Lk 19:11?

And we see that even after Jesus' resurrection and a "40 Day Seminar" on the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3NASB-note), the eleven apostles had so thoroughly ingrained in their minds the OT teaching of an earthly Kingdom of God that they stubbornly persisted in asking Jesus if now, finally, after His resurrection, He was going to set up His Kingdom. Luke recording...

Acts 1:6-see commentary on the Kingdom So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Note that it is significant that Jesus did not rebuke or refute them for believing in a literal earthly Kingdom. Their problem was their timing was off!)

The Jewish apostle Peter also alludes to the restoration of the Kingdom of God in his great sermon in Acts 3 declaring...

Therefore repent (aorist imperative - Command to "Do this now! It is urgent!") and return (aorist imperative), so that (purpose clause = "Why?") your sins may be wiped away, in order that (purpose clause = "Why?") times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus (NOTE CLEAR REFERENCE TO MESSIAH'S SECOND COMING), the Christ (THE MESSIAH) appointed for you (WHO IS "YOU?" TO WHOM IS PETER SPEAKING? JEWS!), 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets (THEY REPEATEDLY HAD SPOKEN OF THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL) from ancient time.(Acts 3:19-21-note)

NET Note - What that restoration involves is already recorded in the Scriptures (A NT TERM ALWAYS REFERRING TO THE OLD TESTAMENT) of the nation of Israel.

Thayer says restoration means "the restoration not only of the true theocracy (Ed: Messiah reigning as King of kings) but also of that more perfect state of (even physical) things which existed before the fall." (SEE SUMMARY OF THE TOPOGRAPHICAL CHANGES OF THE EARTH WHEN MESSIAH REIGNS AS KING! SEE ISAIAH'S PROPHECY THAT THE DESERTS OF PALESTINE WILL COME ALIVE! Isaiah 35:1-commentary)

David Guzik comments that here "Peter referred to the time when Jesus will return and rule the earth in righteousness. Peter went so far as to say, “that He may send Jesus Christ,” thus implying that if the Jewish people as a whole repented, God the Father would send Jesus to return in glory. Peter made it clear that Jesus will remain in heaven until the times of restoration of all things, and since the repentance of Israel is one of the all things, there is some sense in which the return of Jesus in glory will not happen until Israel repents.ii. Peter essentially offered Israel the opportunity to hasten the return of Jesus by embracing Him on a national level, something that must happen before Jesus will return (as in Matthew 23:37-39 and Romans 11:25-27-note). (Acts 1 Commentary)

MacArthur Some may have wondered why, if Jesus were the Messiah, He did not remain and set up His kingdom. In reply, Peter reiterates the truth that in God's sovereign timetable the millennial kingdom follows the nation's repentance. Until that time, Jesus will remain in heaven. The period of restoration of all things is another name for the future earthly reign of Christ, the millennial kingdom. It is reminiscent of our Lord's description of the kingdom as the "regeneration" (Matt. 19:28). It is then that the apostles' question in Acts 1:6 will be answered (cf. Mark 9:12). The kingdom will be marked by peace, joy, holiness, the revelation of God's glory, comfort, justice, knowledge of the Lord, health, prosperity, and freedom from oppression. The universe will be dramatically altered in its physical form (Joel 2:30, 31; 3:14-16; Rev. 16:1-21) as the curse on man and his world is reversed. The truths Peter proclaimed were not new; God had spoken of them by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. The Old Testament prophets spoke repeatedly of Messiah's earthly kingdom. Joel 2:25 even refers to it as a time of restoration. That God spoke through the prophets proves their teachings were not human speculation but divine revelation (cf. 2 Peter 1:21). No clearer biblical statement of the inspiration of Old Testament Scripture can be found. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts 1-12)

Anderson It was not that the nation would never see their Messiah again. God would send the Redeemer to Zion, but meanwhile the heavens must receive Him; the Forerunner has entered in (Heb 6:20), now seated "on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (8:1). To state clearly the time when they would see the Lord Jesus again, Peter points forward to "the times of restitution of all things". It is not normal to express the truth of the coming of the Messiah in this way. Previously Peter, like the writer to the Hebrews, had stated that He would be there in the heavens until His enemies would be made His footstool, but there he treats the subject more positively. The phrase "until the times of restitution of all things" is a description of the future reign of Christ. It implies the principle of restitution or restoration to which Moses' law paid such attention in Exod 22. It is then that the kingdom will be restored to Israel in fulfillment of the answer to the apostles' question in Acts 1:6. It is then that the related question of Elias coming and restoring all things will be fulfilled (Mark 9:12). When God's King reigns, everything that is out of place in the world will be restored to its proper place. Israel and all the nations will be back where they belong. Every principle of good and evil will be where it belongs, namely, truth on the throne and wrong on the scaffold. Peter adds that God had been speaking about this golden age by all the holy prophets since the world began, although he realised that there had also been false prophets among the people (2 Pet 2:1; Jer 5:31). (What the Bible teaches - Acts and James)

Moody Bible Commentary - Cognate verbs of the noun restoration (apokatastasis = restitution of a thing to its former condition) are used in the LXX for the eschatological restoration of Israel as a national entity (Jer 15:19; 16:15; Ezek 16:55; Hos 11:11) (Longenecker, “Acts”, 297). Though Christ had taught his followers more about the kingdom of God in the 40 days between His resurrection and ascension, Peter and the apostles still anticipated a literal, geo-political messianic kingdom that would be inaugurated with the visible return of Christ to earth. Peter’s expectation favored a literal kingdom for regenerated Israel with Messiah Jesus ruling on the throne of David over them and the world. According to Peter, this offer was for Israel and will be fulfilled whenever the nation turns in faith to Jesus as their Messiah and Lord (cf. comments at Zech 12:10-note; Mt 23:37–39; Ro 11:25–27-note).

John MacArthur - Jesus will not return to reign until Israel’s rejection ends. After indicting the people of Israel for rejecting their Messiah (Acts 3:12-15), Peter exhorted them in Acts 3:19-21. It is only after they repent and return to God and have their sins forgiven that the kingdom (the “times of refreshing” and the “period of restoration of all things” [Acts 3:19-21]) will come, just as “God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” in the Old Testament prophecies of the kingdom. God had promised Abraham that He would bless Israel and through them the world (Ge 12:1-3). 

Related Resources:

Earlier Jesus was "questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Lk 17:20-21-note

So the Pharisees also thought that the Kingdom of God was going to appear when the Messiah appeared. The Pharisees thought that the Messiah would triumph over the oppressors of Israel (Rome) and set up His earthly kingdom. But Jesus immediately corrected their impressions with the statement that "the Kingdom of God is in your midst." Jesus was saying that this phase of His Kingdom was spiritual, in the hearts of those who received Him as Messiah and Savior. And that is why He stated to them that the Kingdom of God would not be coming with signs to be observed, but it would come quietly and invisibly in the hearts of those who received Him. And notice once again that when the Pharisees asked their question in Luke 17:20, Jesus did not say that the OT promises of an earthly Kingdom were nullified. He was simply saying that the visible, earthly phase of the Kingdom of God would not be occurring at this time. And this is  the same issue Jesus addresses in Luke 19:11ff in this Parable. The crowd and the disciples thought the visible earthly Kingdom of God was going to appear immediately because Jesus was nearing Jerusalem, where He would be hailed as their King (Lk 19:38). Clearly the Jewish crowds surrounding the road on His "Triumphal Entry" thought that He was coming into the city to establish His reign in His Kingdom.  

To reiterate, the Jews understood from the OT prophecies that God would restore the nation of Israel in a literal earthly kingdom. In short, while they did not understand all of the implications, these first century "theologians" clearly believed in what we literalists (as stated I am a literalist not a dispensationalist!) today would call the Millennium. Passages such as this from the mouths of first century witnesses "demolish" the speculations of 21st century theologians who teach that there will be no earthly Kingdom of God and no  restoration of the nation of Israel. 

Notice that here in Luke 19:11 just as in Acts 1, Jesus (Who obviously could read their hearts and minds and knew they were thinking of a literal kingdom) does not say "You are mistaken in your supposition. You are being too literal in your interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies regarding a Kingdom. God is not going to bring in a literal Kingdom." Is that what Jesus said? Of course not, because Jesus is the ultimate "Literalist" for when He states something literally, He literally means it!  And so the Jewish audience were off on their timing in Luke 19:11, failing to understand that Jesus had to die on the Cross (failing to fully understand His purpose clearly stated in Lk 19:10) before He could be crowned King of kings (Rev 19:16) in the coming Kingdom of God. And they did not understand that before the literal earthly Kingdom, there would be a "Spiritual Kingdom." 

Here is a quote to help you understand the ancient Jewish mindset regarding the coming Kingdom of God. Notice that this quote is not taken from a dispensationalist but from an Jewish teacher named Maimonides. As you will see below,  belief in the coming Messiah was deeply rooted in historic Judaism (cf The Jewish Tradition Of Two Messiahs). Maimonides (aka Moses ben Maimon = Maimonides = Rambam) who lived between 1135–1204 AD and was one of the most widely read and highly respected Jewish sages wrote the following.... 

"In the future, the Messianic king will arise and renew the Davidic dynasty, restoring it to its initial sovereignty (MY COMMENT: cf Zechariah 14:4, 9-11-note). He will build the Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel. (ED: Beloved, does this sound like the New Heaven and New Earth? See Rev 21:22-note) Then, in his days, the observance of all the statutes will return to their previous state (MY COMMENT: cf Zechariah 14:16-17-note Again does this sound like Maimonides is describing a New Heaven and New Earth? If not then when could this possibly occur?). We will offer sacrifices, observe the Sabbatical and Jubilee years according to all their particulars as described by the Torah. (MY COMMENT: Will there be sacrifices in the New Heaven and New Earth? Scripture does not describe any.) Anyone who does not believe in Him or does not await His coming, denies not only the statements of the other prophets, but those of the Torah and Moses, our teacher. The Torah testified to His coming, as Deuteronomy 30:3-5 states "God will bring back your captivity and have mercy upon you. He will again gather you from among the nations... Even if your Diaspora is at the ends of the heavens, God will gather you up from there... and bring you to the land...." (MY COMMENTSee my commentary on Dt 30:3-5. It is especially noteworthy that Maimonides left out Deut 30:6-see commentary in his quote from Deuteronomy 30! See also the related discussion on Circumcision of the Heart) These explicit words of the Torah include all the statements made by all the prophets....If a king will arise from the House of David (MY COMMENT: cf the opening words of Matthew's Gospel [Matthew 1:1] which was directed to a Jewish audience) who diligently contemplates the Torah and observes its mitzvot as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law as David, his ancestor, will compel all of Israel to walk in (the way of the Torah) (MY COMMENT: Maimonides misses the truth that no man can walk in the mitzvot in his own power. Maimonides seems to have missed the critical teaching of the New Covenant in Ezekiel 36:26-27-note especially the wonderful promise from Yahweh -- "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes [God's provision of power], and you will be careful to observe My ordinances [Man's responsibility].') and rectify the breaches in its observance, and fight the wars of God, we may, with assurance, consider him Mashiach ( = MESSIAH). If he succeeds in the above, builds the Temple in its place, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely the Mashiach....If he did not succeed to this degree or was killed, he surely is not the redeemer promised by the Torah. Rather, he should be considered as all the other proper and complete kings of the Davidic dynasty who died...Jesus of Nazareth who aspired to be the Mashiach...was executed by the court." (MY COMMENT: AND SO ACCORDING TO RAMBAN HE WAS NOT THE MESSIAH!) (Melachim uMilchamot - Chapter 11 - you might want to read this page to see some of the other Jewish beliefs regarding their Messiah)

NET Note on Kingdom of God - Luke means here the appearance of the full kingdom of God in power with the Son of Man as judge as Luke 17:22–37 describes.

Spurgeon - If they had not been so full of their idle dreams of a temporal sovereignty, they would have perceived that, in the calling of Zacchaeus, Christ had manifested his Kingship in the realm of mercy, and had there exercised the sovereignty of his grace. In order that they might be able the better to understand the meaning of his spiritual kingdom, our Lord pointed out to them, in the parable of the pounds, the practical way of preparing for his second coming.


Without a doubt the most extensive work ever written on the Kingdom of God is George N. H. Peters (a Lutheran pastor) three volume work published in 1884 and entitled "The Theocratic Kingdom." What is fascinating about his life work, which is some 2189 pages in length, is that (1) he was not a dispensationalist, (2) he approached the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures from a literal perspective and (3) he believed that the Scriptures clearly taught that God was not finished with Israel and that there would be an earthly Kingdom of God over which Jesus Christ would reign as King. Let me make a sincere suggestion -- Before you "buy in" to the all to common "dogma" that God is finished with Israel and that there will be no earthly Messianic Kingdom of God, you would be well advised to read Peter's book (reading of course like a Berean in Acts 17:11-note) and arrive at your conclusion, instead of a "regurgitated" conclusion of other men. Tragically, too many of in the reformed movement simply "parrot" the writings of the supposed "experts" on the Kingdom of God (although I dare say, none of these "experts" have even come close to penning over 2000 pages of Scriptural evidence to support their speculative thesis that God is finished with Israel!). In my experience one of the major arguments often given to justify jettisoning teaching on prophecy is that it is too divisive and there are too many interpretations, so how can anyone know who is correct? There is some truth in both of these commonly advanced arguments, but sadly they only serve as a smoke screen to "justify" not studying prophecy with a Berean mindset. I have been studying the Bible for over 32 years and have studied and taught prophecy over much of that time. This is not meant to boast, but to say I agree with the rationale that prophecy is difficult and requires hours and even years of honest, diligent study to unravel. As I have stated many times I am not a dispensationalist and barely have a sense of what that word means (I have purposely avoided reading lengthy explanations lest I be biased). My approach is to read the Scriptures in the normal sense, seeking the literal meaning, even when I encounter figurative language. Having done that for over 30 years, I believe that God is not finished with Israel and that Jesus will return and rule the world from Jerusalem. There are too many literal passages that one has to interpret allegorically or "spiritually" to avoid coming to this conclusion. 

Peter's pattern is to make a "Proposition" and then to substantiate that proposition with a varying number of observations. 

Proposition 56 "The Kingdom was not established during the ministry of Christ." (ED: NOTE PETERS IS NOT ADDRESSING THE INTERNAL "SPIRITUAL ASPECT" OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, BUT THE LITERAL ASPECT OF THE EXTERNAL, EARTHLY KINGDOM) - This necessarily follows from the preceding; for no such a covenanted Kingdom as promised, no such a restored Davidic throne and Kingdom as predicted appeared. He (Luke 19:11–27) had to leave before he would receive (Prop. 83 - This Kingdom is given to the Son of Man by God, the Father.) the Kingdom. 

Observation 1 - The men (ED: PETERS IS REFERRING TO THE FIRST CENTURY JEWISH WITNESSES) who were the preachers of this very Kingdom, and who, above all others (especially modern theologians), ought to have known whether it was instituted or not, had no knowledge whatever of its being thus erected. These persons, preachers, and singled out to be witnesses to the truth, are more reliable, vastly more, in their belief and testimony, than theologians with their spiritualistic and philosophical conceits concerning the Kingdom and its “husk” envelope. Is it conceivable, can it be credited, that such special chosen ones, upon whose testimony the faith of others was to be founded, should, after their own preaching, after all their private and public instruction for several years, and after the particular “forty days” (Acts 1:3-note), “speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God,” be ignorant of the fact (if it be as alleged) that a promised Kingdom was (as eminent theologians now gravely inform us) actually in existence? No! such a supposition is damaging, fatally so, to preachers and Teacher, and cannot possibly be entertained. (To read the rest of "Observation 1" and all 13 observations, the interested reader is referred to the online version of this book -see  Proposition 56)

See also Proposition 58. Jesus, toward the close of His ministry, preached that the Kingdom was not nigh. - (Note I am skipping Peter's first 3 Observations)

Observation 4. Luke 19:11–27 forcibly demonstrates our Proposition. Jesus uttered this parable “because they thought that the Kingdom of God should immediately appear.” In His reply there is no intimation (as is unjustly inferred, comp. Prop. 110) that the Jews were mistaken in their idea of the Kingdom, and that, if modern notions are correct, the Kingdom had already come and was established. If this had been so, then the answer of Jesus would be cruelly irrelevant; but with the proper conception of the Kingdom it is finely consistent and forcibly expressed. For there is (as there could not be) no declaration that they were wrong in believing that the Kingdom which they expected, the Messianic, was still in the future. They were only mistaken in the opinion, carefully announced, “that the Kingdom of God should immediately appear.” Now the parable is given to correct this belief in the immediate setting up of the Kingdom, to indicate that it would not soon appear, but only after an undefined period of time had elapsed. For He represents Himself as a nobleman, who, having a right to the Kingdom, goes “into a far country to receive” (to have His title confirmed) “for Himself a Kingdom, and to return.” During His absence His servants “occupy till I come.” Then after an interval of time, not definitely stated, the period having come to enter upon His reign, having received the Kingdom, He returns, judgment follows, and those who rejected Him (saying, “we will not have this man to reign over us”) are destroyed. Here we have: (1) the Jews thought that the Kingdom would now appear; (2) but it was not nigh, for (a) He would leave, (b) they had refused His proffered reign, (c) those, however, who were devoted to Him should “occupy” until He returned, (d) during His absence there was no Kingdom, being gone to receive the power to reign; (3) He would return and then manifest His acquired power (Prop. 83) in the establishment of His Kingdom. Thus we have the absence, and then “the appearing and Kingdom” of Christ.

This parable first seriously directed the attention of Greswell (Work on Parables, vol. 4, p. 419-514) to the Millenary dispensation, and confirmed his faith in the Primitive Church view of the Kingdom to be set up at Christ’s return. He justly remarked that it was impossible to explain it “satisfactorily and consistently upon any other principle than that of a reference to the Millenary dispensation,” etc. This is corroborated by the contradictory statements of commentators and others, who spiritualize this Kingdom, and have it existing either under Christ’s ministry or at His ascension. Thus e.g. Barnes, loci, after having repeatedly told us that the Kingdom had already come, that multitudes pressed into it, etc., flatly contradicts his former bold inferences by saying that “the reign of the Messiah should immediately commence, He spake the parable to correct that expectation.” But how reconcile it with his own. statements? Thus: “By the nobleman is undoubtedly represented the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ; by His going into a far country is denoted His going to heaven, to the right hand of the Father, before Be should fully set up the Kingdom and establish His reign among men.” Lisco (On the Parables, p. 398) correctly observes “that this Kingdom should be immediately, without any further delay, set up, against which the intimation in the parable is directed, that it should necessarily be a long time before the return of the nobleman,” but vitiates the force of it by putting into the parable what it does not, even by implication, teach, viz: “He (Jesus) will give full manifestation of it (the Kingdom) from heaven.” Numerous illustrations of this character could be given, but these will suffice to show how men, under a false theory of the Kingdom, labor to reconcile this parable with a spiritualistic conception by introducing that which, on its face and intent, it utterly repudiates. Attention might be called to other passages, especially Luke 17:20–37-note (see Proposition 110 - The passage most relied on to prove the Church-Kingdom theory utterly disproves it.), but as these will be brought up in connection with other Propositions, this proof must, for the present, content us. For, taking these together, and observing their uniform testimony, they already suffice to establish our Proposition.

John MacArthur has a discussion of "kingdom of heaven" writing that...

Although the precise phrase is not found there, the kingdom of heaven is basically an Old Testament concept. David declares that “the Lord is King forever and ever” (Ps. 10:16; cf. Ps 29:10), that His kingdom is everlasting, and that His dominion “endures throughout all generations” (Ps. 145:13). Daniel speaks of “the God of heaven [Who] will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed” (Dan 2.:44-note; cf. Ezek 37:25-note), a “kingdom [that] is an everlasting kingdom” (Da 4:3 -note). The God of heaven is the King of heaven, and the heavenly kingdom is God’s kingdom. Matthew uses the phrase kingdom of heaven thirty-two times, and is the only gospel writer who uses it at all. The other three use “the kingdom of God.” It is probable that Matthew used kingdom of heaven because it was more understandable to his primarily Jewish readers. Jews would not speak God’s name (Yahweh, or Jehovah), and would often substitute heaven when referring to Him-much as we do in such expressions as “heaven smiled on me today.” There is no significant difference between “the kingdom of God” and the kingdom of heaven. The one phrase emphasizes the sovereign Ruler of the kingdom and the other emphasizes the kingdom itself, but they are the same kingdom. Matthew 19:23-24 confirms the equality of the phrases by using them in interchangeably.

The kingdom has two aspects, the outer and the inner, both of which are spoken of in the gospels. Those aspects are evident as one moves through Matthew.

In the broadest sense, the kingdom includes everyone who professes to acknowledge God.

Jesus’ parable of the sower represents the kingdom as including both genuine and superficial believers (Matt. 13:3-23), and in His following parable (Matt 13:24-30) as including both wheat (true believers) and tares (false believers). That is the outer kingdom, the one we can see but cannot accurately evaluate ourselves, because we cannot know people’s hearts. The other kingdom is the inner, the kingdom that includes only true believers, only those who, as John the Baptist proclaimed, repent and are converted. God rules over both aspects of the kingdom, and He will one day finally separate the superficial from the real. Meanwhile He allows the pretenders to identify themselves outwardly with His kingdom.

God’s kingly rule over the hearts of men and over the world may be thought of as having a number of phases.

The first is the PROPHESIED kingdom, such as that foretold by Daniel (Da 2:44-note).

The second phase is the PRESENT kingdom, the one that existed at the time of John the Baptist and that he mentions. It is the kingdom that both John and Jesus spoke of as being at hand (cf. Mt 4:17).

The third phase may be referred to as the INTERIM kingdom, the kingdom that resulted because of Israel’s rejection of her King. The King returned to heaven and His kingdom on earth now exists only in a mystery form. Christ is Lord of the earth in the sense of His being its Creator and its ultimate Ruler; but He does not presently exercise His full divine will over the earth. He is, so to speak, in a voluntary exile in heaven until it is time for Him to return again. He reigns only in the hearts of those who know Him as Savior and Lord. For those “the kingdom of God is … righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Ro 14:17). (ED: ELSEWHERE MACARTHUR REFERS TO THIS AS THE "SPIRITUAL" KINGDOM OF GOD.)

The fourth phase can be described as the MANIFEST kingdom, in which Christ will rule, physically, directly, and fully on earth for a thousand years, the Millennium (see notes on this website re: Millennium 1, Millennium 2, Millennium 3). In that kingdom He will rule both externally and internally-externally over all mankind, and internally in the hearts of those who belong to Him by faith.

The fifth, and final, phase is the “ETERNAL kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” which “will be abundantly supplied” to all of His own (see notes 2 Peter 1:11).

(MacArthur, J. 1989. Matthew. Chicago: Moody Press) (Bolding added) 


The topic Kingdom of God (synonymous term = Kingdom of Heaven) can be confusing as the interpretation depends on the context in which it is used - It can mean a spiritual Kingdom, a Millennial Kingdom or a Kingdom in the New Heaven and New Earth (See table below). Many who espouse the teaching of replacement theology or supersessionism do not accept a literal earthly Kingdom of God. I am firmly convinced (from Scripture) that there will be a literal earthly Kingdom of God ruled by the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ. For that reason I have several detailed discussions on the Kingdom of God in the commentaries on the following verses (there is some repetition and overlap)...


In Hearts of
Present Age
(Between 1st & 2nd Comings)
On earth
Messianic Age
(After 2nd Coming)
New Earth
Eternal Age
(After Christ gives Kingdom to Father)
  1. Internal, Invisible - in hearts of believers only - in this present age (between Christ's First and Second Comings)
  2. External, Visible - literal earthly Kingdom - will include both believers ("internal" aspect of Kingdom) and unbelievers - in the next age (After Christ's Second Coming)
  3. External, Visible - literal heavenly Kingdom - only believers ("internal" aspect of Kingdom) - following age #2 (After Christ gives the Kingdom to His Father)

Jesus went on to tell - This is a Hebrew idiom seen also in Luke 20:1 he added to send (prosetheto pempsai) Acts 12:3 "he added to seize" (prosetheto sullabein). This undoubted Hebraism occurs in the N.T. in Luke only, probably due to the influence of the LXX on Luke the Greek Christian.

To appear (398)(anaphaino from ana = again + phaino = appear) means to be made manifest, cause to appear, bring to the light. Used only here and in the active voice was a nautical technical term meaning to come in sight of (land) as in Acts 21:3 "we came in sight of." Anaphaino is used 5x in the Septuagint - Job 11:18; Job 13:18; Job 24:18; Job 40:8; Song 6:5. 

GilbrantAmong classical writers this verb could mean any number of things. Basically it means “to illuminate, show forth, display, bring to light.” It thus referred to someone’s or something’s “appearing.” It could at times be used of sounds, in which case it meant “to proclaim, announce.”...Job was convinced that his righteousness “would be made apparent” (Job 13:18; cf. Job 40:8). A more literal sense of “to come into view” should be understood in the Song of Songs 6:5. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Immediately (3916)(parachrema from para = at + chrema = a thing one uses, something useful) means at the very moment, on the spot, forthwith, directly after something else has taken place, instantly or immediately. Of a fig tree withering (Mt 21:19,20). Of Zacharias' mouth opened immediately after writing his son's name on the tablet (Lk 1:63, 64). Of Peter's mother-in-law when healed (Lk 4:39). Of the paralytic Jesus healed (Lk 5:25). Of the woman's blood flow ceasing immediately (Lk 8:44, and how she was healed - Lk 8:47). Of synagogue official dead daughter who arose at Jesus' command (Lk 8:55). Of the woman who was immediately made erect at the touch of Jesus (Lk 13:13). Of blind beggar Bartimaeus who "immediately regained his sight" (Lk 18:43). Of the cock crowing immediately after Peter's third denial of Jesus (Lk 22:60). Of Peter healing the paralytic (Acts 3:7). Of Sapphira dying immediately after lying to Peter (Acts 5:10). Of Saul (Paul) immediately receiving back his sight (Acts 9:18). Of the angel striking Herod for not giving God the glory (Acts 12:23). Of Elymas the magician blinded by Paul for a time (Acts 13:11). Of prison doors of Paul and Silas opening immediately after the earthquake (Acts 16:26). Of the jailer and his family being immediately baptized after believing (DO WE SEE A "MESSAGE" HERE FOR ALL WHO ARE PUTTING OFF BAPTISM?)(Acts 16:33)

Parachrema - 17x in 17v = immediately(14), once(3). Used most often by Luke.

Matt. 21:19; Matt. 21:20; Lk. 1:64; Lk. 4:39; Lk 5:25, Lk. 8:44; Lk. 8:47; Lk. 8:55; Lk. 13:13; Lk. 18:43; Lk. 19:11; Lk. 22:60; Acts 3:7; Acts 5:10; Acts 12:23; Acts 13:11; Acts 16:26; Acts 16:33

Luke 19:12  So He said, "A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return.


Hughes summarizes Jesus' parable - Jesus’ parable countered their expectations with an allegory of his own life that spoke of his incarnation, his investment in his followers, his rejection by his enemies, his crowning as King (through his death, resurrection and ascension), and finally his return to judge the world....Of course, his hearers  (ED: INCLUDING THE DISCIPLES) could not possibly understand it all then. But in retrospect they would see that the parable was about his kingship and what his being King meant to his followers and to the world. (Ibid)

A nobleman went to a distant country  - The Nobleman represents Jesus who used this parable to warn His disciples that He would depart and then return. The distant country is of course heaven, at the right hand of His Father. During the time He was gone He told them how they were to conduct business.

Noble (2104)(eugenes from eu = well + genos = family, race) means literally of high or noble birth, but in this context is used figuratively to describe men and women possessing that type of attitude ordinarily associated with well-bred persons. This is a significant term, since to be a member of the aristocracy was highly prized 

John MacArthur on receive a kingdom - represents Christ’s ascension and exaltation to the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:33, 36; Phil. 2:9-11) and, after a delay, His return to reign (Mark 13:33-37; Luke 21:25-36; Rev. 19:11-21). (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 18-24)

To receive a kingdom for himself - God the Father gives His Son the nations of the earth as His own Kingdom and Zechariah 14:9-note adds that "the LORD will be king over all the earth (NOTE: NOT THE NEW EARTH BUT A RENOVATED EARTH IN THE MILLENNIUM - SEE HERE); in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one."

Psalm 2 speaks of Jesus' receiving a kingdom from the Father...

“But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”  7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.  8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.  9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”  

In the Revelation after the Second Woe is passed we see this glorious announcement

And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." (Rev 11:14-note)

And then return - This refers the Second Coming of Christ. It has been almost 2000 years since Jesus went to a distant country. While it is one day sooner to His return, we do not know the day nor the hour of His return, for "of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." (Mt 24:36) But we do know Jesus will return and approximately 1 of every 20-25  NT passages refers directly or indirectly to the Second Coming. What we are looking for will determine Who we are living for! See Vertical Vision. Furthermore, the return of our "Noble God-Man" Christ Jesus is imminent

KistemakerWhat Jesus was really telling his audience, in symbolical phraseology, was probably this, that he himself, at the conclusion of his suffering, would ascend to the Father in heaven; that the Father, as a reward upon the Son's accomplished mediatorial work, would cause him to sit at his right hand, thereby bestowing on him rulership over the entire universe in the interest of his church (Eph. 1:20-23); and that from heaven he would return to earth after a long (but indefinite) time, symbolized by "the far country" to which the nobleman of the parable was wending his way. The idea that the Son of man will not return at once is stressed also in certain other passages, two of the clearest being Matt. 25:5 ("While the bridegroom tarried," A.V.), and Matt. 25:19 ("A long while afterward the master... came"). See also Matt. 24:14; II Thess. 2:2, 3; II Peter 3:4-9; Rev. 20:1-3, 7-11. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

Return (5290)(hupostrepho from hupo = under + strepho = to turn, to change) means to turn back from or to return (go back to a location). How interesting that this verb describing the return of the Holy One of Israel is the same verb used by Peter to describe the unholy men who turn away from the holy commandment (2 Peter 2:21). 

Luke's uses of hupostrepho - This is a favorite verb for Luke.

Lk. 1:56; Lk. 2:20; Lk. 2:43; Lk. 2:45; Lk. 4:1; Lk. 4:14; Lk. 7:10; Lk. 8:37; Lk. 8:39; Lk. 8:40; Lk. 9:10; Lk. 10:17; Lk. 11:24; Lk. 17:15; Lk. 17:18; Lk. 19:12; Lk. 23:48; Lk. 23:56; Lk. 24:9; Lk. 24:33; Lk. 24:52; Acts 1:12; Acts 8:25; Acts 8:28; Acts 12:25; Acts 13:13; Acts 13:34; Acts 14:21; Acts 20:3; Acts 21:6; Acts 22:17; Acts 23:32; 

Luke 19:13  "And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, 'Do business with this until I come back.'


And he called ten of his slaves - The word for slaves is doulos, a bondservant who serves in obedience to the Master's will, not out of slavish fear, but out of love for the Master and a heart desire to please Him. 

Stein - In this account Luke dealt with the issue of the “delay” of the parousia. The parable is clearly a parable of stewardship, but Luke sought to point out to his readers that stewardship necessitates that there be an interval between the time of the historical Jesus and the consummation. Stewardship has no meaning if the “king” is not absent for a time.  (NAC)

And gave them ten minas - 10 slaves, 10 minas which amounts to one mina per slave which is about 3 months wages. Thus all received the same amount.

Most writers consider this parable as distinct from the "Parable of the Talents" (Mt 25:14-30), even though there are some similarities between the two parables - compare Luke 19:13 with Mt 25:14; Luke 19:16 with Mt 25:20; Luke 19:17 with Mt 25:21; Luke 19:21 with Mt 25:24; Luke 19:22 with Mt 25:26; Luke 19:23 with Mt 25:27; Luke 19:24 with Matt 25:28; Luke 19:26 with Mt 25:29) 

Darrell L. Bock summarizes the differences between the Parable of the Talents and the Parable of the Minas (also known as the "Parable of the Pounds")

  1. The settings are different: Luke has the parable in Jericho, while Matthew has it in Jerusalem.
  2. The audiences differ: Luke has the remarks in front of a crowd, while Matthew has it only with disciples.
  3. Luke has a number of unique details, including an additional remark in the setting that notes the delay of consummation and a note about the citizens and emissary sent to protest the king’s selection.
  4. Matthew has a businessman, while Luke has a king.
  5. Matthew has three slaves, Luke ten.
  6. Matthew gives the servants property and talents (five, two, and one respectively), while Luke gives each servant one mina.
  7. The difference in value between a talent and a mina yields a large sum in Matthew and a (relatively) small sum in Luke.
  8. The rewards in Matthew are the same for each servant, while in Luke they are different. (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)

Slaves (1401)(doulos from deo = to bind) (Click additional notes on doulos) was an individual bound to another in servitude and conveys the idea of the slave's close, binding ties with his master, belonging to him, obligated to and desiring to do his will and in a permanent relation of servitude. In sum, the will of the doulos is consumed in the will of the master. In this context doulos  does not refer to a slave like one who was beaten refers to a  trustworthy employee given high responsibility.

The question naturally arises "What do the minas represent?" Since they are distributed equally to all the slaves this speaks of something of equal value. The majority of writers interpret the mina as representative of the Gospel which every believer has been given the privilege to proclaim.

As Kent Hughes says "Each believer receives the same investment capital for his Christian life. “Joe Christian” receives the same as St. Paul and John Calvin and Billy Graham. We all have the good news of Jesus Christ and its marvelous effect in our lives. And we all have the same command, to “Put this money to work until I come back.” We must invest the investment Christ has made in us! We are to multiply our spiritual capital—invest the gospel—increase the yield of the good news of salvation through Christ! This is not a matter of gifts but of investment." (Ibid)

Kistemaker on significance of the mina (pound) - Those who have heard the Gospel must proclaim it! They must conduct themselves in such a manner that through their word and example sinners are brought to the Lord, believers are strengthened in the faith, they themselves grow in every Christian virtue, and every sphere (social, economic, political, educational, etc.) is brought under the influence of the gospel, all this to the glory of God.That is the one important task for each and every one. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

Steven Cole Again, we must distinguish this parable from the parable of the talents, which teaches a different lesson. That parable shows that different servants have been given different abilities, and that the danger is for the person with relatively smaller ability to do nothing. This parable shows that every servant has been given the same gift and that the difference in results is not due to differing gifts, but to differing levels of diligence in using the gift.The fact that each of ten servants received a mina shows that it was not just the twelve apostles who were in view, but rather, God’s servants in general. Thus the parable is not directed just to those in leadership, but to all of Christ’s subjects. The fact that each was given the same amount shows that it is not referring to differing gifts, but to something that all followers of Christ share in common, namely, the Word of God and in particular, the central message of that Word, the gospel. We all have been given the same gospel and we are told to do business with it for our King during His absence. If you do not possess the gospel as your own, you are not a Christian, no matter how often you attend church. A Christian has heard the good news that Jesus Christ is the Savior of sinners and has personally believed that good news as his own. In other words, a true Christian does not just believe in a general sense that Jesus is the Savior. He believes it in a personal sense, that Jesus is my Savior. He died for my sins. When I stand before God and He asks, “Why should I let you into heaven?” my only plea will be, “Because I have trusted in Your Son Jesus who shed His blood in my place on the cross.” If you have personally believed that message, then the Gospel has been entrusted to you. And it has not been entrusted to you just for you to treasure for yourself.

Paul spoke of the Gospel with which he had been entrusted...Phil 3

but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. (1 Th 2:4-note)

according to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (1 Ti 1:11)

We see a similar charge from Paul to Timothy regarding the Gospel which had been entrusted to him...

O Timothy, Guard, (phulasso - like a military guard - aorist imperative - command conveys sense of urgency)  what has been entrusted (paratheke = as something that has been entrusted to another for faithful keeping) to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge” (1 Ti 6:20)

Retain (present active imperative) the standard of sound words which you have heard from me (THE GOSPEL), in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, (phulasso - like a military guard - aorist imperative - command conveys sense of urgency) through the Holy Spirit (THE KEY TO GUARDING IS DEPENDING NOT ON OUR NATURAL POWER BUT THE SUPERNATURAL POWER PROVIDED BY THE SPIRIT) Who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted (paratheke) to you (THE GOSPEL).  (2 Ti 1:13-14-note)

You therefore, my son, be strong (present active imperative) in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses (THE GOSPEL), entrust (aorist imperative - command conveys sense of urgency) these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (NOTE 4 GROUPS IN THE CHAIN OF MAKING DISCIPLES - PAUL TO TIMOTHY TO FAITHFUL MEN TO OTHERS).(2 Ti 2:1-2-note)

You are writing a Gospel,
A chapter each day,
By the deeds that you do
And the words that you say.

Men read what you write,
Whether faithful or true:
Just what is the Gospel
According to you?
- Author unknown

What is fascinating about the idea that the mina represents the Gospel, as we see below, is that the return on the Gospel "mina" is disproportionately high (10 cities, 5 cities). The principle this suggests is that the return on the Gospel "mina" is not related to our cleverness of presentation, but on the completeness of the power of the Gospel to accomplish God's purpose in another person's life. This is great news because it takes the "pressure" off of us feeling like we have to "perform" or make a perfect presentation. We can rest in the sure truth that the Gospel provides the power for disproportionate productivity! So what is our responsibility? Simply to give out this one Gospel "mina" to any and all those who God graciously brings into our path or sphere of influence and to leave the rest to His Spirit! It reminds me of an old advertising slogan used by the Greyhound Bus Company which said "Take the bus and leave the driving to us." Speak the Gospel and leave the results to God!  And remember that faithful stewardship involves taking some calculated risks.

Mina (3414)(mna, mnah) is a feminine noun from the Latin word mina representing a Greek weight containing one hundred drachmas. It was a Greek coin of silver equal to a quarter of the Jewish shekel, and to the Roman denarius or dinar which was the average pay for a twelve–hour work day (Luke 15:8, 9 [cf. Mt. 20:2]). A mina is equal to about 100 days' wages (others say "three months" wages). Many  translators (A.V., A.R.V., R.S.V., N.E.B., Weymouth, Jerusalem Bible, A. T. Robertson) call this mina a pound and giving us the name the "Parable of the Pounds."

See Mina in Wikipedia.

Mina in Classic Greek - The mina is a Greek monetary unit of fluctuating value often influenced by the rate of exchange a money changer would accept. As a sum of money it was generally accepted to equal 100 drachmas of Greek currency and approximately 50 shekels in Hebrew weight. At the time of Christ the Greek drachma was about the same value as the Roman denarius. 

Mna is larger than the Roman libra or pound in the proportion of four to three and is equivalent to about twelve ounces. In the NT, mná represented a silver coin, estimated by weight, containing one hundred drachmaí, and being itself the sixtieth part of a talent. Its value varied in different countries (Luke 19:13, 16, 18, 20, 24, 25). The minas represent the equal opportunity of life itself; the talents, the different gifts God gives each individual.

Mna - 9x in 6v - mina (4), minas (5). - Lk. 19:13,16,18,20,24-25

Mna - 5x in the Septuagint - 1 Ki. 10:17; Ezr. 2:69; Neh. 7:71-72; Ezek. 45:12

Marshall thinks "The small sum indicates this is a test of faithfulness."

Do business - The KJV translation "Occupy till I come!" This translation reminds one of an army "occupying" enemy territory. We as the servants of Christ are to continue working as "aliens and strangers" (1 Pe 2:11) at our God ordained vocations giving out the Gospel message wherever God has placed us until our Captain of the LORD's host," (Joshua 5:15), our Messiah, returns to establish His righteous rule over the whole earth. We work with diligence, we work in His Spirit's power, we work with a longing and with desire for His return. And  this Spirit enabled longing motivates our desire to redeem each day for His glory making the most of our opportunities to present the Gospel message and bring Him glory (Eph 5:16, Col 4:5). The time of our "occupation" is transient (Ps 39:14) so we do well to frequently beseech the Lord of the harvest to "teach us to number our days so that we may present to Him a heart of wisdom." (Ps 90:12)

Do business (command in aorist imperative = Do this now! Don't delay!)(occupy, trade with it)(4231)(pragmateuomai from  pragma = matter, business) is used only here and means to busy one's self with one's business or trade. To carry on business especially as a banker or trader. This is the opposite of being a "busybody." Instead, followers of Christ are to be busy for the Body (of Christ)! To be occupied with the task we have each been assigned. Paul reminds us "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Eph 2:10) DO BUSINESS: pragmateuomai: Aor Mid Imp: Be pragmatic (the only practical thing to do in light of the Lord's return is to be about the Father's business! The Greek for "occupy" (KJV) is our English word "pragmatic," and occurs elsewhere in the NT only in 2 Tim 2:4. The servants of Christ are instructed herein to continue working at their vocations, without hesitation when they see (or think they might see) the day approaching.

Do business is derived from root pragma which gives us our English word pragmatic which means dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations. In the context the slaves are to be pragmatic in their handling of the nobleman's money. 

With this until I come back - With this = with what? With the one mina each was given, which as discussed is most likely the Gospel message. Note the time sensitive word "until" which the English dictionary defines as something happening or done up to a particular point in time and then stopping. The idea is that in this context we have a finite period to do business and it will be up to the point in time when the nobleman returns, when Jesus returns. Notice also that the conjunction "until" signifies that after a period of time, the nobleman is coming back. Jesus Second Coming (parousia) is certain! Hallelujah! Maranatha!

Beloved, do not grow weary in doing business with the Gospel (AS MIGHT HAPPEN IF YOU SEE FEW IMMEDIATE POSITIVE RESPONSES - THIS CAN BE DISCOURAGING BUT NOTE PAUL'S PROMISE IN THIS PASSAGE) "for in due time (kairos) we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity (kairos)(Redeem the Time - your "ONE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME!") let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." (Gal 6:9-10-note) And just as important let us not become apathetic (showing little or no emotion or animation; not interested or enthusiastic about the Gospel and unwilling to make an effort to speak forth the Good News) or indifferent (marked by a lack of interest, showing no care or concern; uninterested) -- a delay in our Lord's return does not mean He will not return! That's the attitude of the Christ rejecting world as described by Peter who warns us "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts (THAT'S WHY THEY MOCK - THEY DON'T WANT TO THINK OF JESUS RETURNING TO JUDGE THEIR SINS! - cf 2 Ti 4:1-note), and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation (NOTICE HOW THEY ARE SELF-DECEIVED - TOTALLY IGNORING THE JUDGMENTS OF THE FLOOD AND SODOM AND GOMORRAH - THEY ABHOR THE THOUGHT OF JUDGMENT OF THEIR SINS!).”(2 Pe 3:3-4-note). 

Bible Names of God  - Our Lord is the Nobleman whose face was turned toward the land beyond the skies where He has gone and from whence He will one day return. "Occupy till I come" is His message. He has entrusted to us, as His servants, the most valuable treasure in Heaven, --- time, opportunity, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, a great world in which to transact the greatest of all business! Precious privileges are ours and a solemn accounting must be given. Lord, give us keenness of vision to see, and wisdom to utilize our opportunities in the investment of our lives for Thee. Amen.

Rod Mattoon on "occupy" (do business) - The word "occupy" is formed from the Greek root word pragma {prag'-mah} which means "to stay busy, to carry on, to set in motion, to accomplish." The idea of this word involves producing good results through great effort and energy. It does not mean to float around or be casual at the task at hand. This word pragma forms our English word "pragmatic" which means "to be active, busy, and practical." The nobleman was commanding his servants to not only stay busy, but gave them what they needed to accomplish tasks while he was absent. He expected productivity. Someone said, "Postage stamps are getting more expensive, but at least they have one attribute that most of us could emulate: they stick to one thing until they get there." Beloved, this is the Lord's message to us! Occupy till I come. Stay busy and accomplish my will for your life! (Eph 2:10-noteServe me and finish the task I have for you! Stick to the task! "American history shall march along that skyline," announced Gutzon Borglum in 1924, gazing at the Black Hills of South Dakota. In 1927, Borglum began sculpting the images of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt on the granite face of the 6,000-foot Mount Rushmore (Fascinating 19 minute video of Making of Mount Rushmore) (Another excellent longer version). Most of the sculpting was done by experienced miners under Borglum's direction. Working with jackhammers and dynamite, they removed some 400,000 tons of outer rock, cutting within three inches of the final surface. When Borglum died in March, 1941, his dream of the world's biggest sculpture was near completion. His son Lincoln finished the work that October, some 14 years after it was begun. The task was completed. Beloved, the Lord is sculpting His image in our lives. His desire for us is that we be more like Christ each day. His image in us is chiseled by the hammer of the Holy Spirit, hurt and happiness; the steel of sorrow, suffering, and success; and the pounding of pressure, pain, and peace. His work in us is for a lifetime. (Ro 8:29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The destiny of the Christian is to be "conformed" to the image of Christ and to be like Him. The word "conformed" means "to be similar or to have the same form as another." That is God's will for us. Until He returns or we die, we are to be like Him and yielded to His leading and also His chisel in our lives. We are to accomplish His will in reaching others. We are to "occupy" till He comes.

Occupy Till He Comes.....

  • Like a broken shoe or flat tire with a rusty nail, you may fail and flop at a task God leads you to do. Keep on trying. Don't quit! Occupy Till He Comes! 
  • Like a walnut that drops from the autumn limbs of its majestic tree, you may fall and falter in sinful mistakes. Get right with the Lord, get back up, and occupy till He comes. 
  • Like a feather that surfs on the breath of the wind, you may feel like floating through you Christian life and service for the Lord. Occupy Till He Comes! 
  • Like a bitter badger that barks and bites at an intruding bear, you may be furious, frustrated, and fed up with people who have belittled, burdened, or betrayed you. Occupy Till He Comes!
  • Like a rickety bucket bled of its water from a tiny rift in its weakened walls, your finances may be fractured, drained or drastically depleted. Occupy Till He Comes! 
  • Like startled wild horses that flee through wilderness valleys from the cracks of thunder, you may want to flee from fear caused by danger or distressing circumstances. Occupy Till He Comes. 
  • Like a brilliant comet that soars all alone across the black expanse of star-filled heavens, you may be friendless or forsaken by others, and all alone as you let your light shine and serve the Lord. Don't quit! Don't give up! Occupy Till He Comes! 

Till He comes we are to occupy or stay busy. This word "till" reminds us that we will need to be patient at our task and not give up. Waiting is not easy, but that is what we are to do until He returns. The best thing to do while you wait is keep yourself occupied and work for the Lord. We are not to set dates about the return of Jesus, quit our jobs, sell all we have and wait for Jesus on top of some mountain. We are to stay busy serving Him and if we spiritually fall down, lose some spiritual battles in our lives, we need to get back up and go forward.

    • * If you are discouraged, get up! 
    • * If you are defeated, get up! 
    • * If you are doubting, get up! 
    • * If you are depressed, get up! 
    • * Get up! Get up! Get up! 

The story is told that Andrew Jackson's boyhood friends just couldn't understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They knew of other men who had greater talent, but who never succeeded. One of Jackson's friends said, "Why, Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter, but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now." Another friend responded, "How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn't they usually say three times and out?" "Sure, they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was defeated. He would never stay 'throwed.' Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andrew Jackson would throw him and be the winner." Picking up on that idea, someone has said, "The thing that counts is not how many times you are 'throwed,' but whether you are willing to stay 'throwed' and get back up after you have been down." We may face setbacks, but we must take courage, brush ourselves off, get back up and go forward in faith for Jesus Christ. Then, through the Holy Spirit's power we can be the eventual victor over sin and the world. The battle is the Lord's, so there is no excuse for us to stay "throwed" and flat on our back! Get back up and get in the battle for the Lord in winning the lost to Christ. Jesus said, "Occupy till I come!" The Lord has given to all of us a "pound." All Christians have been entrusted with the Gospel and are to stay busy sharing it and accomplishing the will of God in their lives.

ILLUSTRATION OF "until I come back" - After American troops were forced to surrender the Philippines in May, 1942, General Douglas MacArthur vowed to retake the islands, giving his famous “prophetic promise” “I WILL RETURN” which was printed on thousands of matchbooks, buttons, bars of soap and leaflets dropped by air all over the Philippines to encourage and give hope. MacArthur kept his promise! But even better the “Commander of the Lord’s army” (Josh 5:15NLT), Jesus our Messiah, made a similar “prophetic promise” to His disciples declaring “I go to prepare a place for you” and “I WILL COME AGAIN!” (Jn 14:3) As Hoekema rightly observes “The faith of the New Testament is dominated by this expectation.” Indeed, the NT has some 318 prophetic promises (direct and indirect) describing Messiah’s triumphant return as King of kings, and Lord of lords (Rev 19:11-16–note), which means that there is approximately one prophecy on the Second Coming in every 20 verses! In fact it has been estimated that for every prophecy of Messiah’s First Coming, there are eight describing His Second Coming! As the old Scottish preacher said “The doctrine of Messiah’s Second Coming, as it appears in the NT, is like a lofty mountain that dominates the entire landscape.” John Walvoord adds that Messiah’s Second Coming is also “implied in hundreds of OT prophecies” often mingling them with His first coming as in Isa 61:1-2a which was fulfilled at Messiah’s first coming (Lk 4:18-21-note) and Isa 61:2b which describes “the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn” to be fulfilled at Messiah’s Second Coming. And so just as MacArthur’s promise on leaflets gave hope during the dark days of WWII, the prophecies of Messiah’s Second Coming “give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises” (Ro 15:4NLT–note). As this world grows darker and the promised return of Messiah grows brighter, we should continually be “looking (expectantly) for the BLESSED HOPE and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ (Messiah) Jesus.” (Titus 2:13–note) Paul called Messiah’s return ‘the Blessed Hope’ and as our world unravels morally and ethically, indeed He appears to be the only Hope for the world! And so it is interesting that the largest type used by newspapers for headlines of astounding events is called “SECOND COMING” type and is reserved for the most amazing front-page news (beginning or end of wars, moon landings, etc). (Greg Laurie's explains "Second coming type.") One day soon every eye “will see Him,” (Rev 1:7–note) the One for Whom “Second Coming” type was named! Messiah came first as the “Man of sorrows” (Isa 53:3), but will come again “with power and great glory” (Mt 24:30-note) as Judge and King (2 Ti 4:1–note). Martin Luther well said, ‘I preach as though Messiah died yesterday, rose from the dead today and was coming back tomorrow.” How different our lives would be if we lived them in that spirit! As one has well said “Don’t complain about what this world is coming to. Proclaim the One Who is coming to this world.” Play Michael Card's Maranatha or Maranatha (by Maranatha Singers).

May our cry today and everyday be Maranatha, Come King Jesus! Come and reign over Your World! Amen!

And for the hope of His return,
Dear Lord, Your Name we praise;
With longing hearts we watch and wait;
For that great day of days!

J R Miller -   We are doing business in this world for Christ. Each one of us has something of His--a pound which He has entrusted to us--to trade with as His agent. Our life itself, with all its powers, its endowments, its opportunities, its privileges, its blessings, its possibilities--is 'our pound'. Our life is not our own. We are not in this world merely to have a good time for a few years. Life is a trust. We are not done with it either, when we have lived it through to its last day. We must render an account of it to Him who gave it to us. Our business is to gather gains, through our trading with our Lord's money. We are required to make the most that is possible of our life!

The King Of Fruits

Read: Luke 19:12-26

Present your bodies a living sacrifice, . . . which is your reasonable service. —Romans 12:1

The durian, a tropical fruit, is often called The King of Fruits. Either you love it or you hate it. Those who love it will do almost anything to get it. Those who hate it won’t get near it because of its pungent smell. My wife loves it. Recently, a friend, who was grateful for what my wife had done for her, sent her a box of the finest quality durians. She took great pains to ensure that they were the best.

I asked myself, “If we can give the best to a friend, how can we do less for our Lord who gave His very life for us?”

The nobleman in Jesus’ parable in Luke 19 wanted the best from 10 servants to whom he gave money, saying, “Do business till I come” (v.13). When he returned and asked for an account, he gave the same commendation “Well done!” to all those who had done what they could with the money entrusted to them. But he called “wicked” (v.22) the one who did nothing with his money.

The primary meaning of this story is stewardship of what we’ve been given. To be faithful with what God has given to us is to give Him our best in return. As the master gave money to the servants in the parable, so God has given us gifts to serve Him. It is we who will lose out if we fail to give Him our best.

Give of your best to the Master, Give Him first place in your heart; Give Him first place in your service, Consecrate every part. —Grose

We are at our best when we serve God by serving others.

By C. P. Hia  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Get On With The Business!

Read: Luke 19:11-27

Do business till I come. —Luke 19:13

In the days before Connecticut became a state, the colonial legislature was in session when a thick darkness blotted out the sunlight. The cry was heard, “It is the day of judgment! Let us go home and get ready!”

But one member of the legislature, an old church deacon, stood up and said, “Brethren, it may be the day of judgment —I do not know. The Lord may come. But when He does, I want Him to find me at my post, doing my duty up to the very last moment. Mr. Speaker, I move that candles be brought in and that we get on with the business of the colony.”

In Luke 19:11-27, Jesus told a parable of a nobleman who went into a far country. Before leaving, the man called 10 of his servants together, gave them each a coin worth about 3 months’ salary, and said, “Do business till I come.” Later he returned, and the servants had to give an account of what they had done with the money.

At His ascension (Lk. 24:49-53), Jesus also “went into a far country” (19:12), and He could return at any moment. But until He does, our duty as His servants is to make the best use of our talents and our opportunities to serve Him.

In view of our Savior’s promise to return, let’s keep at our post and “get on with the business!”

The Lord has promised to return —
But we don't know just when;
So let's work hard until He comes,
And He'll reward us then.  —Sper

A watching Christian will be a working Christian.

By Richard DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Reporting For Duty

Read: Luke 19:11-27

Do business till I come. —Luke 19:13

I have never met Mary Ruth, but I’ve received inspiring letters from her. She has known Christ as her Savior for 63 years, and she is investing her life in doing business for Him until He returns. Here is an excerpt from one of her letters:

“Each night before I go to sleep, I say, ‘Good night, Lord Jesus. I love You. I’ll see You in the morning, either here or there (heaven).’ When I awake and see that I am still here, I say, ‘Good morning, Lord. I love You. I see we have another day together.’ Immediately I report for duty and ask Him to let me know, moment by moment, His plans for the day so we can ‘get with it’ together. I aim to help everyone I can to get ready to meet Him.”

Mary Ruth then wrote about recent opportunities she and her brother had to witness to people from other countries, and she said that several had received Christ. “God reached Chinese, Vietnamese, Buddhists, and a Jew—all in 3 days, and I didn’t need a passport, visa, or plane ticket. God brought them to us, and all I had to do was report for duty.”

The example of Mary Ruth and Jesus’ parable about the 10 servants in Luke 19 remind us that God is willing to employ all of us in the work of His kingdom.

It’s time to report for duty.

O what can I give to the Master,
The One who from sin set me free?
I'll give Him a lifetime of service
To thank Him for dying for me. —K. De Haan

We offer ourselves for Christ's service because He offered Himself for our sins.

By Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 19:14  "But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We do not want this man to reign over us.'


But his citizens hated him - Recall the historical note above where the Jews did not want Archelaus ruling over them because he was so cruel. Unlike Archelaus there is nothing in this story to warrant the citizens hating the nobleman. Jesus had done nothing cruel to warrant His rejection (cf Jn 15:25, Ps 69:4). In a fascinating aside, history records that  Archelaus slaughtered 3,000 Jews, while Jesus, on the first day of the Church, sent His Spirit and saved 3,000 Jews, giving them eternal life (Acts 2:41, cf Jn 10:10b)!

Steven Cole on his citizens hated himIn the parable, this is a reference to the Jewish nation, which was rejecting Jesus as her King. They protested to Pilate, “We have no King but Caesar” (Jn 19:15). But beyond that, it also refers to this evil world that is hostile toward God and does not want to submit to Jesus as Lord and King. It is in just such a hostile world that we are to do business with the Gospel, multiplying it by investing it in the lives of people.

Notice the phrase his citizens, where the possessive pronoun "his" indicates they belonged to him. MacArthur explains that "Everybody belongs in His kingdom. You may reject Christ, you may hate Christ; He owns you. You may be an atheist, a Muslim, a Buddhist but Christ owns you.  You live in His country for He made this world. It is His, and He made you.  By creation, He owns you....I think this is a message that people don't quite understand. They think that if they reject Christ, then Christ has nothing to do with themYou reject Christ and He has everything to do with you.You accept Christ and He has everything to do with you.You do nothing with Christ and He has everything to do with you. You are in His world...You can reject Him, you can ignore Him, but He owns you." (Bolding added)

Sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We do not want this man to reign over us - In the Gospel of John we see Jesus' own people (his citizens), the Jews, rejecting Jesus  not only as their Savior but also rejecting His reign over them as their King... 

(REJECTION OF JESUS AS SAVIOR) There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own (his citizens, the Jews), and those who were His own (his citizens, the Jews) did not receive Him. (John 1:9-11-note)

(REJECTION OF JESUS AS KING) Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he *said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” 15 So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate *said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. (John 19:14-16)

Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”  (John 19:19-22)

Hated (3404)(miseo) is in the imperfect tenseand depicts their ongoing attitude - They were manifesting over and over active ill will in words, conduct and persecution. 

Although this is a parable, it is clear that here Jesus is referring to the Jewish hatred and rejection of Himself. We see miseo used to refer to hatred of Jesus several times in the Gospels...

John 3:20  “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

John 7:7  “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.

John 15:18  “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.

John 15:23 “He who hates Me hates My Father also.

John 15:24  “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

John 15:25  “But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’ 

See also  Luke 23:2, 18–25; Acts 2:23; 3:13–15; 13:27–29.

Sent (649)(apostello) means they sent a delegation with a commission on a mission, a mission authorizes them to reject the Master.

Delegation (4242)(presbeia from presbeuo = to be the elder, take precedence) used only here and Lk 14:32, refers to a body of ambassadors or legates

We do not want this man to reign over us - This sad statement succinctly summarizes the sentiment of all who reject Christ in this present evil age (Gal 1:4-note), between His First and Second Comings. When it comes to allegiance to Christ, one is either for Him or against Him. There is no middle ground. To maintain a "neutral" approach is tantamount to rejection. Would you call yourself a loyal follower of Jesus? The faithful servants obeyed because they trusted their master and wanted to please him. The unfaithful servant disobeyed because he feared his master. But these citizens rebelled because they hated their king (Luke 19:14). Jesus quoted Ps 69:4 when He told His disciples, “They hated Me without a cause” (John 15:25).

This man - "This one" is a derogatory description.

To reign (to become king) (936)(basileuo from basileus - a king) means literally to exercise supreme authority at a royal level, to reign over, to be king over. This exercising of supreme authority is something that will be transpire without exception in Rev 11:15, 17-note when Jesus reigns as King over all nations in the Millennial Kingdom. Zechariah 14:16-19-note prophesies of what will happen to those nations which fail to submit to the King's sovereign authority in that day.

Over us (epi ego) - upon, above or over in the sense of exerting power, authority or control to those under. Authority over "ego" ("I") is the antithesis of the world's mantra portrayed in the Frank Sinatra song "I Did It My Way." It is no surprise that the middle letter of prIde and sIn is identical! 


Note that in a sense, we are living today in the period between Luke 19:14 and Luke 19:15. Our Master ("a nobleman") is absent but He will return according to His promise. We have been given a task to perform (Eph 2:10-note), and we must remain faithful until He comes (cf Heb 3:6-note, Heb 3:14-note). What will the King say to us when He returns? Will His words mean reward or may we not "have confidence and" instead "shrink away from Him in shame at His coming." (1 Jn 2:28-note)? Paul emphasizes every believer's responsibility to live and work responsibly writing "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2). You may be thinking "I am not a steward." Au contraire, if you are a genuine follower of Christ, you are NOT YOUR OWN (1 Cor 6:19-20-note, cf Titus 2:14-note, 1 Pe 2:9-note), but you are His servant (huperetes) and His steward, for we are all "stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy (pistos)." (1 Cor 4:1-2). Are you trustworthy? Are you giving out the mystery of the Gospel? Remember, only two things will last for eternity - the Word of God and men's souls, either in heaven or hell! If He returned today (which He could - see doctrine of imminency), would He find you a faithful steward? Remember -- We have... Only one life, twill soon past. Only what's done for (in) Christ will last! Redeem the Time for it is "the time of your life!"

Luke 19:15  "And it came about that when he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him in order that he might know what business they had done.


And it came about that when he returned - This speaks of Jesus' Second Coming.

After receiving the kingdom - This refers to Jesus receiving His kingship. When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He was crowned King. When He ascended (Acts 1:9-11), He was received as King, seated at the right hand of His Father.

See George Peter's discussion in his massive work "The Theocratic Kingdom" which relates to receiving the kingdom in Luke 19:15 - Prop. 83 - This Kingdom is given to the Son of Man by God, the Father

Jesus' Kingship had been prophesied in the Old Testament

He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.  5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying,  6 “But as for Me (GOD THE FATHER), I have installed My King (MESSIAH) Upon Zion, My holy mountain (JERUSALEM).”  (Ps 2:4-6, cf Zech 14:9-note). 

The writer of Hebrews says

we do see Him Who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death CROWNED with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.  (Hebrews 2:9-note)

The writer of Hebrews later adds that Jesus...

having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. (Heb 10:12-13-note).

Paul echoes this truth of Jesus' Kingship 

For this reason also (Php 2:8-note), God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11-note)

John describes Jesus' return as victorious King...

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”  (Rev 19:11-16-note)

He ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him in order that he might know what business they had done - First the nobleman (Jesus) will reckon with His slaves in whom He had invested the mina (the Gospel).

Bock - The examination concerns their faithfulness during the master’s absence. Theologically, the parable pictures stewardship in the period between Jesus’ first and second comings. Matthew 25:19 expresses a similar idea in different terminology. 

Money (694)(argurion) strictly refers to silver, and by metonymy always speaks of money (probably because silver was the most ancient form of money) except 1 Cor 3:12. Of silver money generally Ac 3:6; 7:16. Of particular silver coins silver shekel (worth about 4 drachmas) Mt 26:15; silver drachmas Ac 19:19 . Of money in general Mt 25:18, 27; Lk 9:3. Of a bribe Mt 28:15. It is notable that argurion is used 7 times in the Synoptic gospels in the context of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus for 30 “silver coins” (Mt 26:15; 27:3-9; Mk 14:11; Lk 22:5). The high priests also exchanged a large amount of silver coins for the cooperation of the guards at the tomb of Jesus, the guards agreeing to lie about His body being stolen (Mt 28:12-15).

GilbrantIn other cases the term argurion is found in the parable told by Jesus about the money left in trust (Mt 25:18; Luke 19:15ff.) Peter said to the lame beggar, “Silver (argurion) and gold have I none” (Acts 3:6). And to the sorcerer Simon, who wanted to buy spiritual gifts for money, he said, “Thy money perish with thee” (Acts 8:20). Paul could say that he had not coveted silver or gold or clothes from anyone (Acts 20:33). Believers have been redeemed not by silver and gold but by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Zodhiates has a lengthy note on argurion and money - Until the captivity the Jews had no coins, the shekel being properly a weight and all money being reckoned by weight and assigned value (Ge 23:15, 16; Ex. 21:32; Josh. 7:21). In the time of the Maccabees silver coins were first struck with the inscription "Shekel of Israel," which were equal to four Attic drachmaí or drachmé <1406> or one statér <4715>. The drachma was equivalent to sixteen cents American money, but this does not represent its purchasing power. In the year 300 b.c., a sheep could be bought with it. With five drachmae, an ox could be purchased. The drachmé is mentioned only in Luke 15:8f. where in the pl. it is translated "pieces of silver." The dídrachmon <1323>, two drachmaí which was one coin, was used among the Jews for the half-shekel required for the annual temple tax (Mt. 17:24). This regulation derived from the atonement money prescribed in Ex. 30:11-16, which, according to Maimonides, later developed into a regular annual poll tax. After the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, this tax had to be paid into the Roman treasury. The statér <4715> was a coin of four drachmaí (Mt. 17:27) which would pay the temple tax for both Jesus Christ and Peter. In Mt 28:12, 13, argúria hikaná, competent, ample, most probably does not refer to the size of the coins but to the sufficiency of them. There were one hundred silver drachmaí to the mná, translated "pound" and referred to in Luke 19:11-27, the parable of the pounds. The talent was not a coin, but a unit of monetary reckoning. Its value was always high, though it varied with the different metals involved and the different monetary standards. In the parables of the Lord, the talents referred to were most probably silver talents (Mt. 18:24; 25:15-28, where in verse eighteen it is referred to as argúrion, a silver piece which suggests that our Lord had the silver talent in mind). The silver dēnárion <1220>, denarius or dinar, was a Roman coin, twenty-five of which made a gold dinar. The smallest Roman coin was the quadrans, in Gr. kodrántēs <2835>, usually translated "farthing," and it was made of copper (see Mark 12:42 where the widow's two leptá <3016>, translated "mite," were equivalent to a quadrans). Mt. 5:26 uses kodrántēs <2835>, farthing, for the smallest coin, which had to be paid to clear a debt in full, while in the TR of Luke 12:59, leptón <3016>, mite, is used, except for the Western text which agrees with Matthew. Another copper coin used among the Roman was the assárion <787>, also translated "farthing," which was one sixteenth of the silver dinar (Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:6). This was the price at which two sparrows were sold. Luke has five sparrows for two farthings. The dinar or dēnárion <1220>, usually and unfortunately translated "penny" thus giving the idea of insignificance, was so-called because the word means ten at a time, and it was the equivalent in silver to ten copper assária which in today's money is worth sixteen cents. However, remember that it could buy a sheep. From the parable of Matt. 20:1-16, it appears to have been the daily wages of a laborer (see also Luke 10:35 which tells us that it was what the good Samaritan gave to the innkeeper). The silver dēnárion <1220> was apparently the coin used in attempting to trick Jesus in the question concerning the payment of tribute money (Mt. 22:19; Mk 12:15; Lk 20:24). Acts 19:19, referring to the 50,000 pieces of silver, does not make it clear whether they are Jewish, Greek, or Roman silver pieces. However, it could range in equivalent American dollars from $7,000 to $28,000. This would place a high price on books and these were priced so highly because they were books prepared by magicians, and they did not represent the ordinary value of books. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament)

Argurion - 21x in 21 verses -  money(10), pieces of silver(6), silver(5).

Matt. 25:18; Matt. 25:27; Matt. 26:15; Matt. 27:3; Matt. 27:5; Matt. 27:6; Matt. 27:9; Matt. 28:12; Matt. 28:15; Mk. 14:11; Lk. 9:3; Lk. 19:15; Lk. 19:23; Lk. 22:5; Acts 3:6; Acts 7:16; Acts 8:20; Acts 19:19; Acts 20:33; 1 Co. 3:12; 1 Pet. 1:18

Argurion - used over 390 times in the Septuagint - First use in Ge 13:12. "Throughout ancient Greek writings of every kind argurion means both the element silver and silver as in “money.” The Septuagint translators regularly used argurion as an equivalent for the Hebrew term kes̱eph, “silver” or “money” (not necessarily coins) (e.g., Genesis 13:2; Leviticus 22:11; Deuteronomy 2:6). In every case in the New Testament argurion stands for silver coins, i.e., money (cf. arguros [690])." (Gilbrant) 

Luke 19:16  "And the first appeared, saying, 'Master, your mina has made ten minas more.'


And the first appeared, saying, 'Master, your mina has made ten minas more - Note "Your mina" - there is no boasting. Anything accomplished is the result of the Master's mina! This reminds me of fruit bearing, for Jesus explained that the only abiding fruit we can bear is by abiding in Him, the Vine. (Jn 15:5) The one mina making ten more gives a yield of 1000% on Christ's investment! This is not a "competition" between saints to see who can gain the biggest yield (that attitude is fleshly and frankly will give a "lower yield.") We are each called to run with endurance the race set before us and that means "stay in your lane" (so to speak) and stopping looking at the "spiritual fruit" in another man's garden! However that is our natural (sinful) tendency isn't it beloved? We need to focus on abiding in the Vine, being filled Christ's Spirit and remaining faithful to the task He has placed before us. We cannot all be Billy Graham beloved!  

Stein - In a parable 1,000 percent return is perfectly reasonable. Actually this was not impossible in the first century. (NAC)

Master (Lord) (2962)(kurios from kuros = might or power) is an acknowledgement by this servant that Jesus is Sovereign and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership and uncontested power over everything. It is an acknowledgement that the servant recognized he was not his own, but had been bought with a price and had the high privilege of bringing glory to our Master (cf 1 Cor 6:19-20-note)

Paul says our Master, our King, Jesus Christ "gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." (Titus 2:14-note)

Has made (4333)(prosergazomai) is found only here and means to make more, earn in addition, by working or trading to make or gain besides. 

Spurgeon - The genuine servant, with due humility, puts himself in the background. It is not he who has “gained ten pounds;” it is his Lord’s pound that has done it. He is pleased to bring the ten pounds; yet he claims no credit for himself, but says, “Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.”

Steven Cole on your mina - it is implied here what is clearly taught elsewhere, that the power of the Gospel is in the message itself, not in the skill of the messenger. The servants do not say, “Master, my great business skill has multiplied your mina.” Rather, they say, “Your mina has made ten minas more.” The power is in the minas, not in the servants. The power of the Gospel ("the the power [dunamis = supernatural, inherent power in the Gospel =  existing as an essential constituent or characteristic in the Gospel! Just give it out!] of God for salvation" = Romans 1:16-note) is not the (natural) power of slick salesmanship, but rather God’s (supernatural) power working through His Word (See Acts 6:7 and Acts 12:24). All of this leads me to ask, “Do you see yourself in business for the Master with His gospel?” He has entrusted the gospel message to every believer and said, “Do business with this until I come back.” Are you doing business with the gospel for the Master? Are you using the good news of Christ as Savior to bring others into His kingdom, under His lordship? That is the question our Lord would have us consider by this parable. If you do not see yourself as a “gospel entrepreneur,” you will not be thinking about ways to multiply the Master’s resources for His purpose. The apostle Paul saw this as his aim. He states the governing purpose of his life: “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it” (1Co 9:23). But not just Paul and the apostles, but every believer should be living for the same purpose, to do all things for the sake of the gospel. We should see ourselves in the gospel business, using Jesus’ capital to make a profit for Him in His absence.

John Wesley had a good perspective on the time and opportunities God has allotted to each believer to redeem, writing

Do all the good you can,
in all the ways you can,
to all the people you can,
as long as ever you can.

Ten Pound Christians - J R Miller  Luke 19:16 We always find a few of these ten-pound Christians among the followers of Christ. They are those Christians who, from the very beginning, through divine grace--strive to reach the best things attainable in life. They are not content with being merely saved from sin's guilt, with being mere members of the church. They make their consecration to Christ complete, keeping nothing back. They set their ideal of obedience to their Lord--at the mark of perfectness, and are not slack in their striving, until they reach the mark in heaven. They seek to follow Christ entirely, fully, with their whole heart. They accept every duty--without regard to its cost. They seek to be like Christ, imitating Him in all the elements of His character. They give their whole energy to the work and service of Christ. They lie, like John, on the Master's bosom, and their souls are struck through, as it were, with the Master's loving spirit. These ten-pound Christians grow at last--into a Christ-likeness, a spiritual beauty, and a power of usefulness and influence, by which they are set apart among Christians, shining with brighter luster than other stars, in the galaxy of the church. Their one pound has made ten more pounds! Their high spiritual attainment has been won by their diligent and wise use of the one pound with which they began!

Luke 19:17  "And he said to him, 'Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities.'


Well done, good slave - Is this not an amazing statement? It is the Master's mina. We could have done absolutely nothing had the Master not given us His mina. And yet in a reflection His matchless grace piled upon grace, he says "Well done good slave." 

Good (18)(agathos) means intrinsically good, inherently good in quality with the idea of good which is also profitable, useful, benefiting others. Agathos is one whose works of goodness are transferred to others. Good and doing good is the idea. Amazing grace that we might hear such gracious words from He Who is the supreme Good! 

Because - This is a strategic term of explanation. What is Jesus explaining? Why is the slave deserving of commendation? In context because he has been faithful to invest the Master's mina, to share the Gospel in season and out of season. This slave have been trustworthy, reliable, dependable. This is why he is rewarded with praise and places (5 or 10 cities). Are you a faithful steward taking every opportunity the Spirit places in your path to give out the Good News that eternal life is available to men and women who otherwise are dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1) and bound for eternal separation from God (2 Th 1:8-9). 

You have been faithful in a very little thing - What is the "very little thing?" In context this probably refers to the relatively small size of the mina. 


While this is a parable, it suggests that the way God will reward us in the future is simply not even fully comprehensible now. We could not even take it all in! Does this not make you to desire even more to redeem the time?

Be in authority over ten cities - Blessed benevolence to sinners redeemed by grace. This reminds me of Ephesians 3:20-note "Now to Him Who is able (present tense = continually able!) to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us." Considering the fact that Jesus was explaining to the Jews the "timing" of the Kingdom of God, this reward is issued when the King returns and the gift of rule over literal cities would be very compatible with a literal earthly Kingdom.

We see that even pagan kings rewarded faithful service for in Daniel 6 we read

Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king (Darius - Da 6:1) planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom. (Da 6:3-note)

Jesus taught this same principle of reward for faithful service in Luke 16 declaring that...

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? (Lk 16:10-12- note)

Be is present imperative signifying this slave is to "Keep having authority."

Authority (1849)(exousia) means the power to do something and was a technical term used in the law courts, of a legal right. "Authority or right is the dominant meaning of exousia and refers to delegated authority combining the idea of the "right and the might" which the Master has granted to the fruitful slave.

There are a number of passage which speak directly or indirectly to the authority which is delegated to believers in His future Kingdom (unless you are an amillennialist!)...

 1 Cor 6:2,3 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? 

2 Ti 2:12-note If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;  

Rev 2:26-note ‘He who overcomes (= believers, cf 1 Jn 5:4-5-note), and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS;

Rev 3:21-note ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

Rev 5:10-note “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

Bock - The servant gets a prominent administrative role in the kingdom, an eschatological image that Luke uses directly elsewhere (Luke 12:32; Luke 22:30)....Faithfulness now will result in kingdom responsibility later (the kingdom is not to be equated with the eternal state or the church; Acts 3:18–21).

Warren Wiersbe on authority over ten cities - When it comes to witnessing, all believers start on the same level, so the reward is according to faithfulness and achievement. The faithful servants were rewarded by being made rulers of various cities. The reward for faithful work is always—more work! But what a compliment to be entrusted with the management of so many cities! How we serve the Lord today will help determine our reward and ministry when He comes to establish His kingdom on earth. Faithfulness now is preparation for blessed service then. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Stein - The disproportionate nature of reward to service should be noted. The reality part of this picture involves “treasure in heaven” (Luke 12:33-note; Luke 18:22-note). (NAC)

What the Bible teaches -  Many dear believers seem to feel that reward for faithful stewardship on earth will be rest in heaven, but the actual reward is a sphere of service that so far exceeds our opportunities here that it can be compared to the difference between a pound and ten cities. "His servants shall serve him" (Rev 22:3) is one of the fruits of His suffering on the tree that we will enjoy in His everlasting kingdom. It will be perfect service without weariness, failure, or lack of ability. There will be administrative responsibilities given by the King to His faithful servants. (What the Bible teaches – Luke).

Over ten cities - Are these literal cities? That is very possible for there will surely be cities in the Millennial Kingdom. Although this is a PARABLE, and Jesus may not have meant truly literal cities, this parable has so many aspects that are clearly identifiable as real people (i.e., the NOBLEMEN is Jesus, the CITIZENS are the Jews who rejected HIM, the SLAVES, especially the ''good'' (agathos) slaves are HIS BONDSERVANTS, true believers. From Rev 20:4-note (if you interpret this passage literally) we know the saints will RULE and REIGN with Christ and that He will be in Jerusalem so what about rule over other cities. The Old Testament clearly talks about KINGS ruling over cities so their is clearly precedent for such an event to occur. The numbers 10 & 5 cities may be representative (maybe some saints will have very large cities, etc...just conjecture!) But we do know that some saints will have a more abundant entrance supplied into the eternal kingdom 2 Pe 1:11.

For believers, the picture of the Master bestowing praise and reward on the slave clearly speaks of the Bema Seat or Judgment Seat of Christ, which is only for believers described by Paul 

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For (A STRATEGIC TERM OF EXPLANATION) we must (AN OBLIGATION) all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each (ONE ON ONE BEFORE OUR KING) one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (NOT "BAD" IN TERMS OF SINFUL BUT "BAD" IN THAT NOTHING OF ETERNAL VALUE IS ACCOMPLISHED).  (2 Cor 5:9-10- note)

But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” 12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.  (Ro 14:10-12-note)

Tony Garland summarizes the rewards of saints - The rewards include the many promises found throughout Scripture (Da 7:18; Mt 5:12; 10:41; 16:27; 25:34; Lk 14:14; Ro 2:7; 1Co 2:9; 2Ti 4:8; He 4:9; 11:10; 2Jn. 1:8) including those related to the inheritance of the believer (Acts 20:32; 26:18; Ro 8:17; Ep 1:11, 12, 13, 14; 5:5; Col 1:12; 3:24; He 9:15; 1Pe 1:4). This includes all the promises made to the overcomer (Re 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7) and the blessings which attend the Millennial Kingdom and the eternal state (Rev. 21, 22). (A Testimony of Jesus Christ)

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Cor. 3:11-15)

Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then EACH man’s praise (NOTE EACH BELIEVER WILL RECEIVE PRAISE!) will come to him from God. (1 Cor 4:5)

Behold (THIS SHOULD GRAB EVERY SAINT'S ATTENTION!), I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. (Rev 22:12-note)

Related Resources:

In light of the shortness of time and length of eternity, Peter exhorts believers...

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. (2 Peter 1:10, 11-note)

Who does God's work will get God's pay,
However long may seem the day,
However weary be the way;
Though powers and princes thunder "Nay,"

Who does God's work will get God's pay.
He does not pay as others pay,
In gold or land or raiment gay;
In goods that vanish and decay;

But God in wisdom knows a way,
And that is sure, let come what may,
Who does God's work will get God's pay.
— Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations

ILLUSTRATION - Canadian Missionary Jonathan Goforth gives a beautiful illustration of what every believer wants to hear someday: When he was fifteen years of age his father put him in charge of their second farm, which was twenty miles from the home farm. "Work hard," said his father. "At harvest I'll return and inspect." In later years Goforth stirred many an audience as he told of his arduous labors that summer, of his father's return in the fall and of how his heart thrilled when his father, after inspecting the fields of beautiful waving grain, turned to him and smiled. "That smile," he would say, "was all the reward I wanted. I knew my father was pleased. So will it be, dear Christians, if we are faithful to the trust our Heavenly Father has given us. His smile of approval will be our blessed reward."

Short is life;
fleeting is time;
quick is death;
sure is judgment;
long is eternity.

What thou desirest to do, do it quickly.
Thou wilt deeds of love repay;
Grace shall gen'rous hearts reward
Here on earth, and in the day
When they meet their reigning Lord.

The Parable of the Talents (Mt 25:14–30) teaches us to be faithful to use our different gifts as God gives us opportunities to serve. Some people have a great deal of ability, so God gives them greater opportunity. The important thing is not how much ability you have but how faithful you are to use what you have for the Lord. The person with the least ability, if he or she is faithful, will receive the same reward as the most gifted church leader.

Related Resources

Luke 19:18  "The second came, saying, 'Your mina, master, has made five minas.'

The second came saying  "Your mina, master has made five minas" - Indeed any ''mina'' we are privileged to have of eternal value is in fact from our Lord and Master. What a mystery. Our flesh chaffs at this thought, thinking any mina we have is in fact our own - we earned it by our "good" works. How sad! We don't deserve anything but the Lake of Fire. God's incredible matchless mercy has bestowed every perfect gift and we must never forget this truth. And we must ever acknowledge our humble dependence on the crumbs from His table. Thank You for crumbs Lord.

For the rewards to both slaves, the words of Paul are appropriate...

just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE (present tense - continually, imperfectly to be sure, but as the goal of our life) HIM.” (1 Cor. 2:9) (Ed: And remember Jesus said "If you love Me, you will keep [idea of keeping' one's eye on] My commandments." Jn 14:15. Corollary: Do say you love Jesus and go out an blatantly disobey!)

These two slaves clearly loved their master and they showed their love for him in their words and actions. We do it today by proclaiming the Good News at every opportunity the Spirit provides. In some of Paul's last words, he gives a similar promise to those who love Jesus writing...

In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved (perfect tense - speaks of an enduring, lasting love of) His appearing. (2 Ti 4:8-note)

Paul's words beg the question "Do you love His appearing? Do you long for it? And do you live in light of it?" When we have a sense of urgency and imminency, we are far more likely to be earning interest on our Master's mina!

Luke 19:19  "And he said to him also, 'And you are to be over five cities.'

And he said to him also 'And you are to be over five cities. - While he does not hear the words "'Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing" it is clear that he is still faithful in the handling of the nobleman's mina. This passage in context suggests that our future rewards will vary, being directly proportionate to how effectively we used what God gave us to bring Him glory.

Keathley - 500% return. No commendation. He gets 5 cities. His reward is fair. Reward according to merit.

The reward that the faithful slaves received was not one which they could enjoy by sitting down and folding their hands and doing nothing. If this is taken literally, one was put over ten cities and the other over five. The reward of work well done was more work to do. The greatest compliment we can pay a man is to give him ever greater and more difficult tasks. 

ColeClearly, there is always a risk in doing business in a hostile environment (ED: IF YOU HAVE SHARED THE GOSPEL AT ALL, YOU KNOW THE REACTION CAN BE QUITE VARIED, AT TIMES QUITE UGLY, AND IN SOME COUNTRIES EVEN DEADLY!). But the greater risk is not to do business at all, but to carefully wrap up the Master’s mina in a handkerchief, not employing it for His purposes.

Luke 19:20  "Another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief;


Another slave - While you cannot discern in the English translation, this slave is classified as "another" of a different kind (Greek = heteros). 

Another (2087)(heteros which gives us "heterodox") has the basic meaning of the other of two or more but specifically different. So the idea is qualitatively another of a different kind, and so not identical with what was previously referred to (Ro 7:23 "different law," Gal 1:6 - "different Gospel"). A second sense of heteros is numerically speaking and thus denoting a new member distinct in kind from those that preceded another (e.g., someone else, something else) (1 Cor 12:8-10 - " another", Lk 8:6-8 of seed "other seed fell on rocky soil...and other seed fell among the thorns").

Luke's uses of heteros

Lk. 3:18; Lk. 4:43; Lk. 5:7; Lk. 6:6; Lk. 7:41; Lk. 8:3; Lk. 8:6; Lk. 8:7; Lk. 8:8; Lk. 9:29; Lk. 9:56; Lk. 9:59; Lk. 9:61; Lk. 10:1; Lk. 11:16; Lk. 11:26; Lk. 14:19; Lk. 14:20; Lk. 14:31; Lk. 16:7; Lk. 16:13; Lk. 16:18; Lk. 17:34; Lk. 17:35; Lk. 17:36; Lk. 18:10; Lk. 19:20; Lk. 20:11; Lk. 22:58; Lk. 22:65; Lk. 23:32; Lk. 23:40; Acts 1:20; Acts 2:4; Acts 2:13; Acts 2:40; Acts 4:12; Acts 7:18; Acts 8:34; Acts 12:17; Acts 13:35; Acts 15:35; Acts 17:7; Acts 17:21; Acts 17:34; Acts 20:15; Acts 23:6; Acts 27:1; Acts 27:3

Master here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief - Clearly the previous two slaves represent believers who are rewarded at the Judgment Seat. But now we come to a slave whose fate is debated by different commentators, some saying he is a believer who loses his rewards at the Judgment Seat, others saying he is not a believer and will suffer eternal loss. Whichever he is, it is clear that he made an abysmal waste of his once in a lifetime opportunity to use the master's mina for profit. Putting money in a handkerchief was not only non-productive but was considered unsafe in Jesus' day. 

Constable writes that "This person represents someone who does nothing of eternal value with his life."

Morris on placing the mina in a handkerchief - This did not comply even with the minimum requirements for safety, which required burial in the earth (Talmud, Baba Metzia 42a)

Handkerchief (4676)(soudarion) is from a Latin loan word sudarium from sudor (sweat) transliterated into Greek soudarion which is a sweatcloth handkerchief or napkin. (Luke 19:20; Acts 19:12). In Acts 19:12 the sweatcloths (“handkerchiefs,” KJV, NIV, NASB) Paul apparently tied around his head while making tents were taken to heal the sick (Bruce, New International Commentary on the New Testament, Acts, p.384). In John 11:44 and 20:7 the “cloths” were used, according to Jewish custom, to cover the faces of the corpses of Lazarus and Jesus (cf the "Shroud of Turin"). Soudarion is found in papyrus marriage contracts as part of the dowry. Soudarion is used only 4 times in the NT - Lk. 19:20; Jn. 11:44; 20:7; Acts 19:12 and there are no uses in the Septuagint.

J G Bellet - I doubt not that the case of these two rich men (Rich Young Ruler in Lk 18 and Rich Tax Collector in Lk 19) suggests some principal features in the parable that follows, "the nobleman that goes into the far country." The parable itself is suggested by another circumstance, as we learn (Luke 19), but some of the features of it arise hence, as I have said.  For in the unprofitable servant we see a picture of the young ruler, and in the other servants we see Zaccheus. The moral difference between them is this: the unprofitable servant religiously owns the seriousness of a day of judgment and of reckoning, and is careful for his own sake, to provide, as he judges, against it. He lays up his Lord's pound in a napkin, dreading the account he may hereafter have to make of it. But this is all. He has no heart for Christ or His service at all--but having saved himself, as he hoped, against the results of a day of reckoning, he goes forth and spends his activities on himself, or for his own interests. And such an one was the young ruler--he feared judgment, but had no heart for Christ, serving himself in the world.  The other servants had no calculations about judgment at all, but they thought about their Lord and His kingdom. It was their Lord who gave impulse to their activities. They set His service before them when they went forth to do business, they took His talent with them, and not their own. That is, they traded in the world for Him and not for themselves. Altogether the opposite of the unprofitable servant this was. The Lord's talent was not left at home, but carried abroad. Whatever was done by these servants was done for Christ, and not for themselves, whether it was more or less. And such an one was Zaccheus. He looked on his goods and with full purpose of heart used them for his Lord, either by restitution or by alms-deeds serving His glory in the world.

Hope Laid Up for You in Heaven - William Henry Griffith Thomas- "Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven..."  (Col. 1:4-5). This hope is said by St. Paul to be "laid up" for believers "in the heavens," and the verb is particularly worthy of notice because of its use elsewhere. Thus, a crown of righteousness is said to be "laid up" for those who love Christ's appearing (2 Tim. 4:8, ASV), while it is also recorded that it was "laid up" for men once to die (Heb. 9:27). Another solemn contrast is drawn in our Lord's parable of the pounds, where the unfaithful servant "laid up" his master's gift instead of using it (Luke 19:20). In two Old Testament passages, moreover, it is declared that the Lord has "laid up" His goodness for those who fear Him (Ps. 31:19) and "sound wisdom for the righteous" (Prov. 2:7). No Christian life, then, is complete which does not include in it this forward look of joyous certitude toward a bright future, for hope as a grace is not a mere spirit of what we call hopefulness, or a natural buoyancy of temperament. It is a distinctly Christian virtue, the result of union with God in Christ; and it has for its immediate object the Lord Jesus at His glorious appearing, and for its ultimate, eternal and exhaustless substance the glories of heaven and God as our all in all.

Luke 19:21  for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.'

I was afraid of you because you are an exacting man - While the other two slaves were motivated by love for their Master, this slave is dominated by fear of his Master. He was fully aware that his day of reckoning would come and he feared that day in the presence of his Master. Not only that, but he also seeks to shift the blame from himself to the master but describing him as an exacting man, a Greek word which as discussed below gives us our English word austere which means of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor and "cold" in appearance. It describes one who is uncompromising as well as severe in discipline. Incredible! This wretched slave accuses the king of being severe, harsh and unfair!

I. H. Marshall writes “The servant appears to have feared that he would get no return for his work: all the profit would have been taken by the master. At the same time, he may have feared that if he incurred a loss on the capital he would have to make it up to the master.”

I was afraid (5399)(phobeo from phobos = fear source of our English "phobia") means to be in an apprehensive state that can range from mild uneasiness to stark terror as when one is frightened, terrified or alarmed. Phobeo can refer to a shaking, quaking type of fear as is the case of  this slave, but a confer a positive sense of reverential awe (cf Lk 1:50, 23:40). One of the most common uses of phobeo is Jesus comforting words "do not fear" (Mt 10:26, 28, 31, 14:27, 17:7, 28:10, Mk 5:36, 6:50, Lk 5:10, 8:50, 12:4, 7, 32, Jn 6:20, 12:15, Acts 18:9, 27:24, cf angels - Mt 28:5,Lk 1:13, 30, 2:10. Gentiles were  referred to those who had a fear of God ( Acts 10:35 Acts 13:16, 26). 

Detzler notes that "the root word phobos - In ancient Greek the word phobos came from the word phebomai meaning to flee, or to be startled. Thus phobos meant flight or terror, and was connected with fear of the unknown, fear of the future, and fear of authorities." (New Testament Words in Today's Language)

Other translations of exacting man - "severe man" (NET, ESV), "austere" (KJV), "hard" (NIV, NLT), "tough" (CSB), "demanding" (NAB), "harsh" (NRSV). God's Word Translation paraphrases it "I was afraid of you. You're a tough person to get along with. You take what isn't yours and harvest grain you haven't planted."

Exacting (840)(austeros from auo = to dry up) means rough to the taste, stringent, then figuratively severe or austere (used only in Lk 19:21,22). This word in Latin is austeros and in English is austere which speaks of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor, cold in appearance or manner, forbidding in aspect. Austeros was often associated with honor, meaning earnest and severe, but not so with sklerós which always conveys a harsh, inhuman character (Mt 25:24; Jn 6:60; Acts 9:5; Jas 3:4; Jude 1:15). Harsh in flavor, then in disposition" (Bruce).

Vine says austeros means to be "dry, stringent to the taste, like new wine not matured...harsh, severe". This was the attitude of the servant toward the king, not only his opinion of his methods.

Morris - He described his master as a severe man, using the adjective austēros whose meaning is ‘ “strict, exacting,” a man who expects to get blood out of a stone’ (MM)

The slave goes on to describe why he feels he is an exacting (hard) man and ascribes evil actions to the master!

You take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow - What is the different slave accusing the master of with this statement? The NLT paraphrases it "taking what isn't yours and harvesting crops you didn't plant." In effect he is accusing the master of being a thief, of harvesting crops he did not plant! Woe! Now if we remember that the nobleman is Jesus, one wonders how a slave who is a believer could possibly make such an accusation against Him. The reader knows this is incorrect, because of his generosity in Luke 19:17, 19.

Luke 19:22  "He said to him, 'By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow?

He said to him, 'By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave - The words of the wicked slave come back on his head as his own condemnation. This statement by the nobleman depicting Jesus' words hardly seem to be the way that Jesus would address one of His own. The word "worthless" is particularly notable. Given the meaning of the Greek word (see poneros below), the NAS translation as "worthless" is clearly a poor choice of words. Other translations are more accurate - NET, ESV, NLT, CSB, NIV all have "wicked slave." It is difficult to imagine Jesus calling one of His Own "wicked!"

Stein - The nobleman judged the wicked servant on the basis of his own presuppositions. If his presuppositions about the nobleman’s character are false and the hearers/readers of the parable know that they are, he is even more condemned. The term “judge” (krinō) can mean to judge, but here, since the servant would be judged unfavorably, it means to condemn.

Judge (decide, determine, condemn)(2919)(krino) primarily signifies to distinguish, to decide between (in the sense of considering two or more things and reaching a decision), to separate, to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong. The basic meaning of krino is to form an opinion after separating and considering the particulars in the case. Krino means to evaluate and determine what is right, proper, and expedient for correction.

Luke's uses of krino

Lk. 6:37; Lk. 7:43; Lk. 12:57; Lk. 19:22; Lk. 22:30; Acts 3:13; Acts 4:19; Acts 7:7; Acts 13:27; Acts 13:46; Acts 15:19; Acts 16:4; Acts 16:15; Acts 17:31; Acts 20:16; Acts 21:25; Acts 23:3; Acts 23:6; Acts 24:6; Acts 24:21; Acts 25:9; Acts 25:10; Acts 25:20; Acts 25:25; Acts 26:6; Acts 26:8; Acts 27:1;

Worthless (evil, wicked, bad) (4190)(poneros from poneo = work or toil, Robertson says the idea is that labor is an annoyance, bad, evil; Noun poneria derived from poneros) means evil including evil, malignant character, pernicious, that which is morally or socially worthless, wicked, base, bad, degenerate. Poneros denotes determined, aggressive, and fervent evil that actively opposes what is good. Poneros is not just bad in character, but bad in effect (injurious)! This is a very strong adjective to 

Luke used poneros earlier in describing a worthless person Jesus declaring “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart." (Lk 6:45-note) This would be an apt description for this worthless slave!

All of Luke's uses of poneros -

Lk. 3:19; Lk. 6:22; Lk. 6:35; Lk. 6:45; Lk. 7:21; Lk. 8:2; Lk. 11:13; Lk. 11:26; Lk. 11:29; Lk. 11:34; Lk. 19:22;  Acts 17:5; Acts 18:14; Acts 19:12; Acts 19:13; Acts 19:15; Acts 19:16; Acts 25:18; Acts 28:21

Poneros is used 72 times in the NT and in the NAS is translated as follows (note only one time is it translated "worthless") - bad(5), crimes(1), envious(1), envy*(1), evil(50), evil one(5), evil things(1), malignant(1), more evil(1), more wicked(1), vicious(1), wicked(6), wicked man(1), wicked things(1), worthless(1).

In summary, this parable teaches equal opportunity but not equal results. It teaches rewards for faithful use of the opportunity. On the negative side it teaches failure to use what we have been given will result in us losing what we have been given.

Worthless (4190)(poneros) is translated most often as evil or wicked. Poneros speaks of evil in active opposition to good. It means actively harmful, hurtful, evil in effect or influence

Luke 19:23  'Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?'

Then why did you not put my money in the bank and having come, I would have collected it with interest? - While many people look at banks and bankers with a bit of suspicion,  Jesus clearly seems to justify their existence and their practice of lending money for interest. 

MacArthur writes "If he had any respect for the king, he would have at least invested for minimal gain. The truth is that the wicked slave was indifferent; he had no relationship with the king and did not care about him or his interests. This hypocrite stashed away the money with which he had been entrusted and went on with his own personal interests."

It is not clear what the bank might represent in relation to the Gospel "mina."

Bank (5132)(trapeza from tetra = four + peza = foot) means a table, as that on which one sets food (Mt 15:27 Mk 7:28 Lu 16:21 22:21, 30), the "table of showbread" (Heb 9:2, Lxx - Ex 25:23, 27, 26:35, cf prothesis 4286 = "showbread") In this verse trapeza speaks of a "table" seen on the front of banks in Greece today. Bankers sat at small tables and changed money (Mt 21:12). The table of the money changers served as a broker’s bench at which the money changer sat in the market or public place such as the outer court of the temple (Mt 21:12 Mk 1:15 Jn 2:15). In Acts 6:2 trapeza is used to depict serving. Compare related Greek words kermatistes (2773), a changer of money, and kollubistes (2855), a coin–dealer.

Gilbrant on trapeza - Related to the word for square, in classical writings trapeza referred to a four-legged or square table. It came to be used in a transferred sense for the table of a money changer, hence a “bank,” as well as a dining table. It also was used of cultic tables or altars where one entered into the presence of the gods through the cultic meal (see Klappert, “Lord’s Supper,” Colin Brown, 2:520). The Septuagint uses the word to mean a simple table: “He made also ten tables” (2 Chronicles 4:8). It also can refer to the table of showbread (Exodus 39:36 [LXX 39:18]). Figuratively trapeza can refer to the food upon a table: “You prepare a table before me” (Psalm 23:5, NIV [LXX 22:5]). New Testament writers use trapeza of the physical table (Matthew 15:27; Mark 7:28) and of the food on the table (Acts 6:2; 16:34). The table of showbread is mentioned in Hebrews 9:2. The table is a place of fellowship (Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 2:15-17; Luke 22:21; Revelation 3:20). It is this sense of intimate fellowship which forms the basis for Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 10:21 that one cannot have intimate fellowship with God and at the same time have intimate fellowship with demons. The point is that while one may freely eat meat offered to idols, one must not combine idolatry with the worship of God at the Lord’s table (cf. 1 Corinthians 11). On two occasions trapeza refers to the table of the money changers erected in the Court of the Gentiles in the Jerusalem temple (Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15). These money changers converted various types of coinage into Tyrian shekels to enable the worshipers to pay the temple tax commanded in Exodus 30:13-16. A slight surcharge of 1/24th of a shekel was charged (Lane, New International Commentary on the New Testament, 2:405). In Luke 19:23 trapeza refers to the “bank” made up of money changers (Matthew uses trapezitais [see 4972], “bankers” [25:27]). There were no banks, as we understand them, in the ancient world, but it was possible to make loans and investments and so gain interest on money. Finley notes that in the ancient world there was “endless money lending” but not for productive purposes such as agriculture, trade, or manufacture; rather, loans were made for prestige reasons. On one occasion the Roman orator Cicero borrowed a huge sum of money to build a large house for entertainment purposes (Ancient Economy, pp.53-57,141). Thus, the ancient bank was primarily a money-changing establishment with pawnbroking facilities. It was not a modern bank, that is, a “credit institution, designed to encourage productive investment” (Austin and Vidal-Nacquet, Economic and Social History of Ancient Greece, p.149). A very common method of storing cash was to bury it in the ground in a strong box (Finley, Ancient Economy, p.141; Matthew 25:18). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Trapeza - 15x in 14v - bank(1), food(1), table(9), tables(4).

Matt. 15:27; 21:12; Mk. 7:28; 11:15; Lk. 16:21; 19:23; 22:21,30; Jn. 2:15; Acts 6:2; 16:34; Rom. 11:9; 1 Co. 10:21; Heb. 9:2

Trapeza - 87x in 82v in the Septuagint - 

Exod. 25:23,27-28,30; 26:35; 30:28; 31:8; 35:13; 37:10,15-16; 39:36; 40:4,22; Lev. 24:6; Num. 3:31; 4:7; Jdg. 1:7; 1 Sam. 20:24,27,29,34; 2 Sam. 9:7,10-11,13; 19:28; 1 Ki. 2:7; 4:27; 7:48; 12:24; 13:20; 18:19; 2 Ki. 4:10; 1 Chr. 28:16; 2 Chr. 4:8,19; 9:4; 13:11; 29:18; Neh. 5:17; Est. 4:17; Job 36:16; Ps. 23:5; 69:22; 78:19-20; 128:3; Prov. 9:2; 23:1; Isa. 21:5; 65:11; Ezek. 23:41; 39:20; 40:40-43; 41:22; 44:16; Dan. 1:5,8,13,15; 11:27; Mal. 1:7,12;

Luke 19:24  "Then he said to the bystanders, 'Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.'


Then he said to the bystanders - Who are the bystanders in the parable? This is difficult to say - angels? faithful slaves? other 7 slaves? As with parables in general, not every detail can be specifically interpreted and to attempt to do so can miss the main point of the parable.

Stein - In Matt 25:30 the wicked servant’s condemnation is explained, and the reality of eternal judgment enters into the picture part of the parable itself.

Take (aorist imperative - Don't delay!) the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.

This unfaithful slave was unproductive which reminds us of unproductive faith described by James 

James 2:14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

James 2:16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

James 2:20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

James 2:26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Spurgeon wrote that "It is always so, the gracious and faithful man obtains more grace and more means of usefulness, while the unfaithful man sinks lower and lower and grows worse and worse. We must either make progress or else lose what we have attained. There is no such thing as standing still in religion.” (ED: I like to ride bicycles and most of my falls have occurred when I was standing still!)

Luke 19:25  "And they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas already.'

And they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas already.' - They see this as unfair, but as shown in the next passage, they fail to understand that the master was operating on the principle that faithfulness in little means faithfulness in much. Logically, the master would choose to give the mina to the one who was most faithful and most likely to make the best use of it. 

A T Robertson on the identity of the "they" who spoke here - Probably the eager audience who had been listening to this wonderful parable interrupted Jesus at this point because of this sudden turn when the one pound is given to the man who has ten pounds. If so, it shows plainly how keenly they followed the story which Jesus was giving because of their excitement about the kingdom (Luke 19:11). (Word Pictures in the New Testament)

Kistemaker disagrees writing "It cannot very well be questioned that the bystanders who are ordered to take the pound away from the wicked servant and who interject, "Sir, he (already) has ten pounds," are persons present in the parable and not people who are listening to the parable." (Ibid)

Luke 19:26  "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.

I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given - What is this but further confirmation of the over the top, lavish grace bestowed by the Lord upon those who are His Own. As discussed above, it is given to this one who will be more likely to produce a greater dividend for the Master. 

Morris emphasizes that "Jesus is not saying that the rich will get richer and the poor poorer. The words must be seen in their context. It is the man whose abundance shows that he has made good use of what he has who will get more." (TNTC-Luke)

Constable writes that the Master "was looking at what was best for himself. Obviously what is best for God is more important than what is best for His servants. Still the master’s action was also fair to his servants since the servant who glorified the master most received the greatest reward. Zaccheus, who was listening to this parable, had just promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and to reimburse anyone he had defrauded four-fold (Lk 19:8-note). Jesus’ teaching here would have encouraged him to follow through on his commitment. He would have a great reward, much treasure in heaven, if he so served the Master faithfully."

KistemakerA superficial glance at the rule here expressed might cause sharp disagreement and perhaps even resentment. One might ask, "What? Does Jesus actually justify taking from the poor in order to give to the rich?" However, in the light of the entire context and of other passages, such as Luke 9:23, 24; 17:33; cf. Matt. 10:39; 16:26; Mark 8:34-38; and John 12:25, 26, one soon discovers the true meaning. It is this: the man who through diligent use of the gospel has enriched himself and others, will, by continuing in this course, become richer and richer. On the other hand, from the person who has become poor because he has neglected his duty in this respect, even whatever little he once had shall be taken away. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

We see this same principle echoing through the Synoptic Gospels...

Matthew 13:12; “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

Matthew 25:29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.

Mark 4:25   “For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.”

Luke 8:18-note  “So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.” 

Keathley - Mt 13:12; 25:29; Mk 4:25 and Lk 8:18 all say that to whomever has, will more be given and whoever does not have, what they have will be taken away. This parable helps explain those passages. The third slave lacked understanding / faith - he did not act on what he knew. What you don’t use, you lose. He lost the opportunity to do any more.

Morris - It may be objected that there was no point in giving one pound to a man who already had ten and also authority over ten cities. But there is a principle involved. The smallest gift must be put to good use. In the Christian life we do not stand still. We use our gifts and make progress or we lose what we have." (TNTC-Luke)

Spurgeon - Hear again the note of sovereignty. Christ will do as he wills; and his mode of action shall sometimes be so singular that even his own attendants will wonder at the strangeness of his procedure, and will begin to ask, “How is this?” But, as Elihu said to Job, “He giveth not account of any of his matters.”

but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away - "He was stripped of every pretense, opportunity, privilege, and position to which he might have aspired." (MacArthur)


There is a difference of opinion in the commentaries as to whether the third slave was a believer or an unbeliever. Here is the background. When we compare with Matthew's Parable of the Talents (remembering they are similar but not the same parable), there the third slave is clearly depicted as an unbeliever - “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Mt 25:30) The third slave in this parable has the mina removed but there is no record of his being thrown into Hell. However, the third slave is referred to as wicked (poneros), a term that I am not aware of ever used to describe a believer. Also the third slave accuses the nobleman (who depicts Jesus) of what amounts to "robbery," an accusation that is difficult to imagine on the lips of a believer. The third slave was unproductive, so one might question did he bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance? Or one might legitimately ask, is he one who said he had faith, but had no works (fruit) and thus demonstrated that his faith  was dead, and thus a type of faith which does not bring about salvation? On the other hand, the mina is simply to be removed from the third slave, which many commentators interpret as a loss of rewards. What this removal of the mina more accurately represents is the loss of the ability to gain rewards (having no mina with which to gain interest). In other words, does he even have "rewards" that he would lose (cf 1 Cor 3:15). Frankly, while think the third slave is an unbeliever, I will admit is difficult to be absolutely dogmatic. You will have to make up your own mind as to whether the third slave loses his eternal rewards or loses his life eternally. Here are arguments from both sides. Interestingly, those who favor the third slave as believer who loses his rewards do not give any significant Scriptural evidence to support their view. 

Kent Hughes interprets the third slave as a believer -  "This man’s works are incinerated, though he himself is saved."  (Preaching the Word - Luke)

Wiersbe interprets the third slave as a believer - At least one of the ten men did not obey his master and as a result lost even the pound that the master gave him. It is a basic principle of the Christian life that wasted opportunity means loss of reward and possibly loss of the privilege of service. If we do not use the gifts God gives us under His direction, why should we even have them? Somebody else can make better use of the gifts to the glory of God. (Bible Exposition Commentary).

Kistemaker interprets the third slave as an unbelieverThough one fine commentator calls this lazy fellow "a believer," I disagree. He was a Christian only in a nominal sense; that is, in reality he was not a believer at all. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

Darrell Bock has a lengthy analysis on the fate of the third slave and ultimately comes to favor the third slave as an unbeliever - Plummer (1896: 443) and Klostermann (1929: 189) associate the text with the judgment of the third Matthean slave, who is cast into outer darkness to experience weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 25:29–30). Neither of these commentators, however, develop the point of this connection or defend it. Several points speak for this view (ED: THE VIEW THAT THE THIRD SLAVE SUFFERS THE SAME FATE AS THE SLAVE IN MATTHEW'S PARABLE OF THE TALENTS). (a) The terminology in Matthew is clearly that of final judgment (as in Luke 13:28-note). (b) The exclusionary character of the proverbial warning in Luke 8:18-note (someone who “has” really does not, since he only “thinks he has”) provides a rhetorical key to understand the punishment here: the third slave ends with absolutely nothing—not even what he thought he had. (c) In reply to the distinction in the previous view between the delegation as enemies and the third servant as a member of the community, it should be noted that Jesus addresses this slave in Lk 19:22 as “evil”—a strong remark in a context of eschatological judgment. (d) This slave is called “the other one” (ho heteros), denoting a clear distinction of class. (e) Although the Matthean parable is a distinct text, its description of the third servant is the strongest point of parallelism between the two parables (the wording of Mt 25:29 is almost exactly like Luke’s). In this view, the third slave pictures the “odd man out” who is a part of so many of Jesus’ parables (Mt. 13:29–30, 41, 49–50; 18:32–34; 22:11–13; 25:41; Luke 12:46). (BOCK NOW GIVES HIS INTERPRETATION OF THE FATE OF THE THIRD SLAVESo who, then, is this figure? The third servant represents people who are related to the king in that they are associated with the community and have responsibility in it. Nevertheless their attitude shows that they do not see God as gracious and that they have not really trusted him. The third slave’s attitude toward the master is important (ED: I DEFINITELY AGREE WITH THIS POINT). He does not see his master as gracious, but as hard and unjust, and so he does not respond to the king. Such people are left with nothing at the judgment; they are sent to outer darkness, because they never really trusted or knew God. Although a decision is difficult, the closeness of the parallel to Matthew and the pattern of such figures in Jesus’ parables argue for view 3 (ED: HE IS AN UNBELIEVER). By his own attitude toward the master, the third servant is shown not to have had a real relationship with the master. This attitude is reflected in an absence of action and results in the master’s final declaration that this slave is evil—hardly a note of acceptance at the final reckoning. The slave may have thought that he knew the king, but really he did not know him at all and certainly showed no trust in him. Such characters circulated among the disciples (e.g., Judas); they saw themselves as related to Jesus and carried out responsibilities in his name, but did not know him. (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the NT: Luke)

John MacArthur  interprets the third slave as a nonbeliever - "This man had no love or respect for his master, and no real relationship with him. Like a typical legalist, he was merely putting on an outward show. He served him for the money (ED: I am not sure one can make that conclusion. That may be implied but is not stated.) hoping to get rich from the nobleman turned king....The worthless slave represents the people who claim to be followers of Christ, are involved with the church, surrounded by the privileges and truth of the gospel, and even make a profession of faith. Yet in reality, they serve the Lord for their own selfish purposes and goals, and have no relationship with Him. Despite their claims, they will hear from Christ’s own mouth the shocking, frightening pronouncement of their eternal doom: “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:23-note; cf. Mt 25:12; Luke 13:27-note). The lesson of the story is clear. There will be rewards for Christ’s faithful followers, rejection for the false followers, and retribution for His foes. Every person falls into one of those three categories. The faithful followers are rewarded and lavished with spiritual graces and privileges forever. The day will come when the false followers will be unmasked and all their flimsy pretenses will be unveiled and discounted. The Lord will reject them, and sentence them to perish eternally with His enemies (ED: IN FAIRNESS THE PARABLE DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY STATE THIS IS THEIR END AS DOES THE PARALLEL PARABLE IN Mt 25:30).. (Luke Commentary)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: "It is always so--the gracious and faithful man obtains more grace and more means of usefulness, while the unfaithful man sinks lower and lower and grows worse and worse. We must either make progress or else lose what we have attained. There is no such thing as standing still in religion.” While there is a proper “fear of the Lord” that should be in every Christian’s heart, that “fear” should be the respect of a loving child and not the dread of a frightened slave. “Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God,” wrote Dr. A.W. Tozer. How important it is that we do the will of God from our hearts (Eph. 6:6). The parable concludes with one of the inexorable laws of life. To him who has, more will be given; from him who has not, what he has will be taken away. If a man plays a game and goes on practising at it, he will play it with ever greater efficiency; if he does not practise, he will lose much of whatever knack and ability he has. If we discipline and train our bodies, they will grow ever fitter and stronger; if we do not, they will grow flabby and lose much of the strength we have. If a schoolboy learns Latin, and goes on with his learning, the wealth of Latin literature will open wider and wider to him; if he does not go on learning, he will forget much of the Latin he knows. If we really strive after goodness and master this and that temptation, new vistas and new heights of goodness will open to us; if we give up the battle and take the easy way, much of the resistance power we once possessed will be lost and we will slip from whatever height we had attained. There is no such thing as standing still in the Christian life. We either get more or lose what we have. We either advance to greater heights or slip back.

Luke 19:27  "But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence."

Context - Jesus now addresses the group from earlier in the parable - “But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.' (Lk 19:14-note).

But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over theme - John's Gospel is an excellent commentary on this passage recording the reaction of the Jewish crowd only a few days later

So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate *said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (Jn 19:15)

Enemies (2190)(echthros from échthos = hatred, enmity) is an adjective which pertains to manifesting hostility or being at enmity with another, where enmity is a deep seated animosity or hatred which may be open or concealed or a "deep-rooted hatred." In the active sense echthros means to be hateful, hostile toward, at enmity with or adversary of someone.

Bring (aorist imperativethem here and slay them in my presence - Jesus goes on to speak of one aspect of the slaying of the nation of Israel in Lk 19:41-44. 

Slay (aorist imperative)(2695)(katasphazo from kata = intensifes meaning of  + sphazo = to slay as Cain did to Abel - 1 Jn 3:12) means to slaughter, strike down, kill, butcher (before someone's eyes). Plummer says "It means “hew them down, slay them utterly.”"Only here in the NT. Twice in the Septuagint

Ezekiel 16:40; “They will incite a crowd against you and they will stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords.

Zechariah 11:5 “Those who buy them slay them and go unpunished, and each of those who sell them says, ‘Blessed be the LORD, for I have become rich!’ And their own shepherds have no pity on them.

Wiersbe - What will the King say to us when He returns? Will His words mean reward, rebuke, or possibly retribution? “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2)

T. W. Manson comments ‘We may be horrified by the fierceness of the conclusion; but beneath the grim imagery is an equally grim fact, the fact that the coming of Jesus to the world puts every man to the test, compels every man to a decision. And that decision is no light matter. It is a matter of life and death." (The Gospel of Luke - Moffatt).

Kistemaker sums up this parable - In the parable of The Pounds (Lk 19:11-27) Jesus teaches that not only Zacchaeus but everyone should prove the sincerity of his convictions and the genuine character of his faith by his actions. He should use to the best advantage the precious gift of the good tidings of salvation. He can do this by striving to win others for Christ, etc. He has no right to allow that gospel to remain unused. On the day of the final judgment Jesus, as King of kings and Lord of lords, will recompense each person according to the faithfulness he has shown, or the lack of it. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

Luke 19:28  After He had said these things, He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

John Blanchard sums up this section entitling it "From Jericho to Jerusalem"...Luke’s narrative focuses attention on three events that took place.

  1. The Praise that was Offered - Lk 19:28-38
  2. The Pain that was Felt - Lk 19:41-44
  3. The Purging that was Needed - Lk 19:45-48

Martin has this note on the importance of the Triumphal Entry writing that “All history had pointed toward this single, spectacular event when the Messiah publicly presented Himself to the nation, and God desired that this fact be acknowledged."

Constable adds that "The Triumphal Entry is only the second incident in Jesus’ ministry that all four evangelists recorded, the first being the feeding of the 5,000. This indicates its great importance in God’s messianic program."

Blanchard writes "The annual Feast of the Passover was now approaching and for Jesus to enter Jerusalem at a time when the authorities would be particularly alert showed great courage. There was an undisguised determination to kill him and people doubted whether he would risk attending the feast at all (see John 11:53–57). But Jesus knew that this was his God-ordained pathway and he was determined to follow it (see Lk 9:51). Not only did he enter the city openly, but his choice of transport was vividly significant. An Old Testament prophet had made it clear the Messiah would enter Jerusalem riding on a young donkey (see Zechariah 9:9) and here was Jesus fulfilling that prophecy to the letter. When they put all of this alongside the many miracles they had seen him perform (v. 37), the crowds went wild with delight, even shouting words from a messianic psalm to express their feelings (link Lk 19:38 with Psalm 118:26)."

Recall that Jesus has just finished a short but fruitful stop in Jericho (Lk 18:35-19:27) and in this section we come to the beginning of "Passion Week" which goes from Luke 19:28-23:56, followed by the story of the Resurrection and Ascension in Luke 24. Jesus' final journey to the Cross ironically begins with a "Pseudo-Coronation" as the crowds first acclaim Him as King but quickly turn on Him and deny Him as their King before the week is over! And so Jesus' "Triumphal Entry" into Jerusalem is a critical act in this final drama so it is not surprising that it is one of the few incidents in Jesus' life reported in all four gospels (Mt 21:1-11; Mk 11:1-11; Lk 19:29-38, John 12:12-19).

John's Gospel records some additional detail regarding the Triumphal Entry...

On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” 14 Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, 15 “FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION (PREVIOUS QUOTED FROM J; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY’S COLT.” 16 These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him. 17So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him. 18For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.” (John 12:12-19)

After - This is an expression of time and means "in the time following." It helps mark the sequence of events.

He had said these things - These things should prompt the question "What things," which forces you to examine the context. Clearly it is following the "Parable of the Minas" that described God's timing of setting up the Messianic Kingdom on earth, explaining that it would not occur until the Messiah had gone away and received His royal crown. While the King was gone, the King's subjects were to redeem the time and give out the "Gospel mina" for which He would reward them upon His return. Jesus knew that the Jews would not recognize the time of their visitation and would reject the Messiah as their King. In John 19:15 "They therefore cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." (They hated the about's amazing what you are willing to compromise on when you are not willing to submit to His rule in your life!)

He was going up to Jerusalem - He was ascending to Jerusalem (17 miles from Jericho with a steady upward elevation). Jesus was taking the lead, for since Luke 9 He "was determined to go to Jerusalem;" even "journeying with His face toward Jerusalem." (Lk 9:51, 53)  Mark 10:32 describes Jesus "on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them."

Martin - Everything He did over the course of these days was designed to call attention to the fact that He is the Messiah.

What the Bible Teaches "Ascending up" to Jerusalem is the way the journey was described no matter from which direction the traveller came. From Jericho it was a physical climb of 3,000 feet. Luke can be divided into five periods in the life of our Lord by similar expressions. He was growing up (chs. 2, 3); raising up in the miracles of chs. 4 to 9; going up to Jerusalem in chs. 10 to 19; offered up in chs. 20 to 23, and raised up in ch. 24. (What the Bible teaches – Luke).

Kistemaker has an excellent summary of the significance of the "Triumphal Entry" recorded in all four Gospels...

1. By means of it Jesus deliberately evokes a demonstration. He fully realizes that, as a result, the enthusiasm of the masses will enrage the hostile leaders at Jerusalem, so that they will desire more than ever to carry out their plot against him.

2. Jesus forces the members of the Sanhedrin to change their timetable, so that it will harmonize with his (and the Father's) timetable. The enthusiasm of the crowds with respect to Jesus will hasten the crisis.

3. By means of this triumphal entry Jesus fulfills the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. (Mt. 21:4, 5 = This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’”) When the people hail Him as the Son of David, i.e., the Messiah, He does not try to restrain them.

4. However, He also shows the crowds what kind of Messiah He is, namely, not the earthly Messiah of Israel's dreams, the One who wages war against an earthly oppressor, but the One Who came to promote and establish "the things that make for peace" (Luke 19:42), lasting peace: reconciliation between God and man (Ro 5:10-11-note), and between a man and his fellow man. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke) 

In his book “And the Angels were Silent,” Max Lucado writes, “Forget any suggestion that Jesus was trapped. Erase any theory that Jesus made a miscalculation. Ignore any speculation that the cross was a last-ditch attempt to salvage a dying mission. For if these words tell us anything, they tell us that Jesus died...on purpose. No surprise. No hesitation. No faltering. No, the journey to Jerusalem didn’t begin in Jericho. It didn’t begin in Galilee. It didn’t even begin in Bethlehem. The journey to the cross began long before. As the echo of the crunching of the fruit was still sounding in the garden, Jesus was leaving for Calvary.”

SpurgeonWhen he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.” What a beautiful spectacle to see the Lord Jesus marching in front and his followers eagerly following on behind. They were going up to Jerusalem, where he would receive some honor but also where he would be betrayed into the hands of cruel men and put to a shameful death. But he went on ahead of them. As the shepherd goes before the sheep, not driving but leading. As the captain goes before his soldiers as taking the post of danger, so our Lord went on before them. It was far better that he should go first than that they should, for the disciple is never more out of place than when he outruns his Master. Rest assured that in whatever way of suffering we have to go in consequence of our being a child of man, and especially in consequence of your being a child of God, we will find that Christ has gone that way ahead of us.

Luke 19:29  When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples,


See map of Bethphage and Bethany (click to enlarge) as it relates to Olivet and the city of Jerusalem.

When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet (See Mount of Olives) - "Bethany was near Jerusalem, about 2 miles off" (on the Eastern slope of Mount of Olives, cf John 11:18) The exact location of Bethphage is uncertain but clearly was near Bethany.


Stein - Mount of Olives lies directly east of Jerusalem 2,660 feet above sea level. To reach Jerusalem one would proceed west down the Mount of Olives, through the Kidron Valley, and into the temple area through the Eastern Gate, later called the Golden Gate (see picture below). (NAC)

Now imagine the scene - Jesus is leaving Jericho and heading toward Jerusalem which meant that soon Messiah's feet would be touching the Mount of Olives as He went up the backside of that mount and descended down the other side to begin His "Triumphal Entry" into Jerusalem. Jesus knew the crowd would be at a fever pitch for they were convinced He was the King who had come to establish His Kingdom. These Jews knew the Old Testament prophecies that spoke of a coming Messiah Who would establish His Kingdom, such as the prophecy in Zechariah....

In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives (HIS FEET WOULD SOON TOUCH THE MOUNT!), which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south....And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.  All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.  (MY COMMENT: cf Zechariah 14:4, 9-11-note)

And this is exactly why Jesus gave the preceding parable "because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately." (Lk 19:11-see discussion of their anticipation of the Kingdom) Their prophetic interpretation was partially correct, but their timing was off, for Zechariah's prophecy was to be fulfilled at Messiah's Second Coming, not His First Coming. 

He sent two of the disciples (mathetes) - This same word disciples is used two more times in this pericope, but the other two uses (Lk 19:37, 39) are used more generically, to refer to those interested in Jesus, but not necessarily following Him as were the 12 (really 11) disciples. Which two did He send? Scripture does not say. There is a possible clue in Luke 22:8 (which mentions Peter and John sent on a mission) but we cannot be dogmatic.

Luke 19:30  saying, "Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here.


Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here Some say this was by prearrangement but others say it was by divine foreknowledge that the disciples found a colt in Bethphage just as Jesus had described (cf a similar prediction by Jesus in Lk 22:10). 

As Kistemaker adds the fact that Jesus "did at times receive information in ways which surpass human comprehension is clear from such passages as Mt. 17:27; Jn 1:48; 2:4, 25, cf Mk 10:33, 34. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

NET Note says that "The custom called angaria allowed the impressment of animals for service to a significant figure."  According to a custom called angaria, a dignitary could procure use of property for personal reasons. Of course this "Dignitary" was in truth the Owner of everything so He was only asking for what was His!

As discussed more below, Jesus proposed to ride into Jerusalem in a way that would be an unmistakable claim to the Jews that He was their Messiah, and their King as He fulfilled the messianic prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. 

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 

Stein - In this account the promised Son of David, spoken of in the opening chapters (Lk 1:27, 32, 69; 2:4, 11; 3:31) and in the previous chapter (Lk 18:38–39), enters the holy city itself. The “coming one” (Lk 7:19; 19:38; cf. Lk 3:16) has now arrived. In preparation for this Jesus sends two disciples to bring a colt upon which no one has ridden, for only such an animal was worthy of his royal entry.

A colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat - If you were raised on a ranch or farm, you know that it was not generally safe to sit on a colt that had never been ridden (i.e., unbroken), lest you soon find yourself bucked off and on the ground! That would not the case with the Lord of the universe, the One Who was not only the Creator of the colt, but also Lord of Creation. Once again we see (indirectly) that Jesus is in total control. This colt was created to provide a royal ride for the sacred use by the Lord (even as the tomb for Jesus burial had never been used (Luke 23:53).

What the Bible TeachesPlummer compares the unbroken colt to the virgin's womb and Joseph's new tomb, and this is excellent, for the Lord Jesus was unique in His birth, life, words, works, suffering, death and resurrection. Finding the colt, as afterward they found the upper room, not only met the need of the Lord but at the same time strengthened their faith. These two disciples were Galilean fishermen, more trained in handling boats than beasts, so to handle an unbroken colt was a new experience for them. He who was able to control the wild beasts in the wilderness and calm the waves of the sea found no problem in controlling an untamed colt. (What the Bible teaches – Luke)

Jesus' being able to ride an unbroken colt testifies to the truth of Colossians that

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. ("He holds all creation together." - NLT). (Colossians 1:16-17-note)

Kistemaker remarks "We notice, therefore, that there is nothing haphazard about the triumphal entry. Everything has been carefully planned and is orderly and appropriate, exactly as it should be."  (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

Colt (4454)(polos) is the young offspring of a horse or donkey. In the NT used of a donkey, foal, colt; joined with ónos, a donkey (Matt. 21:2, 5, 7; John 12:15). All 12 NT uses of polos are in the account of the Triumphal Entry. While the word usually refers to the young of a horse, the Gospel accounts specify that Jesus rode on the foal of a donkey, i.e., on a “young donkey.” This young animal had never been ridden (Mark 11:2; Luke 19:30). It is not surprising that a young donkey should be tethered close to its parent (Matthew 21:2).

BDAG -  it refers to a horse that is old enough to use then any ‘young animal’ [Aristot. et al.], the term being applied to any young animal born of its kind, from an elephant to a locust, depending on context;

Polos - 12x in 11v - Matt. 21:2; Matt. 21:5; Matt. 21:7; Mk. 11:2; Mk. 11:4; Mk. 11:5; Mk. 11:7; Lk. 19:30; Lk. 19:33; Lk. 19:35; Jn. 12:15

Polos - 5x in the Septuagint - Gen. 32:15; Gen. 49:11; Jdg. 10:4; Jdg. 12:14; Pr. 5:19; Zech. 9:9; The Hebrew of Zechariah 9:9 reads "Even on a colt <05895 = "ayir" = a male donkey>, the foal <01121 = "ben" = son> of a donkey <0860  "athon" = a female donkey>. Given that the Triumphal Entry is a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 the colt is of a donkey.  And so Matthew 21:2 mentions the colt and its mother "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me." Matthew mentions two animals, Mark and Luke only one. 

Norman Geisler -   MATTHEW 21:2 (cf. Mark 11:2; Luke 19:30)—Were there two donkeys involved in the triumphal entry or just one?
PROBLEM: Matthew’s account records Jesus’ request of two disciples to go into a village and get two donkeys. But in Mark and Luke, He requests that the two disciples get just the colt.
SOLUTION: Both animals were involved in Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. There is no mistake in the accounts because Mark and Luke mention just the colt (p_olos), and Matthew refers to the colt (p_olos, 21:5) and its mother. The passage in Matthew is pointing out the literal fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 which states, “Behold your king is coming to you … humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The Greek version of the OT uses the same word for colt (p_olos) as the NT passages. Matthew literally states that once the disciples placed their garments on the donkeys, Jesus sat on them, that is, on their garments. Matthew does not say that Jesus rode on both the mother and the colt. It merely states that Jesus sat on the garments that the disciples had placed on the donkeys. Perhaps they placed some garments on the mother and others on the colt, and Jesus sat on those garments which were placed on the colt. The fact is the text of Matthew simply does not say on which donkey Jesus sat. Mark and Luke focus on the colt on which Jesus rode, while Matthew mentions the presence of the colt’s mother. Her presence may have been necessary because the colt was so young. Mark 11:12 states that no one had ridden on the colt, and that the colt would be taking a passenger through a noisy crowd (Mark 11:9). Perhaps the mother was brought along in order to be a calming influence upon her young. (When Critics Ask)

Luke 19:31  "If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' you shall say, 'The Lord has need of it.'"


If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' you shall say, 'The Lord has need of it - Presumably the Lord had supernaturally worked in the hearts of the owners, so that His disciples would not be accused of robbery! This passage could be applied to all of our lives "The Lord has need of it!" Of course, in one sense He does not need anything, but in God's grand plan of redemption, He has given every believer a part to play and in that sense He has need that we play our part faithfully and fully. How are you doing in your part in God's drama of redemption?

J C Ryle clearly favors a supernatural explanation - LET us mark, for one thing, in these verses, the perfect knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We see Him sending two of His disciples to a village, and telling them that they would find at the entrance of it, “a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat.” We see Him describing what they would see and hear, with as much confidence as if the whole transaction had been previously arranged. In short, He speaks like one to whom all things were naked and open,—like one whose eyes were in every place,—like one who knew things unseen as well as things seen. An attentive reader will observe the same thing in other parts of the Gospel. We are told in one place that “He knew the thoughts” of His enemies. We are told in another, that “He knew what was in man.” We are told in another, that “He knew from the beginning who they were that believed not and who should betray Him.” (Matt. 12:25; John 2:25; John 6:64.) Knowledge like this is the peculiar attribute of God. Passages like these are meant to remind us, that “the man Christ Jesus” is not only man. He is also “God blessed for ever.” (Rom. 9:5.) The thought of Christ’s perfect knowledge should alarm sinners and awaken them to repentance. The great Head of the Church knows them and all their doings. The Judge of all sees them continually, and marks down all their ways. There is “no darkness where the workers of iniquity can hide themselves.” (Job 34:22.) If they go into the secret chamber the eyes of Christ are there. If they privately scheme villainy and plot wickedness, Christ knows it and observes it. If they speak secretly against the righteous, Christ hears. They may deceive men all their life long, but they cannot deceive Christ. A day comes when God “will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel.” (Rom. 2:16.) The thought of Christ’s perfect knowledge should comfort all true-hearted Christians, and quicken them to increased diligence in good works. The Master’s eye is always upon them. He knows where they dwell, and what are their daily trials, and who are their companions. There is not a word in their mouths, or a thought in their hearts, but Jesus knows it altogether. Let them take courage when they are slandered, misunderstood, and misrepresented by the world. It matters nothing so long as they can say, “Thou, Lord, who knowest all things, knowest that I love thee.” (John 21:17.) Let them walk on steadily in the narrow way, and not turn aside to the right hand or the left. When sinners entice them, and weak brethren say, “Spare thyself,” let them reply, “My Master is looking at me. I desire to live and move as in the sight of Christ.”

We see that Jesus calls Himself "Lord" (kurios), the One to Whom all things belong, including even the colt the disciples were to fetch! 

Matthew adds (words in bold)

"If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” (Mt 21:3)

Mark adds (words in bold)

“If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ you say, ‘The Lord has need of it’; and immediately he will send it back here.” 4 They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they *untied it. 5 Some of the bystanders were saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission.(Mark 11:3-6)

Spurgeon - The word of the King was again with power, and the owners of the colt were willing to let the animal go since the King had “need of him.” They may have been secret disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we have no information upon that point. Our King’s warrant runs anywhere; and even when his personal presence is not consciously realized, his royal and divine word still rules the minds and hearts of men.

Luke 19:32  So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them.


So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them - Notice the unquestioning obedience of the two disciples. So here is the lesson for us - Do what Jesus says – even when it doesn’t make sense! (But you had better be sure it is Jesus Who speaks through His Word, prayer, circumstances, Spirit urging - I will never forget sharing Jesus with a woman who said "I know Him. He came into my bedroom one night and told me to divorce my husband." I was aghast and asked how she responded? To my utter shock she replied "I divorced him!" Beloved, that was not our Jesus Who hates divorce! So be sure it is Jesus telling you to "untie the colt" before you "untie the colt" so to speak!). Imagine what finding everything "just as He had told them" did to these two disciples faith. Obedience brings blessing beloved!

Brian Bill adds "While the disciples obeyed without asking any questions, I wonder what was really going through their minds. You may recall that shortly before this, the disciples were arguing about who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom. They were hoping Jesus was going to set up His cabinet and begin His reign in Jerusalem. But, instead of ruling, the disciples find themselves running errands and saddling donkeys, not marching in places of honor. Nevertheless, they did what Jesus said – even when it didn’t make much sense. One thing that becomes abundantly clear in this story is that Jesus is in absolute control of the circumstances. Friend, are you as quick to obey as the disciples were – even when you don’t understand everything that’s going on? When you discover clear commands in the Bible, do you follow or do you falter? Do you need to own up for any deliberate deeds of disobedience right now? I like how Pastor Steven Cole summarizes this entire passage: “We must follow Jesus because He is Lord, not just because of what He can do for us.” (Sermon)

Just as He had told them speaks of Jesus' omniscience. Every detail was in His control. This particular fact is noted only by Luke. What Jesus promises will happen will happen just as He said without exception. Indeed, as Paul writes "For all the promises of God in Him (Jesus) are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." (2 Cor 1:20KJV) In other words the promises of God find their certain fulfillment, their "Yes," in Christ. 

Kistemaker applies the truth of this passage - A very important practical application must not escape our attention. It is clear from this passage—and from many others; e.g., Luke 6:13; Luke 10:1; cf. Mark 15:40-16:1; John 12:19; 19:38-20:1—that in addition to The Twelve Jesus had many other disciples, men and women who stood ready to serve him in various ways. There must have been a large number of supporters in Judea, Galilee, Perea, and wherever the Lord went. Whether it was a place of lodging, a colt, a room in which to celebrate the Passover, or even at last a tomb, whatever it was that he needed, if they had it these friends were ready to provide it. That one word, "The Lord needs it," was all that was required.Today, too, a broad body of true followers of the Lord and supporters of his causes is urgently needed, and this not only to follow directions that are handed down to them from "the top," the ecclesiastical authorities, but also to act independently: to pray, to study, to guide, to support the poor by word and deed, to encourage the fearful, to bear testimony concerning the goodness of God in providing salvation for sinners, etc., etc. These tasks should be performed willingly and eagerly. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

Luke 19:33  As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?"

As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?" - Mark 11:5 adds "Some of the bystanders were saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them (ABSOLUTE OBEDIENCE), and they gave them permission." The fact that others have no foreknowledge of this event and gave permission supports the premise that Jesus knowledge of the colt described in Lk 19:30 was supernatural. 

Colt (4454)(polos) refers to the young offspring of a donkey.

Luke 19:34  They said, "The Lord has need of it."


They said, "The Lord has need of it." - Mark 11:6 adds "They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them (ABSOLUTE OBEDIENCE), and they gave them permission." This is the second mention that "the Lord has need" which is an amazing statement taken by itself. That the Creator of everything would need anything should boggle our minds! This is just another reminder of Jesus' incomparable love for us that He took on the form of a bondservant and He did it for you and for me! Blessed benevolence to beggars such as us! We can apply this to our life, for our Master still has "need" for us to do His work until He returns! That the omnipotent One would not need us goes without saying, which makes His call on our life even that much more of a holy privilege. Don't squander your once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the need of your Master! 

The Old Testament prophesied that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem on a donkey, presenting Himself as King of the Jews

Zechariah 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your KING is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 

Matthew 21:3-5 notes that these words literally fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy in Zechariah 9:9 and should have been a significant clue alerting the Jews that the King had arrived on the scene. And to some degree as their subsequent actions (Lk 19:36, Mt 21:8-9) demonstrated they were indeed proclaiming Jesus as their King.

“If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:  5 “SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’” (Matthew 21:3-5)

Of course one of the major problems with the Jewish interpretations of the Old Testament Messianic passages was that they generally failed to see a clear distinction between Messiah's First and Second Coming. Thus they would have failed to understand that Zechariah's very next passage was a prophecy not of Messiah's First but of His Second Coming....

I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; and the bow of war will be cut off (cf Zechariah 13:2-note, Zechariah 14:3-4-note). And He will speak peace to the nations (AFTER HE HAS DEFEATED ALL HIS FOES - cf Rev 19:16-21-note, cf Messiah the Stone in Da 2:35-note, Da 2:44-45-note); and His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:10)

John records

And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, "FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY'S COLT." (John 12:14-15)

The donkey (or mule) was a beast fit for a king:

The king said to them, “Take with you the servants of your lord, and have my son Solomon ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon. (1 Ki 1:33)

“The king has also sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites; and they have made him ride on the king’s mule. (1 Ki 1:44)


Read: Luke 19:29-40

The Lord has need of him. —Luke 19:34

As Jesus approached Jerusalem for the last time, He sent two disciples into the city to bring Him a donkey. He told them, “If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it’” (Luke 19:31).

As we approach our sunset years, we may ask ourselves, “Can I still be useful to God? Is there some service I can render that will fill my days with significance? Am I needed?”

Of course you are! God needs you just as He needed the donkey to carry Him through the streets of Jerusalem. He has always needed something or someone to get His work done. He still has useful work for you to do.

Perhaps your work will be one brief task, like the donkey’s single act of service. Or it may be some activity that will fully occupy your years until your Master calls you home. It may be an opportunity to share your faith with someone, to intercede for him, or to love him through quiet acts of mercy, friendly visits, or to extend some small courtesy. There will always be something for you to do.

In the meantime, you and I must stand and wait, preparing ourselves through prayer, Bible reading, and quiet listening—ready for the moment that our Lord has need of us.

Will you be ready when He needs you?

God has work for all His children, regardless of age or ability.

By David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

F B Meyer -   They said, The Lord hath need of him.
Oh, could I hear Thee say as much of me, my blessed Lord! Here, where two ways meet, I have been standing long, waiting for a purpose worthy to fill my soul, and task the powers that are, as yet, only in the first burst of young life.
Thou needest much and many in thy great redemptive work. The boat to cross the lake; the line to catch the fish; the bread and fish to feed the crowds; the baskets to gather up the fragments; the chalice to hold the wine; the dish to hold the sop; the little child to be the text for thy sermon; the clay for the blind man’s eyes; the tender women to minister of their substance; the apostles to preach thy Gospel. Canst Thou not find a niche for me also?
Thou requirest undivided loyalty. — Born of the Virgin’s womb, laid in death where man’s dust had never come, Thou must have a colt on which none had ever sat. I cannot give Thee a heart which has never known another; but I profess to Thee that there is no rival now. Thou mayest have all. Thine is the Kingdom.
Thou requirest patience and humility. — But these, also, Thou hast taught. I have waited patiently till this glad hour, and am quieted and humbled like a weaned child. No longer do I seek great things for myself. It is enough for me to be and do anything, if only Thou shalt be glorified.
Thou requirest, perhaps, but one brief service. — To serve Thee always with increasing fervour would be my choice; but if Thou needest only one brief, glad hour of ministry, like that the good Ananias did to thy Church when he ministered to Saul, then be it so. To prepare for it, and revert to ii, would be my satisfaction in having lived. 

Luke 19:35  They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it.

They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it (cf similar action in 2 Ki 9:13) - They did not spare the best they had (their valuable coats) for Jesus, a good lesson for all who follow the Lord!

Coats (2440)(himation) describes a garment of any sort, but especially an outer garment. Zodhiates speaks to the importance of this coat writing that "The himation seems to have been a large piece of woolen cloth nearly square, which was wrapped around the body or fastened about the shoulders, and served also to wrap oneself in at night (Ex 22:26, 27); hence it might not be taken by a creditor, though the tunic could be (cf. Mt 5:40; Lu 6:29 [see Matt. 9:20, 21, 14:36; John 19:2; Acts 12:8])." (Word Study NT)

Matthew adds an interesting detail...

Matthew 21:7 - "and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid on them their garments, on which He sat." (Only Matthew gives this detail that it was the colt and his mother.)

Brian Bell adds "The disciples are instructed to bring both of them, perhaps so the mom could settle the youngster down. These animals were quite expensive, and we see in Lk 19:33 ('owners") that there were at least two owners who had gone in together to buy these donkeys. In our culture today, it would be like someone coming up to a bright red convertible Porsche, opening the door, starting the car and driving away. When the owner comes running outside you would just say, “The Lord needs it.” When the disciples were sent to get a colt, Jesus was putting into place yet one more very specific prophecy about who He was. In Zechariah 9:9, which was written some five hundred years earlier. (Sermon)

Mark 11:7-8 - "They *brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it; and He sat on it. And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields."

John 12:14-15 - Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, “FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION ( (the phrase "daughter of Zion" is an idiom for the inhabitants of Jerusalem: "people of Zion"); BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY’S COLT.” (Quoting Zech 9:9) (John 12:14-15)

What the Bible TeachesThe triumphal entry into Jerusalem is not only the culmination of the journey that began at Luke 9:51-note, and the fulfillment of the prophecy by Zechariah 9:9, it is one of the most important events in the life and ministry of the Lord. It is recorded in all four Gospels which is not true of His birth, temptation, transfiguration nor the Gethsemane experience. If He had not ridden on the colt in fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy, they the nation would have had some excuse for not knowing Him. At the time of this entry He proclaimed His kingship publicly and officially (What the Bible teaches – Luke)

Related Resource:

  • Why would a king ride a donkey instead of a warhorse (Zechariah 9:9-10)? - Many have wondered why the king mentioned in Zechariah 9:9-10 would ride a donkey into Jerusalem rather than a warhorse. It seems an odd choice for royalty. Kings ride chargers, don’t they? In the ancient Middle Eastern world, leaders rode horses if they rode to war, but donkeys if they came in peace. First Kings 1:33 mentions Solomon riding a donkey on the day he was recognized as the new king of Israel. Other instances of leaders riding donkeys are Judges 5:10; 10:4; 12:14; and 2 Samuel 16:2. The mention of a donkey in Zechariah 9:9-10 fits the description of a king who would be “righteous and having salvation, gentle.” Rather than riding to conquer, this king would enter in peace. Zechariah 9:10 highlights this peace: “I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

    Note the many details symbolic of peace:
    - “Take away the chariots”: an end to the main vehicle of war.
    - “Take away . . . the war-horses”: no need for horses used in war.
    - “The battle bow will be broken”: no need for bows or arrows for fighting.
    - “He will proclaim peace to the nations”: His message will be one of reconciliation.
    - “His rule shall be from sea to sea”: the King will control extended territory with no enemies of concern.

    Jesus fulfills this prophecy of Zechariah. The worldwide peace proclaimed by this humble King will be a fulfillment of the angels’ song in Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (NKJV). Significantly, Jacob’s blessing on his son Judah includes a reference to a donkey and a donkey’s foal (Genesis 49:11). Jesus is from the tribe of Judah.

    Zechariah 9:9 was fulfilled by the triumphal entry as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19).

Luke 19:36  As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road.


KistemakerAt this point it is important to take note of the fact that the crowd that accompanied Jesus as he started out from Bethany does not remain the only one that participates in the activities pertaining to the triumphal entry. A caravan of pilgrims had arrived at Jerusalem previously. Having heard that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead and was now on his way toward the city, these people came pouring out of the eastern gate to meet him. With fronds cut from palm trees they go forth to welcome Jesus (John 12:1, 12, 13a, 18). Having done so they turn around and, as it were, lead Jesus down the western slope of the mount of Olives and so into the city. The crowd from Bethany continues to follow. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road - This was an honor bestowed on a king and expressed their submission to Jesus as their King. The idea is that they were "in effect" placing themselves under His feet. So instead of doing it physically people would throw their coats beneath His path. 

In 2 Kings 9:13  we see a similar act of casting cloaks in the path of one acclaimed as king....

"Then they hurried and each man took his garment and placed it under him on the bare steps, and blew the trumpet, saying, “Jehu is king!” Then they hurried and each man took his garment and placed it under him on the bare steps, and blew the trumpet, saying, "Jehu is king!"

Mark has 

And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. (Mark 11:8)

Matthew adds

"And most of the multitude spread their garments in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees, (NOTE: ONLY JOHN TELLS US THEY WERE PALM TREES) and spreading them in the road." (Mt 21:8)

Comment: Luke says nothing about the spreading of branches, but all the other Gospels mention branches (which only John identifies as palm branches). And so the crowd is throwing the palm branches on Jesus' path. John seems to suggest that the crowd was also waving the palm branches (although waving n is not definitely stated) as they were shouting "Hosanna!" (which means "Save Now" or "Save, we pray.") Take a moment of respite to play and worship the coming King as you sing along with Hillsong's live version of  Hosanna

John records

On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! (cf Mt 21:9, 15, Mk 11:9-10) BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” 14 Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, 15 “FEAR NOT (from Isaiah 40:9 and the following from Zechariah 9:9) DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY’S COLT.” 16 These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him. (John 12:12-16)

Comment: In Jn 12:16 what is these things? This refers to the Old Testament prophecies such as the one quoted here in John 12:13 from Psalm 118:25-26 and John 12:15 from Isaiah 40:9 (the "fear not") combined with Zechariah 9:9. Recall that after His resurrection, Luke records "Now He (THE RESURRECTED LORD) said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures"  (Lk 24:44-45-note). 

Due to the fact that palm branches (Luke does not mention palm branches, only Jn 12:13) were placed before Him, this day is often called "Palm Sunday." The event is recorded in Matthew 21:1-9; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-15. All accounts agree in substance with each adding certain detail. Some writers suggest that the chronology of events favors Jesus' entry on Monday rather than Sunday (see John MacArthur's sermon). 

Brian Bill on cloaks - Can you imagine what all this commotion would have done to the colt? Remember, it had never been ridden before and now Jesus was on its back, the crowd was shouting, and cloaks and branches were being laid in front of it as it walked down the hill toward Jerusalem. The laying of cloaks on the road would be like rolling out the red carpet for someone today. In 2 Kings 9:13, people spread cloaks under King Jehu as he walked on the bare stairs. The people recognized Jesus as royalty and gave Him the honor afforded a King. (Sermon)

GuzikPalm branches were a symbol of Jewish nationalism since the time of the Maccabees. The crowd looked to Jesus as a political and national savior, but not so much as a spiritual savior.  (Enduring Word Bible Commentary – Luke 19)

Brian Bill on palm branches - This was a common way to welcome a victorious King when he would return from battle. These palm branches were also a symbol of joy and victory and were placed on graves as a sign of eternal life. Since they often grew out in the desert near water, palm trees were a sign that life-giving activity was near. By laying palm branches on the road, the people were signifying that Jesus was the victorious King who gives eternal life to those out wandering in the desert of life. The gifts of the colt, the cloaks, and the branches all point to who Jesus is. What started out as a Jewish feast is now turning into a Messiah celebration. The colt was expensive, the cloaks were essential, and the branches were an expression of joy. Here’s the principle: The Lord has the right to make use of anything I own. Is He asking you to give something that is expensive? Is He longing for you to give something that you consider essential? Or, have you been holding out on an expression of joy? (Sermon)

F F BruceFrom the time of the Maccabees palms or palm-branches had been used as a national symbol. Palm-branches figured in the procession which celebrated the rededication of the temple in 164 bc (2 Maccabees 10:7) and again when the winning of full political independence was celebrated under Simon in 141 bc (1 Maccabees 13:51). Later, palms appeared as national symbols on the coins struck by the Judean insurgents during the first and second revolts against Rome (ad 66-70 and 132-135).” 

When did Jesus make His Triumphal Entry? Palm Sunday is universally acknowledged as the day of Jesus' entry but John MacArthur offers an alternative day, Monday explaining it this way - The Lord arrived at Bethany on the preceding Saturday with Passover coming six days later on Thursday evening through Friday sunset (John 12:1). On the next day, Sunday, Jesus attended a dinner in His honor at the home of Simon the leper (Matt. 26:6-13). Also on that day a “large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead” (John 12:9). His entry into Jerusalem took place the following day (John 12:12), Monday of Passion Week, not on “Palm” Sunday as Christians have traditionally believed. This chronology eliminates the problem of the Gospels having no record of Jesus’ activities on Wednesday, which would be the case if the triumphal entry were on Sunday. Since the events of every other day are so carefully accounted for, it would be difficult to explain why there was a day omitted in the account of the most momentous week of Christ’s life. Further evidence that the triumphal entry was on Monday comes from the Law’s requirement that the Passover lambs be selected on the tenth day of the first month (Nisan) and sacrificed on the fourteenth day (Ex. 12:2-6). In the year our Lord was crucified, the tenth of Nisan fell on Monday of Passover week. When He entered Jerusalem on that day, Jesus was fulfilling the role as the Father’s chosen Lamb (John 1:29, 36) in much the same way the Jewish people chose their Passover lambs. Completing the parallel, Christ was killed on Friday, the fourteenth day of Nisan, with all the thousands of other lambs; but as the one true sacrifice for sin. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 18-24)

Luke 19:37  As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen,


As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives - They are coming down the Palm Sunday Road crossing the Kidron Valley, which many equate with Joel's "Valley of Jehoshaphat." (Joel 3:2) The descent of Jesus down the top of the Mount of Olives, is a picture of the humility of our Lord, coming down from Heaven and now going down to be beaten and mistreated and crucified for you and for me! Yes he descended, but up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph over His foes!

Luke is the only Gospel that records that Jesus descended the Mount of Olives. 

The whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice - This is the only time that Jesus permitted a public demonstration on His behalf.  While Luke uses the word disciples, subsequently words and actions of many in this crowd prove they were not true followers of Messiah. In fact, even those who were true disciples, true followers, would flee the religious leaders and Romans because of their fear. 

Warren Wiersbe comments - This is the only time that Jesus permitted a public demonstration on His behalf, and He did so for at least two reasons. First, He was fulfilling prophecy and presenting Himself as Israel’s king (Zech. 9:9). How much of this the crowd really understood we cannot tell, even though they responded by quoting their praises from a messianic psalm (Ps. 118:25–26). No doubt many of the Passover pilgrims thought that Jesus would now get rid of the Roman invaders and establish the glorious kingdom. The second reason for this demonstration was to force the Jewish religious leaders to act. They had hoped to arrest Him after the Passover (Matt. 26:3–5), but God had ordained that His Son be slain on Passover as the “Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29; and see 1 Cor. 5:7). Every previous attempt to arrest Jesus had failed because “His hour had not yet come” (John 7:30; 8:20; also see John 13:1; 17:1). When they saw this great public celebration, the leaders knew that they had to act, and the willing cooperation of Judas solved their problem for them (Matt. 26:14–16). (Bible Exposition Commentary)

So who composed this crowd of disciples? There were three different groups in the crowd that day:

(1) the Passover visitors from outside Judea (John 12:12, 18) - There would have been up to two million Jews in Jerusalem at this time, most being there for the Passover.

(2) the local people who had witnessed the raising of Lazarus (John 12:17) 

(3) the religious leaders who were greatly concerned about what Jesus might do at the feast (John 12:19). 

John records Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. “If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” (John 11:47-50)

John MacArthur explains that the plan of the religious leaders "was to seize Jesus and execute Him after the Passover, when the massive crowds had dispersed. They were afraid doing so during the festival might trigger a riot (Matt. 26:3-5). But despite His enemies’ plan, Jesus would die only at the precise time predetermined by God (cf. John 10:17-18; 19:10-11; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; Gal. 4:4-5). Appropriately, God’s Lamb would be sacrificed on the same day that the people’s Passover lambs were being sacrificed, because He is “Christ our Passover” sacrifice (1 Cor. 5:7). The animal slaughter pictured the death of the one true and only sacrifice for sin (Heb. 7:27; 9:26; 10:12). (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 18-24)

Of course the crowd would include the "band of brothers" composed of 12 men (including one traitor) that had followed Him the past three years. 

For all the miracles which they had seen (Watch video - several clips depicting the Triumphal Entry) - They had just seen Bartimaeus the blind beggar given his sight (Lk 18:35-43) and Lazarus raised from the dead (Jn 11:32-42, 43-47) for starters! Since it was Passover, one of the three Jewish feasts that every male was required to attend, Jerusalem was filled with ''pilgrims'' and there must have naturally been many from Galilee where they had witnessed His miracles many times.

Jesus entry like a KING would force the hand of the religious hypocrites who had hoped to put off His murder until after the Passover. But the Passover Lamb of God had to be slain on Passover, just as God had foreordained (Jn 1:29, 1Co 5:7, Ex 12:5-7, Isa 53:7-10, 5-6). Every previous attempt to arrest Jesus had failed because His hour had not yet come (Jn 7:30, 8:20,13:1,17:1 cf Jn 2:4, Jn 6:15). The willing cooperation of Judas made the religious leaders' task more ''convenient''.

David Guzik This was the large crowd that came for the greatest holidays of Judaism – Passover. Many of them came from Galilee. When they came, they came with lambs. Jewish law required that the Passover lamb live with the family for at least three days before sacrifice (Exodus 12:3-6). When Jesus came and went into Jerusalem, lambs for sacrifice would surround him and everyone else.  (Enduring Word Bible Commentary – Luke 19)

James Montgomery Boice - Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells us that one year a census was taken of the number of lambs slain for Passover and that figure was 256,500. In other words, with numbers this large, lambs must literally be driven up to Jerusalem throughout the entire day. Consequently, whenever Jesus entered the city He must have done so surrounded by lambs, Himself being the greatest of lambs.

Luke 19:38  shouting: "BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Painting by James Tissot (1836-1902)


In John 1:29 John the Baptist saw Jesus walking toward him and proclaimed “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (Take a moment to worship the Lamb and May the Spirit move your deepest being to profoundly praise the Lamb!) Then a short while later in John 1:49 Nathanael made the incredibly insightful declaration to Jesus -- "Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel." Now some three years later, it was the time of the Passover Feast in Israel and the time had come for Him to acknowledge before the nation of Israel that Nathananel had been correct in his designation and to fulfill John's prophecy as the Passover Lamb! (This video and song will break your heart dear follower of Christ!) Whereas heretofore, Jesus had stopped any attempts to at a public declaration of His identity as Messiah (Mt 16:20, Jn 6:14-15), but "in the fullness of time," the time had come to open announce and acknowledge that He was the King of Israel, the promised Messiah. As discussed elsewhere, many if not most of the Jewish crowd were hoping His arrival would bring the defeat of the Romans, but such was not to be the case in His first "Triumphal Entry."

A word of historical context - Whenever a Roman general was victorious on foreign soil, killing at least 5,000 of the enemy, and gaining new territory, he was given a "Roman triumph" (see description of the spiritual and political aspects of this great celebration) when he returned to the Rome. It was the Roman equivalent of the American "ticker-tape parade," only with much more splendor. The victor would be permitted to display the trophies he had won including the enemy leaders he had captured. The parade ended at the arena where some of the captives entertained the people by fighting wild beasts. Compared to a "Roman triumph," our Lord's first entry into Jerusalem was nothing, but that will not be true at His second "Triumphal Entry!"

So while Jesus' entry is traditionally referred to as the "Triumphal Entry," little did the crowd know that the "triumph" by their King would not be over a political kingdom (Rome), but would be a resounding victory over a spiritual kingdom, Messiah forever defeating sin, death and the devil!  In His second "Triumphal Entry" Jesus will return not riding a donkey and coming in peace, but riding "a white horse...and in righteousness judging and waging war...for from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron, and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev 19:11,15-16-note) If they had read Zechariah 9 with spiritual eyes, they would have understood that Zechariah 9:9 prophesied of Messiah's first "Triumphal Entry" and Zechariah 9:10 (see preceding note) prophesied of His second "Triumphal Entry!

Up from the grave He arose; 
With a mighty triumph o'er His foes; 
He arose a Victor from the dark domain, 
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign. 
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose! 
Play Up From the grave He arose!

Shouting - This is the simple verb lego means expressing orally and is in the present tense indicating this was a continual chant from the Jewish throng. Alan Carr points out that the Jewish crowds that surrounded Jesus were associated with a lot of shouting on three separate occasions in the last days of His life. First we see here in Lk 19:29-40 that the Jews shouted at His "so called" Triumphal Entrance into Jerusalem. Why were they shouting? Many had seen His miracles and His power over demons, over nature and over physical illnesses. Some were shouting because they were "were amazed at His teaching." (cf Mt 7:28). Some were shouting because they thought that He was their long awaited Messiah Who would bring in the Kingdom of God (despite the fact that He had just told a parable that clearly taught the coming earthly Kingdom of God would be delayed until His return as King of kings - Rev 19:16). They were shouting because they were convinced this was the One Who would deliver the nation of Israel from Roman domination and oppression.

Note that Matthew's version (Mt 21:9) modifies "lego" (shouting here in Lk 19:38) with the verb krazo which describes calling aloud, even with screaming or shrieking. It does not take much imagination to visualize the incredible uproar from the crowd! It seems to border on what we might call frenzy or even mass hysteria! They are convinced the Kingdom of God is about to come to fruition. 

Matthew has a similar acclamation shouted by the crowd but actually includes quotes from Psalm 118:25 and Psalm 118:26.

The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, Hosanna to the Son of David; ("HOSANNA" IS A QUOTE FROM Ps 118:25 WHERE "SAVE US, WE PRAY" IN HEBREW IS TRANSLITERATED "hôšî`ânnä"); (NOW QUOTING Ps 118:26 THEY SHOUT) BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!” (Mt 21:9)

CommentHosanna means "Save now" so the crowd is shouting Hosanna to the Son of David, the phrase "Son of David" was a another title for the Messiah (cf Mt 12:23, Mk 12:35) thus clearly indicating the Jewish crowd's acknowledgment that Jesus was the Messiah. Luke adds the phrase "peace in heaven and glory in the highest" in place of Matthew's "Hosanna in the highest!" (See What is the meaning of Hosanna in the highest?)

GuzikThis shows that the crowd, in shouting “save now!” had in mind political salvation from the oppression of the Romans. Yet the Romans probably felt they had little to fear from a so-called king who came without armies or the accepted symbols of power.  (Enduring Word Bible Commentary – Luke 19)

BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD - As discussed above, the Jews were quoting Ps 118:26 which reads "Blessed is the ONE who comes in the name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD." It is interesting that neither Mt 21:9 or Mk 11:9-10 say King, both having "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD."

Blessed (perfect tense) (2127)(eulogeo from eu = good + lógos = word) means speak good or well. "Blessing God" extends (shares) ourselves with the Lord, giving our word to be completely His– i.e. conferring ourselves to Him which fulfills the common OT imperative, "Bless the Lord!" Luke 1:64 "And at once (Lk 1:63) his (Zacharias) mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he was speaking, blessing (eulogéō) God."

The Discovery Bible says "Scripture calls us to "bless God"!  See: Lk 1:64,68, 2:28; Ro 1:25, 9:5; 2 Cor 1:3, 11:31; Eph 1:3; 1 Pet 1:3.  The distinction between "blessing God" and "praising God" is carefully preserved in the original Hebrew/Greek text of Scripture and therefore bothshould be practiced in true worship!  "Praising God" acknowledges (exalts) His work and character.  In contrast, "blessing God" means surrendering oneself to Him. The scriptural imperative to "bless God!" is frequent in the (Hebrew) text of the OT.  See Ps 103:1,2, 104:1, etc. Unfortunately, it was "eliminated" by the NIV (and other translations), rendering it the same as "praise God." God also "gives Himself away" to us as He blesses us.  A. W. Tozer, "God gives....but He doesn't give away!" Reflection: "Blessing God" means giving ourselves away to Him.  It is so important to bless God because this impacts Him forever.  Why?  The Lord never becomes more nor less than He has always been, is, or will be (cf. Rev 4:8).  Therefore what impacts God now....does so forever!  Meditate on this in light of Mal 3:6 and Heb 13:8."

In ancient times Psalm 118:1-29 was a psalm of jubilant thanksgiving that was sung by the Jewish worshipers in procession to the Temple as well as part of the Hallel which was sung/recited at the Passover Feast (see more on the Messianic overtones of Ps 118 below) By singing this Psalm at His entry, the Jewish crowd is acknowledging that Jesus was the promised Messiah and King who comes with the full authority of God (which is the meaning of "in the Name of the Lord"). 

Constable points out that "The repetition of Psalm 118:26 from Luke 13:35-note points to one fulfillment of that messianic prophecy here. There will be another fulfillment at the Second Coming. 

KistemakerThis is a quotation from Ps. 118:26. All the four Gospels include this line in their report of the triumphal entry (besides Luke 19:38 see also Matt. 21:9; Mark 11:9; John 12:13). It is a quotation from one of the Hallel Psalms sung during Passover. It is also one of the Psalms most often referred to in the New Testament. The others are Psalms 2, 22, 69, 89, and 110. It is a distinctly Messianic Psalm, which speaks about the stone which the builders rejected and which became the cornerstone (Ps 118:22). (Ibid)

MacArthur points out that "The crowd was not pleading for salvation from sin, but from the oppression of Rome and for the establishment of the promises related to Messiah’s reign. That hope led them to cry, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David” (Mark 11:10), which they fully expected to appear." (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 18-24)

Stein - Jesus’ kingship has been alluded to in Luke 1:32-note and in Lk 18:38–39-note (cf. also Lk 23:3, 37–38; Acts 17:7). In the preceding parable his kingship is seen as bestowed at his resurrection/ascension and exercised at His parousia. Thus the beatitude here is a proleptic announcement of Jesus’ kingship, which like God’s kingdom is already a present reality in Jesus’ ministry but whose ultimate consummation awaits the parousia.

Spurgeon applies this personally - They cried aloud, “Blessed!” “Blessed be the King.” We cannot bless God, and yet we do bless Him, in the sense in which He blesses us. Our goodness cannot extend to Him, but we reflect the blessedness which streams from Him as light from the sun. Blessed be Jesus! Have you ever wished to make Him happier? Have you wished that you could really extol Him? Let Him be exalted! Let Him sit on high! I have almost wished selfishly that He were not so glorious as He is, so that we might help to lift Him higher. If the crushing of my body, soul, and spirit would make Him one atom more glorious, I would not only consent to the sacrifice, but bless His name that He counted me worthy to do so. All that we can do brings nothing to Him. Yet, I desire that He had His own glory. 

Lawrence Richards on the Jewish cry "Blessed is the King" - Zeal without knowledge. It’s not unusual, but it’s sad. Jesus had just warned that He was not yet coming as King: He had to return to heaven and be confirmed in that role by His Father (Lk 19:12-note). So of course the crowds shouted all the louder, “Blessed is the King who comes!" The crowds were right. Jesus is King. But He was not yet coming as King. We may be zealous and enthusiastic. But unless we listen to God’s Word far more carefully than the crowds listened to Jesus, we will be as unaware of God’s present purposes in our lives.

Ironically, though the triumphal entry was a public acceptance of being the Messiah and presented a direct challenge to His enemies, it must have been a disappointment to many of His followers because He did not enter Jerusalem upon a white horse of conquest but upon a colt representing humility.

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest - This is similar to the angelic announcement at Messiah's birth "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." (Lk 2:14-note). Notice who has peace on earth -- those with whom God is pleased. And who are those? Romans 5:1-note explains that it is only those who "having been justified by faith...have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." This peace, the very thing the world desperately seeks after can never be found except through faith in Christ! What an ironic cry by the Jewish crowd who would soon reject their Prince of peace (Isa 9:6-note, cf Isa 9:7 describing Messiah's reign = "There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.") and bring untold horror on their nation, beginning with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD and continuing throughout the millennia, even to the horrible Holocaust of our day! And yet the worst is yet to come in the three and one half year Great Tribulation (Begins - Mt 24:15-note, named - Mt 24:21-note  also known as the Time of Jacob's Distress (Jeremiah 30:7-note) when two-thirds of the nation of Israel will be cut off and suffer eternal separation from God (Zechariah 13:8-9-note, cf "time, times and half a time," where "holy people" = the Jews - Daniel 12:7, 10-note)

A C Gaebelein - The angelic announcement was “peace on earth”; here the disciples say “peace in heaven.” Such will be the ultimate and glorious effect of the work of Christ, when Satan will be cast out of heaven, the heavenly inheritance redeemed (Eph 1:13-note), and the reconciliation of things in heaven (Col. 1:20-note) accomplished. All this and much more will surely come, when the King-Messiah comes again. Then there will be peace on earth, peace in heaven and glory in the highest. (The Annotated Bible)

Peace (1515)(eirene from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony is the opposite of war. 

Leon Morris ties in peace with Jesus riding on a foal of a donkey - The (donkey) was not normally used by a warlike person. It was the animal of a man of peace, a priest, a merchant or the like. It might also be used by a person of importance but in connection with peaceable purposes. A conqueror would ride into the city on a war horse, or perhaps march in on foot at the head of his troops. The (donkey) speaks of peace.” 

Tenney adds "He did not come as a conqueror but as a messenger of peace. He rode on a donkey, not the steed of royalty, but that of a commoner on a business trip.”

Sir Robert Anderson (The Coming Prince) adds that "No student of the Gospel narrative can fail to see that the Lord's last visit to Jerusalem was not only in fact, but in the purpose of it, the crisis of His ministry, the goal towards which it had been directed. After the first tokens had been given that the nation would reject His Messianic claims, He had shunned all public recognition of them. But now the twofold testimony of His words and His works had been fully rendered, and His entry into the Holy City was to proclaim His Messiahship and to receive His doom. Again and again His apostles even had been charged that they should not make Him known. But now He accepted the acclamations of "the whole multitude of the disciples," and silenced the remonstrance of the Pharisees with the indignant rebuke, "I tell you if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. (Luke 19:39, 40)

Brian Bill - On the very day that Jesus, the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29, 36), entered Jerusalem; families would have chosen their lamb to be sacrificed. This yearly reminder served to help the Israelites never forget that it was the blood of the lamb that provided their deliverance. Check this out. While the people are sacrificing their own lambs on Friday of that week, Jesus the Lamb of God is about to be slain once-for-all, for the remission of sins....The Sadducees, a group of religious leaders, had a tradition in which they believed the Messiah would show up four days before Passover. They took this so seriously that they kept the gates of the Temple open so He could walk in to his rightful place. Because of this, nationalistic fervor was at its peak and the Romans were on high alert (Paul Wallace, www.sermoncentral).

David Jeremiah - When Isaiah the prophet foretold the birth of Israel’s Messiah, “Prince of Peace” was one of the names he gave to Him. All the names —“Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” —reflected the heaven from which He would come (Isaiah 9:6-note). And when Jesus came and entered Jerusalem to prepare for His passion, the crowds called out, “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38). Heaven is indeed a Kingdom of peace. And when Jesus taught His disciples how to live in a world characterized by a lack of peace, He taught them to pray that God’s will would be done “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10-note). There is peace in heaven, and Jesus wants His disciples to have peace on earth until eternal peace is realized in the new Jerusalem. But how? Through prayer. The apostle Paul writes that when we commit every care and concern to God through prayer, the heavenly peace of God will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7-note). If you have lost your peace, get it back through prayer. Commit every troubling thought to God, and receive heavenly peace in return. (Your Daily Journey With God)

Martin De Haan (in "The Second Coming of Jesus") wrote the following on Peace in Heaven - There is peace, even though there is no evidence of it among the nations. Wherever Jesus is there is peace. Wherever He is not there is war. While He was here on earth there was peace on earth. Even the wild waves obeyed His voice when He said, “Peace be still.” Now He has gone to heaven and there is peace in heaven, for where He is there is peace. Notice what the disciples said at the last public offer of Christ to the nation as recorded in Luke 19:37, 38. Notice those words: “Peace in heaven.” They do not say as the angels did “Peace on earth.” That peace on earth was at the beginning of His work here. If the King had been received then, there would have been peace on earth. But now the King has been rejected by the leaders and He is on His way to the Cross instead of the Throne. The Holy Spirit must have put these prophetic words into the mouths of the disciples as they shouted, “Peace in heaven.” Yes, peace is not to come to the earth at this time, but He is still the Prince of Peace. In a few days He was to be nailed to the Cross, but He would still be the Prince of Peace. A few days after He would be laid in a tomb, but He would still be the Prince of Peace. Then He arose and came forth as the Prince of Peace and breathed on the disciples, saying, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” (Ed: Actually spoken before the Cross - Jn 14:27) Then the Prince of Peace, rejected by the world, went to heaven and took peace with Him and left war behind. While He is the rejected of the world there is peace in heaven. That is the only place, my friend, where you will find peace. There are only two places where peace is to be found today. There is peace in heaven because Jesus is there, and there is peace in the heart of every believer because Jesus is there as well. Where He is there is peace. Apart from Him there is no peace. (cf Peace WITH and OF God = Ro 5:1-note, Php 4:6-7-note) He is coming again to this earth. Israel will recognize Him and own Him (Zechariah 12:10-14-note), and He will bring in His kingdom of peace and righteousness (Ro 14:17-note) when this world will know no war for one thousand years. There will be no poverty or depression, but, rather, peace among men, nature, animals, birds and fish (cf Isa 11:6-9-note). That day is near....As we look about today we see in the darkening war clouds the outlines of the age of peace. It is near and Jesus said, “When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” (Mt 24:33, Mk 13:20). (ED: Dr De Haan founder of Our Daily Bread ministries had a plaque on his desk with read "PERHAPS TODAY!" - see related devotional).

"There is a soft, a downy bed;
"'Tis fair as breath of even;
A couch for weary mortals spread,
Where they may rest the aching head,
And find repose--in heaven! 

"There is an hour of peaceful rest,
To mourning wanderers given.
There is a joy for souls distressed
A balm for every wounded breast,
'Tis found alone--in heaven!"
- James Montgomery

The Messianic context of Psalm 118:26 BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD

I shall give thanks to Thee, for Thou hast answered me; And Thou hast become my salvation (salvation is the Hebrew Word Yeshu'ah [Lxx = soteria] and Jesus is called Yeshua today by many Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians). 22 The STONE (MESSIAH - cf the same "STONE" in Da 2:34-35-note, Da 2:44-45-note) which the builders rejected (THE JEWISH LEADERS "would not", Lk 13:34) Has become the CHIEF CORNER STONE.  23 This is the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.  24 This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. (WHAT DAY? John MacArthur = "Probably refers to 1) the day of deliverance and/or 2) the day the Stone was made the chief cornerstone, which they now celebrate." J V McGee writes: Well, he is talking about the day “which the Lord hath made,” the day of salvation. That day has already been two thousand years long, and “we will rejoice and be glad in it.”) 25 O LORD, do save (KJV = "save now) (COMMENT: Hebrew =  hoshi`ah na  = "Hosanna" cf Mt 21:9 "Save now" = "Hosanna" the word cried by the common people to Jesus when He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday of Passion Week), we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!  26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.  27 The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.  28 You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You.  29Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Psalm 118:21-28)

Comment - BLESSED IS THE ONE WHO COMES (Quoted SIX TIMES in the NT! = Mt 21:9 Mt 23:39 Mk 11:9 Lk 13:35 Lk 19:38 Jn 12:13) IN THE NAME OF THE LORD: Notice Lu 19:38 quotes it as ''blessed is the KING who comes in the name of the Lord.' 'This blessing was voiced by the people on Palm Sunday when Christ entered Jerusalem (Mt 21:9). When the leaders rebuked the people's praises (Lu 19:37-39-note), Jesus then gave the prophecy of Mt 23:38,39 to the Jews as a nation. This is the same prophecy as we see here in Luke 13, and there is no reason to not accept that He spoke it on separate occasions. 

Related Resource:

The King Has Come

Read: Luke 19:28-44

Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!—Luke 19:38

An American philosopher once asked, “If Jesus and Plato should return to earth and were to lecture on the same campus at the same time, which would I go to hear?” He concluded, “Who would choose to go and hear even so great a one as Plato talk about truth, when he might listen to the One who is the Truth?”

The cheering crowd that surged around Jesus on that first Palm Sunday responded much like that philosopher. They recognized that He had no equal, yet there was something unsettling about Him. Jesus rode calmly into Jerusalem on a donkey, although a stately war horse might have better suited the occasion. He visited the temple and then returned to Bethany (Mk. 11:11). The crowd had expected much more. They sought deliverance from Roman rule, but He came to deliver from Satan’s rule. They recognized that Jesus had come from God, but they completely misunderstood His spiritual mission.

Do we pay tribute to Jesus because of who He is or just for what He can do for us? To honor Him means to obey Him and to die to our self-centered nature. The philosopher recognized Him as the Truth and the crowd saw Him as their deliverer, but we are called to submit to Him as King, the One who has come to rule in our hearts.

To be a Christian is to be a loyal subject of the King of kings.

By Dennis J. DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The Way To Praise Him

Read: Luke 19:28-38

Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! —Luke 19:38

The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem a few days before His death focused attention on Him as Lord. When Jesus sent His disciples to get the colt He was to ride, He instructed them to tell its owners, “The Lord has need of it” (Luke 19:31). And when the crowds shouted their praise, they quoted Psalm 118:26, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38).

Jesus is Lord. His name is “above every name” (Philippians 2:9). As part of His title, the word Lord refers to His sovereignty. He is the King, and every believer in Him is a member of His kingdom.

We acknowledge Jesus as Lord of our lives by bowing to His authority as King. This means that we live in obedience to Him. We can’t be like the man who claimed to be a Christian and yet chose to use illegal drugs and live in an immoral relationship. When his minister confronted him, he glibly replied, “Don’t worry, pastor. It’s okay. I’m just a bad Christian.”

It’s not okay. Not at all! Not for a person who claims to be a follower of Christ (Luke 6:43-49).

Today, make sure you are honoring Him with your deeds as well as with your words. Then you can join with others in proclaiming, “Jesus is Lord!”

Take me as I am, Lord,
And make me all Your own;
Make my heart Your palace
And Your royal throne. —Pope

If you adore Christ as Savior, you can't ignore Christ as Lord.

By David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Who Is This?

Read: Luke 19:28–40 | Bible in a Year: Joshua 19–21; Luke 2:25–52

Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Luke 19:38

Imagine standing shoulder to shoulder with onlookers by a dirt road. The woman behind you is on her tiptoes, trying to see who is coming. In the distance, you glimpse a man riding a donkey. As He approaches, people toss their coats onto the road. Suddenly, you hear a tree crack behind you. A man is cutting down palm branches, and people are spreading them out ahead of the donkey.

Jesus’s followers zealously honored Him as He entered Jerusalem a few days before His crucifixion. The multitude rejoiced and praised God for “all the miracles they had seen” (Luke 19:37). Jesus’s devotees surrounded Him, calling out, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (v. 38). Their enthusiastic honor affected the people of Jerusalem. When Jesus finally arrived, “the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’ ” (Matthew 21:10).

Lord, I want others to see You in me and to know You too. 

Today, people are still curious about Jesus. Although we can’t pave His way with palm branches or shout praises to Him in person, we can still honor Him. We can discuss His remarkable works, assist people in need, patiently bear insults, and love each other deeply. Then we must be ready to answer the onlookers who ask, “Who is Jesus?”

Lord, may my life and my words express what I know about who You are. I want others to see You in me and to know You too.

We honor God’s name when we live like His children.

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

INSIGHT Do you sometimes struggle with finding the right words and right time to speak about Jesus? Your concern and hesitancy may be from God. There is a time to speak and a time to be quiet (Ecclesiastes 3:7). The Spirit knows the difference. Sometimes He is in the quiet moments and thoughtful actions that prepare the way for words later. Sometimes He enables us to fill a silence so ripe for words that if we don’t gently express our confidence in Jesus, it might feel as if even “the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Who Is This?

Read: Luke 19:28-40

Blessed is [He] who comes in the name of the Lord! —Luke 19:38

Imagine standing shoulder to shoulder with onlookers by a dirt road. The woman behind you is on her tiptoes, trying to see who is coming. In the distance, you glimpse a man riding a donkey. As He approaches, people toss their coats onto the road. Suddenly, you hear a tree crack behind you. A man is cutting down palm branches, and people are spreading them out ahead of the donkey.

Jesus’ followers zealously honored Him as He entered Jerusalem a few days before His crucifixion. The multitude rejoiced and praised God for “all the mighty works they had seen” (Luke 19:37). Jesus’ devotees surrounded Him, calling out, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (v.38). Their enthusiastic honor affected the people of Jerusalem. When Jesus finally arrived, “all the city was moved, saying, ‘Who is this?’” (Matt. 21:10).

Today, people are still curious about Jesus. Although we can’t pave His way with palm branches or shout praises to Him in person, we can still honor Him. We can discuss His remarkable works, assist people in need (Gal. 6:2), patiently bear insults (1 Peter 4:14-16), and love each other deeply (v.8). Then we must be ready to answer the onlookers who ask, “Who is Jesus?”

  So let our lips and lives express The holy gospel we profess; So let our works and virtues shine, To prove the doctrine all divine. —Watts  

  We honor God’s name when we call Him our Father and live like His Son.  

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 19:39  Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."


Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." - They are outraged that Jesus accepts the crowds adulation and acclamation of Him as Messiah and King! The considered this blasphemous. 

Pharisees (5330) see pharisaios - It is notable that this is the final mention of the Pharisees in the Gospel of Luke. Their hostility toward Jesus has been seen all through the Gospel and now is reaching "fever pitch!" John records their greatest fear

Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. “If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” (John 11:47-48, cf reaction of the chief priests and the scribes in Lk 20:1-2)

Teacher (1320) (didaskalos)  one who provides instruction or systematically imparts truth. While they refused to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah, at least they seemed to acknowledge the teaching aspect of His ministry.

Rebuke (aorist imperative) (2008)(epitimao) means to censure or warn His disciples. 

Disciples (3101)(mathetes from manthano = to learn which Vine says is "from a root math, indicating thought accompanied by endeavor". Gives us our English = "mathematics") describes a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal. Apparently the Pharisees viewed all those shouting Hosanna's, etc, to be Jesus' disciples, when of course the number of true disciples that had placed their faith in Him as Messiah was extremely small. 

Why the command to rebuke the disciples? Because the Pharisees for all their bad faults did have some understanding of the Scriptures and they realized that the multitudes were attributing to Jesus fulfillment of a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9 in proclaiming Him as King. 

Luke 19:40  But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"


But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" - This statement by Jesus is found only in Luke's Gospel record of the "Triumphal Entry." One writer quipped that if these became silent, it would lead to a veritable "rock concert!" 

This statement reminds me of Paul's personification of all creation in Romans writing that because of sin and in anticipation of redemption of creation from the effects of sin "we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.." (Ro 8:22-note) Are you groaning for the soon revelation of His glory and your final glorification at your future day of redemption (cf Eph 4:30-note)

Matthew gives a different response from Jesus to the rebuke of the Pharisees declaring...

“Yes; have you never read, ‘OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF’?” (Mt 21:16b quoting from Ps 8:2a)

Psalm 8:2  From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. 

Comment: Note that Jesus quoted not from the Hebrew text but from the Septuagint version of the OT (which is the case with the majority of the OT quotes recorded in the NT - they quote the Greek Septuagint rather than the Hebrew) - 

Here is the Greek of Mt 21:16 "ek stomatos nepion kai thelazonton katertiso ainon"

Here is the Greek from the Lxx of Ps 8:2 "ek stomatos nepion kai thelazonton katertiso ainon"

Why would the stones have cried out? Because God did not want the children of Israel to miss THE MESSIAH! (Ps 96:11-13 98:7-9 Isa 55:12 Mt 3:9 Mt 27:54 Hab 2:11)

One writer says in one sense the stones cried out in Matthew 27:51-52

And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;

Another stone that "cried out" was the one that was rolled from the entrance of the tomb in Matthew 28:2

And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.

Comment: This stone has in a sense being crying out ever since proclaiming the Messiah is alive! In fact a well known book was written about this event entitled "Who Moved the Stone?" by Frank Morison. 

Henry Morris - Even the inanimate creation is under God's control for He made it, and the opposition of mere men to the fulfillment of prophecy is no impediment to the Creator and Sustainer of all things. When God created Adam, He breathed life into the dust of the ground; He could do the same for stones if need be. (Defender's Study Bible)

W A Criswell - If men will not recognize the significance of this day, the rocks will find a voice to praise Jesus (Hab. 2:11). (Believer's Study Bible)

Matthew Henry - Christ's triumphs, and his disciples' joyful praises, vex proud Pharisees, who are enemies to him and to his kingdom. But Christ, as he despises the contempt of the proud, so he accepts the praises of the humble. Pharisees would silence the praises of Christ, but they cannot; for as God can out of stones raise up children unto Abraham, and turn the stony heart to himself, so he can bring praise out of the mouths of children. And what will be the feelings of men when the Lord returns in glory to judge the world!

Brian Bill - I listened to a sermon snippet this week by Kempton Turner. He said that when God called the frogs in the plague, they said, “ribit…yes, Lord.” When God called the flies, they said, “buzz…yes, Lord.” When God called a big fish to swallow a rebellious prophet, the whale opened his mouth and said, “Yes, Lord.” They all said, “Yes, Lord.” In our passage for today, the donkey obeyed and declared, “Hee-haw, hee-haw. Yes, Lord.” The rocks were ready to roll, “Yes, Lord.” And in Matthew 21:15 we read that the chief priests were indignant when they heard the children saying “Yes, Lord” by shouting out in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” I love how Jesus corrects them by quoting Psalm 8:2: “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” How are you doing at giving what Jesus wants – even when it’s not easy? Do you have moments in your schedule in which you stop and break out into adoration? When you come here on Sundays to worship collectively with others is it the culmination of a week of personal worship experiences or is it your only time of praise? Friends, God can make the stones cry out -- but He’d rather have men and women and boys and girls who worship Him spontaneously, loudly, and regularly! (Sermon)

Spurgeon's Devotional on Lk 19:40 - But could the stones cry out? Assuredly they could if he who opens the mouth of the dumb should bid them lift up their voice. Certainly if they were to speak, they would have much to testify in praise of him who created them by the word of his power; they could extol the wisdom and power of their Maker who called them into being. Shall not we speak well of him who made us anew, and out of stones raised up children unto Abraham? The old rocks could tell of chaos and order, and the handiwork of God in successive stages of creation's drama; and cannot we talk of God's decrees, of God's great work in ancient times, in all that he did for his church in the days of old? If the stones were to speak, they could tell of their breaker, how he took them from the quarry, and made them fit for the temple, and cannot we tell of our glorious Breaker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of his word, that he might build us into his temple? If the stones should cry out they would magnify their builder, who polished them and fashioned them after the similitude of a palace; and shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder, who has put us in our place in the temple of the living God? If the stones could cry out, they might have a long, long story to tell by way of memorial, for many a time hath a great stone been rolled as a memorial before the Lord; and we too can testify of Ebenezers, stones of help, pillars of remembrance. The broken stones of the law cry out against us, but Christ himself, who has rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, speaks for us. Stones might well cry out, but we will not let them: we will hush their noise with ours; we will break forth into sacred song, and bless the majesty of the Most High, all our days glorifying him who is called by Jacob the Shepherd and Stone of Israel. 

Stones Cry Out

Read: Luke 19:28-40

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I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out. —Luke 19:40

Every year it seems that Christmas becomes more and more commercialized. Even in nations where the majority of people call themselves “Christian,” the season has become more about shopping than worshiping. The pressure to buy gifts and plan elaborate parties makes it increasingly difficult to stay focused on the real meaning of the holiday—the birth of Jesus, God’s only Son, the Savior of the world.

But every holiday I also hear the gospel coming from surprising places —the very places that so commercialize Christmas—shopping malls. When I hear “Joy to the World! The Lord is come; let earth receive her King” ringing from public address systems, I think of the words Jesus said to the Pharisees who told Him to silence the crowds who were praising Him. “If they keep quiet,” Jesus said, “the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40 niv).

At Christmas we hear stones cry out. Even people spiritually dead sing carols written by Christians long dead, reminding us that no matter how hard people try to squelch the real message of Christmas, they will never succeed.

Despite the commercialism that threatens to muddle the message of Christ’s birth, God will make His good news known as “far as the curse is found.”

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

Keeping Christ out of Christmas is as futile as holding back the ocean’s tide.

By Julie Ackerman Link (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The Stones Cry Out

Read: Luke 19:29-40 

If these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out. —Luke 19:40

I received a letter from a woman who told me she had grown up in a troubled home. At an early age she ran away, began a life of crime, and spent time in jail. Later, ensnared by drugs, she felt that the only way out of her sin-darkened life was suicide.

At that point, because of the witness of two women who told her about Jesus, she put her trust in the Savior and found a reason for living. Soon she wanted to tell others about Jesus. She had some artistic ability, so she began to paint Bible verses and spiritual sayings on smooth stones she collected from beaches. She sold them and used the money to aid missionary causes. Those stones were her way of telling others about Jesus.

This woman’s story reminds me of what Jesus said as He approached Jerusalem a few days before His crucifixion. The multitude declared, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38). When the Pharisees told Jesus to quiet the crowd, He said that if the people were silenced, even the stones would cry out (v.40).

Of course, Jesus wasn’t talking about painted stones, but it is still true that even if our verbal witness is silenced, there are all sorts of ways to tell others about Christ. What “stones” can you use to tell others of your Savior and King?

Through transformed eyes, Lord, help us see
A world of people in despair,
And help us reach them with Your love,
To show them that we really care. —Sper

I'm just a nobody telling everybody about Somebody who can save anybody!

By Henry G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Pastor Alan Carr has a sermon entitled IF THE STONES COULD TALK

Palestine is filled with stones. Jesus had a lot of contact with rocks and stones during His ministry. He walked on them, sat on them, prayed on them, wept on them and bled on them. If those stones that Jesus came into contact with could talk, what stories would they tell? Today, as God gives me liberty, I am going to take you to several places when Jesus came in contact with stones. If stones could talk these would have a great story to tell. Let’s see if we can hear it today.

I. Mt. 4:3-4 STONES ON THE MOUNT OF TEMPTATION They talk of His Sinless Nature 

  • 2 Pet. 2:22; 2 Cor. 5:21 When innocent blood was shed on Calvary, sin  and Satan were forever defeated!
  • He is still our Holy Savior today!

II. John 2:6 STONES AT THE MARRIAGE OF CANA They talk of His Provision

  • Phil. 4:19 – He is still Jehovah-Jireh, "The LORD will see to it!" He is still "I AM" – Ex. 3:14
  • He is worthy of your faith!

III. John 4:6 STONES AT JACOB’S WELL They talk of His Mission

  • He picked the worse one in town to demonstrate his great purpose – Luke 19:10; Mark 2:17
  • He still loves old sinners today.
  • He is still seeking and saving all who come to Him – John 6:37
  • His mission is also ours – Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8

IV. John 8:7 STONES IN THE TEMPLE COURT They talk of His Forgiveness

  • He is a forgiving Savior – Ps 103:12 
  • When a sinner comes to Him, He gives full justification – 1 Cor. 6:9-11 

V. John 11:39-44 STONES AT THE TOMB OF LAZARUS They talk of His Power

  • He has the power to raise the physically dead and the spiritually dead as well! He is capable of raising up hell bound sinners Ep 3:20; Mt. 28:18.
  • He can take a life ruined and wrecked by sin, touch it by His grace and make it over again.
  • The touch of the Master’s hand.

VI. Lk. 19:40 STONES AROUND JERUSALEM They talk of His Glory

  • The context. Jesus was being praised and glorified and the religious elite got upset over it. He is still worthy and they still get upset. But, we still need to be actively praising His Name.
  • Praise is a command and not an option – Ps. 47:1; Heb. 13:15.
  • Don’t feel like it – Do you reckon Job did? Job 1:20-21!
  • I don’t want the stones doing my shouting. How about you?

VII. Luke 22:41 STONES IN GETHSEMANE They talk of His Agony

  • He battled Satanic attack infinitely more intense than what He faced on the Mt. Of Temptation, but He prevailed and drank from the bitter cup so that you and I might taste the sweet nectar of salvation.
  • Satan tried to kill Him, but He was victorious. Calvary was His goal and when He reached the cross, He finished the business He came here to do – John 19:30

VIII. Mt. 28:1-6 STONES AT THE GARDEN TOMB They talk of His Resurrection

  • Yes, He died, but He rose up again – Matt. 28:6. Now, He lives forever to make intercession for His people – Heb. 7:25. Yes, I am glad that Jesus died on the cross, but I am more glad that He rose from the dead. A dead Savior saves on one!
  • Col. 3:3 – Our lives are tied with His. We will only live as long as Jesus does!

IX. Acts 1:10-11 STONES ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES They talk of His Return

  • He ascended back to the Father, but He left us the blessed hope and promise of His return – John 14:1-3; 1 Th 4:16-18, Zechariah 14:4-note
  • Get ready, for this year might just be the year when the Savior returns to claim His people. 
  • The question is: Are you ready?

Conclusion - If the stones could speak you know what they would be saying? Just the same things that you and I ought to be saying today. As we stand here on the threshold of a New Year, we ought to get about the business of declaring His greatness to a lost and dying world. If the stones were to speak, they would be doing our job. Let’s get busy for Jesus and spread the message of His saving grace.

Luke 19:41  When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it,


Luke 19:41-44 is only found in the Gospel of Luke, neither Matthew or Mark's versions prophesying in this section of the coming destruction of Jerusalem.

Spurgeon - What a contrast! The King’s courtiers shouting for joy, and the King himself weeping over the guilty city where the greatest tragedy in the history of the whole universe was about to take place. The King saw, in the near and more remote future, what no one else could see, so, “when he was come near, and beheld the city, he wept over it.”

When He approached Jerusalem - As he ascended from the other side of the Mount of Olives from Bethphage and Bethany the city would come into view as He reached the top of the mountain and could see the Temple on Temple Mount (His Own House!). 

Now take a moment and image this incredible scene. The crowd is rejoicing and shouting the words from the Messianic Psalm 118:26, even proclaiming Him as the "King of Israel" and yet Jesus, as He sees the city, begins sobbing, a visible show of emotion which would have been obvious to all who could see Him. One wonders what went through their minds at this "strange moment?" This has to be one of the most tragic, ironic contrasts in all of human history. On one hand, the Jews are expressing unbridled jubilance, while on the other hand, Jesus was expressing profound sorrow (an emotion of great sadness associated with loss or bereavement coming from deep within His Holy Being)! Let me apply this picture of Jesus seeing His sinful, rebellious city, for it makes me wonder whether Jesus weeps deeply now in Heaven when He sees us, His very own possession, (and He does see us) willfully turning away from His holy law and commiting heinous sin? Oh my! May our prayer frequently be that of God's choice servant David who sinned woefully against God and yet who God later declared to be "a man after My  heart who will do all My will." (Acts 13:22). Let us pray "Keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins. Let them not rule over (Lxx = katakurieuo = bring into subjection , gain dominion over, become master over, overpower) me. Then I will be blameless,and I shall be acquitted of great transgression." (Ps 19:13-note). Amen!

A C Gaebelein - Before He utters the great prophecy announcing the doom of the city, He weeps. What a glimpse it gives of the loving heart of the Saviour-King, the friend of sinners!

He saw the city and wept over it - In John 11:35 when Lazarus died "Jesus wept," but wept there is the a different Greek verb dakruo (root word of English "tears") which means "He shed a tear," speaking of a quiet expression of grief. Now in His final approach to the Holy City He is in deep agony weeping and sobbing over the "death" (and coming destruction) of the city and the entire nation of Israel, for in His omniscience, He knows they will soon reject Him as their Messiah and King, even though for a brief moment they put on an external show of acceptance. The English word that comes to mind is "fickle" which is defined as "marked by erratic changeableness in affections or attachments."

Jerusalem was the same city of which the psalmist had penned such an eloquent description 

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain.  Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion in the far north, The city of the great King.  God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold. (Ps 48:1-3)

The writer of Hebrews records that "In the days of His flesh, He (JESUS) offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety." (Heb 5:7-note, cf Lk 22:44-45-note)

Brian Bell tells this story - Finding his newly-appointed pastor standing at his study window in the church weeping as he looked over the inner city's tragic conditions, a layman sought to console him: "Don't worry. After you've been here a while, you'll get used to it." Responded the minister, "Yes, I know. That's why I am crying." The question for us is "Have we gotten used to it?"

Jesus cried out a similar plaintive lament "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem" twice in the Gospels (although we are not told He actually wept).... 

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it! 35 “Behold, your house is left to you desolate (PROPHECY FULFILLED WHEN TEMPLE WAS DESTROYED IN 70 A.D.); and I say to you, you will not see Me UNTIL the time comes when you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” (Lk 13:34-35-note)

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 “Behold, your house (INTERESTING - HE DOES NOT CALL IT "GOD'S HOUSE!") is being left to you desolate! 39 “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me UNTIL you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” (Mt 23:37-39)

Comment: Jesus uttered this lament with a peculiar poignancy and pathos for the Holy City so near and dear to God's heart. But notice that while He uses the name Jerusalem, the city of God, it was a symbol of the entire Jewish nation, the majority of which refused to receive Him (Jn 1:11-note). Jesus' double declaration of the name Jerusalem is indicative of His deep sorrow. And so Yeshua with broken heart, sorrowfully laments over His beloved city. As you ponder these words from the lips of our King Who was soon to be rejected by the very city in which He would one day reign as King of kings, take a moment of respite from your study to play this beautiful but sad song Yerushalayim.  

Is is not fascinating that Jesus quotes the very same Psalm (Psalm 118:26) which the Jews cried out as He made His "Triumphal Entry" into Jerusalem at which time He accepted their praises to Him as their King. Of course before the week was out they would say He was not their King and would demand His crucifixion. And so in both Luke and Matthew Jesus gives a prophecy to Israel (the prophecy in Matthew 23:39 was  the LAST public prophecy given to the nation (the Olivet Discourse was spoken to His disciples). In this final prophecy Jesus warned that Israel would not see Him again until the pressures of the Great Tribulation (the Time of Jacob's Distress) caused them (see especially Zechariah 12:10-14-note) to welcome Him as the Blessed One Who comes in the Name of the Lord.

And don't miss the time sensitive word UNTIL, as it is filled with Messiah's love and mercy, for it speaks of something happening (Israel's Temple desolate) up to a future point in time, in this case Messiah's Second Coming which is more accurately called the real TRIUMPHAL ENTRY and the believing Jewish remnant cries out "Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!" 

SpurgeonAs he approached and saw the city, he wept for it.” On three occasions we are told that Jesus wept. The first was when our Lord was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. He saw the sorrow of the sisters and meditated on the fruit of sin in the death and corruption of the body, and he groaned in spirit, and it is written that “Jesus wept” (Jn 11:35). The third occasion was in the Gethsemane agony when a shower of bitter tears was mingled with the bloody sweat (Heb 5:7). The second occasion was here at the sight of the beloved but rebellious city. Our Lord, in weeping over Jerusalem, showed his sympathy with national troubles and his distress at the evils which awaited his countrymen. He suffered a deep inward anguish and expressed it by signs of woe and by words that showed how bitter was his grief. He is the Sovereign of sorrow, weeping while riding in triumph in the midst of his followers. Did he ever look more kingly than when he showed the tenderness of his heart toward his rebellious subjects? The city that had been the metropolis of the house of David never saw so truly a royal man before, for he is most fit to rule who is most ready to sympathize. Jesus knew the hollowness of all the praises ringing in his ears. He knew that those who shouted hosanna today would, before many suns had risen, cry, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” He knew his joyous entrance into Jerusalem would be followed by a mournful procession out of it when they would take him to the cross to die. Yet in all that flood of tears, there was not one for his own death. The tears were all for Jerusalem’s doom, even as he said afterwards, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children” (Lk 23:28).

Wept (2799)(klaio) refers to a loud expression of grief which can even include wailing out loud. So klaio can describe not only the shedding of tears, but also all manner of external expression of grief. This describes Peter's experience  after denying His Lord three times and going out where he "wept bitterly." (Mt 26:75; Mk 14:72). Klaio is used especially to describe the wailing and lamenting for the dead and indeed Jerusalem was in a sense "dead" and will remain "dead" until the King returns. Why? Because Jesus had done miracles and clearly shown the Jews of Jerusalem Who He was and yet they steadfastly refused to hear,  to see and to believe He was their Messiah. Jesus was also sobbing because He knew their rejection of Him as Messiah would bring about intense suffering and tragedy. In 70 AD after a siege of 143 days the Romans would kill (by some reports) up to a million Jews and take thousands more captive.

Luke's uses of klaio - Lk. 6:21; Lk. 6:25; Lk. 7:13; Lk. 7:32; Lk. 7:38; Lk. 8:52; Lk. 19:41; Lk. 22:62; Lk. 23:28; Acts 9:39; Acts 21:13;

Brian Bill -  Jonah looked on Nineveh and hoped it would be destroyed, while Jesus looked at Jerusalem and wept because it had destroyed itself. The parade suddenly stops. People see His shoulders shaking. Maybe He’s laughing. Everyone else is throwing up cheers while Jesus is shedding tears. These were chest-heaving sobs. This same word is used in Mark 5:38 to describe how family members were crying over the death of a young daughter when it says they were “crying and wailing loudly.” Jesus was not weeping because He was going to suffer and die. No, He was lamenting the lost and their hard hearts. He breaks out into loud wailing when people will to go their own way. I like how the Bible Exposition Commentary puts it: “No matter where Jesus looked, He found cause for weeping. If He looked back, He saw how the nation had wasted opportunities. If He looked within, He saw spiritual ignorance and blindness…as He looked around, Jesus saw religious activity that accomplished very little…as Jesus looked ahead, He wept as He saw the terrible judgment that was coming to the nation, the city, and the temple.” I wonder how much He weeps for the things that are happening in our country? Do you feel what Jesus feels – even when others don’t? Are you willing to let your heart be broken for those who are hurting and wandering? Ask God to help you feel what Jesus feels about their lostness and then determine this week to invite him or her to our Good Friday and Easter services. Surveys indicate that the majority of people who don’t attend church give the same reason when they’re asked why they don’t: “No one ever asked.” Your mission this week is to make the Easter ask!...His tears reveal His heart of compassion toward you. Romans 2:4 says that God’s kindness can lead you to repentance. As you focus on his tears, allow His kind heart to melt away your hardness and turn to Him. In Matthew 21:10-11, we read that the whole city was “stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’” The word stirred is where we get our word seismic. I can tell you this. When you totally submit and surrender to the Savior, allowing Him to make a triumphal entry into your own heart, seismic changes will take place. Friend, don’t put off the decision any longer. Welcome the King into your life today and worship Him. When you die, you may be asked just one question. The question will go something like this: Why should I let you into heaven? Any answer other than because you have put your faith in Jesus and allowed Him to triumph over your sins, is the wrong answer.  (Sermon)

Spurgeon - There will be no true glory for Jerusalem until the Jews are converted; there will be no return of Christ to that royal city until they shall welcome him with louder hosannas than they gave when he rode in triumph through the streets, and entered into the temple. The Lord grant that we may never reject Christ! Let us run, even now, like little chicks, and hide beneath the wings of the Eternal.

Steven Cole - On Palm Sunday, Jesus fulfilled several Old Testament prophecies, which I can only touch on here.

(1) Psalm 118:22-27. This psalm, sung by pilgrims going up to Jerusalem for the feasts, refers to Jesus, the cornerstone rejected by the Jewish leaders, and to the day of Messiah which God has made. In Hebrew, “do save” (Ps 118:25) is “Hosanna,” which the crowds called out to Jesus (Matt. 21:9). Luke omits that word, but he reports that they quote Psalm 118:26 as Jesus passes by (Luke 19:38).

(2) Zechariah 9:9 (see Matt. 21:5; John 12:14-15). Zechariah proclaims, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” This prophecy refers especially to Messiah in His humiliation. The word “humble” (Zech. 9:9) points to one who is not only humble, but also oppressed or afflicted by evil men. After the time of Solomon, a donkey was considered a lowly animal ridden only by persons of no rank or position. Kings, warriors, and people of importance after Solomon’s time rode on horses. The donkey was considered a burden-bearer, an animal of peace, not an animal of war. By riding a donkey, Jesus was showing Himself to be Messiah, in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, but not the exalted political Messiah of war that the people expected. In His first coming, Jesus was the suffering Messiah offering peace and salvation.

(3) Daniel 9:24-27. I do not have time to demonstrate the calculations, but the 19th century British scholar, Sir Robert Anderson, showed that Jesus’ triumphal entry fulfilled to the very day Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks concerning the appearance of Messiah the prince (see Alva McClain, Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks [Zondervanl p. 20). Note Jesus’ words in Luke 19:42, “If you had known in this day ....” What day? The precise day that God had fixed in Daniel’s prophecy. Before this time, Jesus would not allow His followers to proclaim Him as Messiah. But now (Luke 19:40) He accepts their acclaim because the day had come for Messiah the prince (cf "until Messiah the Prince" - Da 9:25) to be proclaimed. 

Related Resources:

JERUSALEM - The name Jerusalem means "city of peace" or "foundation of peace"; and the people were hoping that Jesus would bring them the peace that they needed. However, He wept because He saw what lay ahead of the nation-war, suffering, destruction, and a scattered people. At His birth, the angels announced "peace on earth" (Luke 2:13-14-note); but in His ministry Jesus announced "war on earth" (division) (Luke 12:51ff-note). It is significant that the crowds shouted "peace in heaven" (Luke 19:38), because that is the only place where there is peace today! The nation had wasted its opportunities; their leaders did not know the time of God's visitation. They were ignorant of their own Scriptures. The next time Israel sees the King, the scene will be radically different! (Rev. 19:11ff-note

The Moody Bible Commentary has very interesting comment regarding Jesus' weeping over Jerusalem in light of their coming judgment for rejecting their Messiah - The judgment of Jerusalem clarifies two issues regarding the history of anti-Semitism: First, the judgment was caused by the Jewish leadership’s rejection of Jesus as Messiah, not for being uniquely and perpetually guilty of crucifying Jesus. This contradicts the historic “Christ-killer” accusation against the Jewish people. Second, the judgment was fulfilled by the devastating events of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, not through the oppression of the Jewish people in their perpetual wanderings and persecutions. Beginning with Justin Martyr (who wrote of the Jewish people “tribulations were justly imposed on you, for you have murdered the Just One,” Dialogue with Trypho, 16), the church has frequently leveled both these false charges against the Jewish people, misunderstanding the clear teaching of Lk 19:41–44.


Read: Luke 19:28-41 

As He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it. —Luke 19:41

Heartaches—the world is full of them! A boy is mocked at school because he has an underdeveloped arm. A widow painfully remembers the day her husband committed suicide. Parents grieve over a rebellious son. A man tenderly cares for his wife, who has Alzheimer’s disease and doesn’t even know him. A minister resigns because of vicious lies told about him. A wife anguishes over her husband’s unfaithfulness.

Such heartaches have caused some people to drop out of life. Other hurting folks have gone to the opposite extreme, trying to lose themselves in a flurry of activity.

We can learn how to handle our heartaches by looking at the life of Jesus. His heart was breaking as He contemplated what would happen to Jerusalem. He let Himself cry (Luke 19:41). Then He continued the work He came to do—confronting sin, teaching the people, and instructing His disciples.

If your heart is aching, admit your hurt to yourself, to others, and to God. This will open the door to receiving the help you need from the Lord and from people who care. Then choose to get involved in life by worshiping, loving, caring, and working. As you do, your deep hurt will lessen and your joy will increase.  

God wants to bind the broken heart
And wipe each teardrop dry;
He'll calm and soothe the troubled soul
Who looks to God on high. —Brandt

Serving others helps to heal your grief.

By Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Through The Eyes Of Jesus

Read: Matthew 9:35-38

As [Jesus] drew near, He saw the city and wept over it. —Luke 19:41

Actor Bruce Marchiano wanted to see the world through the eyes of the character he was playing. So as he prepared for the role of Jesus in a presentation of Matthew’s Gospel, he prayed, “Lord, show me what it all looks like through Your eyes.”

That prayer was answered one day while Marchiano was filming the Lord’s heartbroken denunciation of the unrepentant cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida (Mt. 11:20-22). The actor began to weep uncontrollably as he looked at the people around him. He said that he “saw people living their lives in ways that God didn’t plan.” He likened his reaction to what parents might feel if they saw their toddler walking into the street as a truck was coming. Marchiano realized that compassion is not just feeling sorry for people; it’s a heartache so intense that it moves us to action.

As Jesus walked among people, He saw them as shepherdless sheep—spiritually ignorant, without hope, eternally lost. Moved with compassion, He taught them and used His supernatural power to meet their needs (Mt. 9:35).

Do we see people through the eyes of Jesus? Are we moved with compassion, not with just a passing twinge of pity but a profound reaction that motivates action?

Beautiful lives have they who bear
The burdens of those heavy laden with care;
Earnest are they who daily show
Compassionate service wherever they go.

Compassion is love in action.

By Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The Need For Tears

Read: Luke 19:37-44

As He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it. —Luke 19:41

Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, we were all overwhelmed by the images of devastation and hardship endured by the people of that tiny nation. Of the many heartbreaking pictures, one captured my attention. It showed a woman staring at the massive destruction—and weeping. Her mind could not process the suffering of her people, and as her heart was crushed, tears poured from her eyes. Her reaction was understandable. Sometimes crying is the only appropriate response to the suffering we encounter.

As I examined that picture, I thought of the compassion of our Lord. Jesus understood the need for tears, and He too wept. But He wept over a different kind of devastation—the destruction brought on by sin. As He approached Jerusalem, marked by corruption and injustice and the pain they create, His response was tears. “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it” (Luke 19:41). Jesus wept out of compassion and grief.

As we encounter the inhumanity, suffering, and sin that wreak havoc in our world, how do we respond? If the heart of Christ breaks over the broken condition of our world, shouldn’t ours? And shouldn’t we then do everything we can to make a difference for those in need, both spiritually and physically?

Lord, when I learn that someone is hurting,
Help me know what to do and to say;
Speak to my heart and give me compassion,
Let Your great love flow through me today.
—K. De Haan  

Compassion offers whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others.  

By Bill Crowder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 19:42  saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.

  • But now they have been hidden from your eyesDeuteronomy 5:29; 32:29; Ps 81:13; Isaiah 48:18; Ezekiel 18:31,32; 33:11
  • in this day Lk 19:44; Ps 32:6; 95:7,8; Isaiah 55:6; John 12:35,36; 2 Corinthians 6:1,2
  • But now they have been hidden from your eyes Lk 1:77-79; 2:10-14; 10:5,6; Acts 10:36; 13:46; Hebrews 3:7,13,15; 10:26-29; Hebrews 12:24-26
  • But now they have been hidden from your eyesIsaiah 6:9,10; 29:10-14; 44:18; Matthew 13:14,15; John 12:38-41; Acts 28:25-27; Romans 11:7-10; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16; 4:3,4; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
  • Luke 19 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • Luke 19:28-44 Why You Should Follow Jesus - Steven Cole
  • Luke 19:28-40 Jesus' Humble Coronation, Part 1 -  John MacArthur
  • Luke 19:28-44 Jesus' Humble Coronation, Part 2 -  John MacArthur


Saying, "If you had known --  The "IF" here is the "if" of a second class conditional statement which is determined as unfulfilled. The Jews could have known, but they did not know. Had they studied and believed their prophet Daniel 9:24-25-note they could have known that this was the very day about which he had prophesied almost 500 years earlier.

In this day (cf to the parallel phrase "the time" below) - When is this day? The Greek text is even more striking because it has the definitive article before day (te hemera), which identifies this as not just any day but as a very specific, unique day, a day the Jews could have and should have known! This is the very day about Daniel had prophesied, the day on which the Messiah would come into Jerusalem and proclaim (by His actions that fulfilled OT prophecies like Zechariah 9:9 by His willing reception of the Messianic adulation of the crowd) that He was indeed Israel's long awaited and longed for Messiah!

Henry Morris on "this thy day" (Lk 19:42KJV) - "This thy day" was the day when the Scriptures had said that Messiah would present Himself to Judah and Jerusalem as their promised King. The time of His coming had been foretold in Daniel 9:25, and the manner of His coming in Zechariah 9:9. A believing remnant had recognized Him, but the leaders and most of the people did not. On the very day when they should have crowned Him King, they set about to destroy Him (Lk 19:47-note). (Defender's Study Bible)

David Guzik adds "Jesus mourned over the fact they did not know the time of the Messiah’s coming, the day prophesied by Daniel: this your day. This your day was so important because it was likely the day prophesied by Daniel that Messiah the Prince would come unto Jerusalem. Daniel said that it would be 483 years on the Jewish calendar from the day of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the day the Messiah would come to Jerusalem. By the reckoning of Sir Robert Anderson, this was fulfilled 483 years later to the day (by the Jewish reckoning of 360 day years, as in Daniel 9:25). This is the day mentioned in Psalm 118:24: This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Henry Morris adds this comment on Ps 118:24 - This particular "day" was acknowledged as such by Christ when He wept over Jerusalem after its leaders had rejected Him. "If thou hadst known," He lamented, "at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!" (Luke 19:42).")  (Enduring Word Bible Commentary – Luke 19)

Stein on this day - This refers to “the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:44), which refers broadly to the coming of God’s kingdom but more narrowly to the coming of Israel’s King in 19:28–40.

As Adrian Rogers said commenting on Lk 19:42 "Jesus came on time; He died on time; He was buried on time; He rose on time; and He is coming on time. You can just bank on it."

So where is this day prophesied in the book of Daniel? This great prophecy is given to godly Daniel as an answer to his great prayer in Daniel 9:3-18, 19. While there is debate over the interpretation of this great prophecy, this debate stems largely from the fact that many interpreters refuse to accept Daniel's words literally, but instead choose to spiritualize, allegorize or in some other way obscure the plain, normative sense one gleans from a literal reading of the text. That said, here is the great prophecy, in my estimation one of the greatest in the entire Old Testament...

Seventy weeks (70 seven's = 490) have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25 “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah (Lxx = Christos) the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks (483); it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 “Then after the sixty-two weeks  (62 weeks + 7 weeks = 483) the Messiah will be cut off (karath = violent death) and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week (7), but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” (ED: IT IS TO THIS PROPHECY TO WHICH JESUS REFERS IN Mt 24:15-see commentary WHICH SETS IN MOTION THE LAST 3.5 YEARS HE CALLED THE GREAT TRIBULATION, JEREMIAH CALLED "THE TIME OF JACOB'S DISTRESS" in Jer 30:7-note AND DANIEL CALLED "A TIME OF DISTRESS" in Da 12:1-note) (Daniel 9:24-27-note)

Notice that Daniel 9:25-note says virtually the same thing twice - (1) You are to know and (2) discern which is somewhat synonymous with "know" but expresses the idea of knowing the reason for something by looking at it or giving attention to it. In the Greek Septuagint the Hebrew word for discern is translated with the Greek verb suniemi which entails the assembling of individual facts into an organized whole, as collecting the pieces of a puzzle and putting them together. To be sure Daniel's prophecy is somewhat like a puzzle, but puzzles are meant to be put together. Putting together the pieces of this prophecy does require one to do some work, but God is in the business of revelation not in hiding His ways from His people. And so His people, the Jews could have known down to the very day when their Messiah was coming. Even if they could not discern the exact day they could have determined the general time and that knowledge combined with the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 should have "nailed" this one down. They could have and should have recognized the very day of Messiah's visitation. 

So let's briefly summarize Daniel's prophecy (see chart below and also the in depth commentary on Daniel 9:25 for more detail) -  First note that weeks is a term meaning "sevens" so Seventy Weeks equals 490 and almost every commentary agrees the unit is years. So the prophecy is about events that occur in 490 years. The starting point is the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem which conservative scholars agree was Artaxerxes' decree in Nehemiah 2:1-8. Then after 62 sevens plus 7 sevens or 483 years Messiah the Prince would enter Jerusalem and allow the Jews for the first time to proclaim Him as their King, the so-called "Triumphal Entry." Then after the 483 years Messiah would be cut off which refers to His crucifixion. Sir Robert Anderson, former head of the Scotland Yard, wrote a book called The Coming Prince in which he gave detailed calculations that place the endpoint of the 483 years precisely on the "this day" which Jesus said the Jews could have and should have known!

As testimony to the fact that the Jews should have known THIS DAY it is notable that over the centuries that have passed since Daniel's prophecy of the 70 Weeks, the Holy Spirit has used the truth of this incredible prophecy to say other Jews such as Leopold Cohn when went to found a local mission to Jewish people which eventually gave rise to the .Chosen People Ministries. Over 50 years later a man named Moishe Rosen left that ministry to form what eventually became Jews for Jesus. This one passage, Daniel 9:24-27, radically changed an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and led to the birthing of ministries that have touched literally thousands of Jewish and Gentile lives around the world! Here is a quote from the Chosen People ministry

It was during these years of rabbinic study that certain portions of Scripture leapt off the page to Rabbi Leopold, especially the passages in the book of Daniel that describe the timeline of Messiah’s coming. According to Daniel’s timeline, the Messiah should have already come two thousand years ago! Cohn asked himself, “Is it possible that the time which God had fixed for the appearance of our Messiah had passed away without the promise of our true and Living God being fulfilled?” Cohn was perplexed…if Daniel was correct, then the rabbis of the Talmud were wrong. Rabbi Cohn decided to dig deeper, but after much searching, he could find no satisfactory answers for his troubled soul. One rabbi in a distant town advised him to go to America where people knew more about the Messiah, so Cohn immediately made his preparations to leave for the United States. (ED: And as the saying goes, the rest of the story is history or better yet "His-story" for every new creation in Christ is God's Story of redemption. Won't heaven be a joy as we will likely hear of all the manifold ways God's Story played out in the lives of millions of souls bringing them to a saving knowledge of the Messiah! Glory!)

Thomas Ice - The fulfillment of the seven and sixty-two weeks is recorded in  Luke 19:41-42, 44....A further value of the literal approach of Dr. Hoehner is that this prophecy provides an exact time in which Israel's Messiah was predicted to show up in history. "And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, 'If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. . . . because you did not recognize the time of your visitation'" (Luke 19:41-42, 44). How was Israel to have known the time of their visitation? From a literal understanding of Daniel's prophecy. In fact, this prophecy, along with Christ's fulfillment of every other first coming Messianic prophecy proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was Israel's Messiah.[90] Many Jews have come to faith, over the years, as a result of being challenged by this prediction about the time of Messiah's coming. It is clear that a literal interpretation of this passage is demanded by the text itself.

Reginald Showers of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry writes that Daniel 9:24-27 is "one of the most significant prophecies in all the Old Testament Scriptures" and is also "one of the strongest biblical evidences to the effect that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah....What significant thing happened to Jesus, the Messiah, on April 6, 32 AD? When referring to the end of the first 483 years, Gabriel said: “until Messiah the Prince.” Whatever happened to Jesus on April 6, 32 AD, it must have been related significantly to His being the Prince, the King of Israel. Sir Robert Anderson concluded that April 6, 32 AD, was the day on which Jesus officially presented Himself as Messiah to Israel through His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9 had declared that Israel could identify its King in the following manner: He would come to Jerusalem mounted on the foal of a donkey. Some of the crowd on that Palm Sunday recognized the significance of Jesus’ actions on that day, for they called Him King (Lk. 19:37-38). As Jesus approached Jerusalem on that day, He wept over the city and said: “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.” He warned Jerusalem that it would suffer great disaster “because you did not recognize the time of your visitation” (Lk. 19:41-44). Jesus’ language indicated that that particular day had been marked out by God as the time of Jerusalem’s visitation by her Messiah Prince-the day which could have brought lasting peace to that city if its people had accepted Jesus for who He was. It also indicated that the Jews should have recognized that that particular day (April 6, 32 AD) was the day on which Messiah would visit Jerusalem as Prince. Why should they have recognized this? Because several centuries earlier in Daniel 9:25, God had revealed the exact time" (The Most High God: Commentary on the book of Daniel)

Even you - It is fascinating that all the pronouns in this passage are not plural (as one might expect) but singular, as if He is addressing the personified city of Jerusalem as representative of the entire Jewish nation. 

The things which make for peace - What irony -- Jerusalem "City of Peace" had no clue as what made for true peace, most importantly peace with God! The Hebrew concept of Shalom emphasized peace or right relationship between creature and Creation! Without this man can experience no true peace. Here is my simple formula for genuine peace = Know God. Know peace! No God. No peace! So Jesus is not referring to political peace! Ultimately it is not what things but Who makes for peace. Messiah was the prophesied Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-note) Who would have indeed brought in the Messianic Kingdom of peace for the Jews and the holy city of Jerusalem just as had been prophesied (cf Isaiah 32:18, 60:18, Micah 4:3NASB-note, Micah 4:4NLT-note; Zechariah 14:11-note).

But - This term of contrast introduces the tragic contrast of what could have been (peace) with the consequences of rejecting truth. Oh, may we all be careful to never reject any word of God's Word of Truth! 

Now - This is but a single word, but it is an expression of time which functions in this context like a "curtain" dropping to announce the final scene in a play! It announces the beginning of a time of judicial spiritual blindness for the nation of Israel and Jews in general (2 Cor 3:14, cf 2 Cor 4:3,4, cf Isaiah 6:10-note). But praise God, He always preserved a remnant of believing Jews and there is evidence that globally their numbers are increasing in our day (March, 2018). One day every Jewish eye (as well as every Gentile eye) will behold the Messiah (Revelation 1:7-note), but even then only one-third of the Jews will recognize Him, repent of their sins and receive the Messiah as their long awaited Redeemer (see Zechariah 12:10-14-note, Zechariah 13:1-note, Zechariah 13:8-9-note, cf Romans 11:26-29-note). 

They have been hidden from your eyes - This has to be one of most tragic passages in all Scripture. Here we see that since they did not recognize Messiah, God blinds their eyes that they cannot recognize Messiah. This is divine judicial blindness. 

They would now be concealed from the Jews. What things? The things which make for peace...the Prince of Peace Himself...thus we must constantly intercede for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122:6) knowing some day a Deliverer will come out of Zion and then all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26-29-note).  So pray, pray, pray.

Hidden from your eyes is the antithesis of Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1:18-19 "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe." Note the key phrase "us who believe."  Keep the context in mind. When is Jesus making this pronouncement? The irony is that He is making this judicial declaration at the very time the nation of Israel is seemingly receiving Him as their Messiah and their King! Of course as the story goes, we know the cries for coronation soon turned to cries for crucifixion. The fact is they not truly receive Jesus as Messiah and King, for He did not fulfill their expectations of a King who would conquer Rome. And so instead of the eyes of their heart being enlightened, the eyes (of their heart/mind) were judicially blinded as God dropped a veil over their spiritual vision, which will only be fully removed when Messiah makes His "second (and absolute) triumphal entry" at His Second Coming (described in Zechariah 9:10), for then God promises (also through the prophet Zechariah wherein ironically we saw the prophetic promise of His First Triumphal entry in Zechariah 9:9) "I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me (THEIR EYES NOW SPIRITUALLY ENLIGHTENED) Whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn (NOTE THE IRONY - JESUS WEEPS AT HIS FIRST TRIUMPHAL ENTRY. ISRAEL WEEPS AT HIS SECOND TRIUMPHAL ENTRY!)." (Zechariah 12:10-note). Until that time as Paul explains "just as it is written, "GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY." And David says, "LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM.10  "LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER." (Romans 11:8-11-note).

Have been hidden (2928)(krupto -  English = crypt, cryptic) is a verb meaning to cover, to hide, to conceal, to keep secret (either protectively or for selfish reasons). To keep something from being seen. In some contexts krupto means to hide so as to keep secret as in this passage (Lk 19:42) and in Lk 18:34-note (But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.)

C H Spurgeon writes that "The Lord God appointed a set time for the coming of His Son into the world; nothing was left to chance. Infinite wisdom dictated the hour at which the Messiah should be born, and the moment at which He should be cut off. His advent and His work are the highest point of the purpose of God, the hinge of history, the center of providence, the crowning of the edifice of grace, and therefore peculiar care watched over every detail. Once in the end of the world hath the Son of God appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and this is the event before which all other events must bow. The studious mind will be delighted to search out the reasons why the Messiah came not before, and why He did not tarry till yet later ages. Prophecies declared the date; but long before infallible wisdom had settled it for profoundest reasons. It was well that the Redeemer came: it was well that He came in what Scripture calls the fullness of time, even in these last days."

Related Resources on Interpretation of "THIS DAY" in light of the Prophecy in Daniel 9:25

If Thou Hadst Known!-  Oswald Chambers 'If thou hadst known ... in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.' Luke 19:42

Jesus had entered into Jerusalem in triumph, the city was stirred to its foundations; but a strange god was there, the pride of Pharisaism; it was religious and upright, but a "whited sepulchre." (Mt 23:37KJV) What is it that blinds me in this "my day"? (Lk 19:42) Have I a strange god - not a disgusting monster, but a disposition that rules me? More than once God has brought me face to face with the strange god and I thought I should have to yield, but I did not do it. I got through the crisis by the skin of my teeth (ED: And I would add Ro 8:13b-note) and I find myself in the possession of the strange god still (cf Ro 7:21-note); I am blind to the things which belong to my peace. It is an appalling thing that we can be in the place where the Spirit of God should be getting at us unhinderedly, and yet increase our condemnation in God's sight. "If thou hadst known" - God goes direct to the heart, with the tears of Jesus behind. These words imply culpable responsibility; God holds us responsible for what we do not see. "Now they are hid from thine eyes" - because the disposition has never been yielded. The unfathomable sadness of the "might have been!" God never opens doors that have been closed. He opens other doors, but He reminds us that there are doors which we have shut, doors which need never have been shut, imaginations which need never have been sullied. Never be afraid when God brings back the past. Let memory have its way. It is a minister of God (cf Ro 13:4) with its rebuke and chastisement and sorrow. God will turn the "might have been" into a wonderful culture for the future. (Amen!)

Joseph Augustus Seiss (1823-1904 - Lutheran minister who interpreted the Scriptures literally not allegorically) offers an incisive analysis of the timing of Daniel's  prophecy in Daniel 9:25 in which he discusses the appearance of  Messiah the Prince, first asking...

To what point in the life of Christ, then, does the angel refer (angel's answer to Daniel in Daniel 9:25)?

Some say to His birth; but Jesus was not then presented to the Jewish nation as their Prince or King, though called "king of the Jews" by the Magi (Mt 2:2).

Some say the reference is to His baptism or His anointing by the Holy Ghost immediately after His baptism (Mt 3:13,14, 15, 16, 17, 21:11), or both; but not a word was then said to the people about His being King, but only of His being the Son (Mt 3:17) and Prophet of God (Mt 10:41, 13:57, 14:5), to Whom they should give audience.

And for more than three years of His ministry, in all His authoritative teaching and miraculous healing, He did not once make the slightest pretensions to being a king. On the contrary, when the people would willingly have crowned Him, and insisted on making Him their king, He peremptorily refused to take any such place, honor or title. But the time came when He did make profession and claim to be the rightful King of the Jews, and so presented Himself to the Jewish nation at one of the greatest of their national festivals at Jerusalem (Passover). It occurred but a few days prior to His Passion, and was one of the principal and most direct causes of His condemnation and crucifixion.

For the first time in His career we behold Him mounted as a king (Jn 12:12-19, Mt 21:1-9, Lk 19:33-40-note) with multitudes doing honor to Him and hailing Him with Hosannas ("Save us now") as the Prince of the house of David (Mt 21:15, 16). In the midst of the loud-sounding proclamations of Him as the King, He triumphantly rode into Jerusalem, entered the Temple, cast out all them that sold and bought in the Temple, overthrew the tables of the money changers and the seats of them that sold doves, and took to Himself all the authority and majesty of the rightful King and Lord of the chosen people, their Temple and their state (Mt 21:12, 13, Mk 11:15-18, Lk 19:45, 46-note).

And when the officials came to Him, insinuating treasonableness in these pretensions, particularly in the outcries which hailed Him as the blessed King, the Davidic Prince, He promptly answered, If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. (Lk 19:40-note)

He had to be presented to the nation as its rightful and anointed King; and this is when and how it was done. We make mistake on this point. Ancient prophecy foretold that the Messiah King should come to Jerusalem sitting upon an ass, even a colt the foal of an ass; and inspiration under the New Testament narrates this very scene, and says,

"This was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, Thy King cometh unto thee." (Mt 21:4)

It was here specially, emphatically and for the first time that Jesus presented Himself to the Jewish people as their Messiah Prince; and only to this point in His earthly history can the words of the angel literally and fully apply, for not till then did He come as the Ruler, the King.

We thus find the exact terminating-point of the angel's four hundred and eighty-three years. (Voices from Babylon or, The Records of Daniel - Online)

Luke 19:43  "For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side,

Jerusalem Destroyed 70 AD
Click to enlarge

For the days will come upon you - Jesus gives a prophecy in light of their spiritual blindness and failure to recognized their Messiah and King. 

You - Ten times in 2 verses (Lk 19:43-44) Jerusalem is personified as mother. This judgment is very personal!

When your enemies will throw up a barricade against you - Your enemies would prove to be the Roman army. To throw up or raise up BESIDE STAKES (plural here) so collectively designating a PALISADES or WALL OF STAKES erected by the Roman soldiers during the siege.

Throw up (3925)(paremballo from para = from beside, by the side of + ballo = throw) is used only here as a military technical term expressing preparations to besiege a city by throwing up a rampart of earthworks and/or surrounding the city with barricades. This was a standard Roman military tactic.

GilbrantThe word paremballō is related to parembolē (lit., "a casting in among from para = among + ballo = throw) which refers to an army or camp (in the Macedonian dialect, cf Heb 11:34). Its range of meaning includes “insert” or “interpose,” and in the intransitive sense “to fall in line” (cf. Liddell-Scott). It is also often used in military contexts with various meanings, such as to surround an enemy camp, to insert soldiers in the battle line, to assign soldiers to a particular area, to assemble in formation, or to encamp (Exodus 15:27). It occurs in some manuscripts at Luke 19:43, “Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee.” The Textus Receptus has the term periballō at Luke 19:43. The word translated “trench” is charax which refers to a fence stake or palisade. Hence, paremballō refers here to the erecting of some sort of physical barrier rather than merely encircling with troops. (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Barricade (5482)(charax related to verb charassō = sharpen to a point) is used only here in the NT and literally means a stake (as providing support for a vine) but by synecdoche, it came to mean timber used to fortify a camp. In short, charax referred to what is made by sharpened stakes, as in the stakes composing a barricade or palisade. It describes a fortified fence constructed of wooden poles with earth, stones, pieces of wood packed between, the purpose being to prevent escape from the besieged city. Charax occurs only here in the NT but 13 times in the Septuagint - Deut. 20:19; 1 Ki. 12:24; 1 Ki. 20:12; Eccl. 9:14; Isa. 29:3; Isa. 31:9; Isa. 37:33; Jer. 33:4; Ezek. 4:2; Ezek. 21:22; Ezek. 26:8. 

Enemies (2190)(echthros from échthos = hatred, enmity) is an adjective which pertains to manifesting hostility toward another. In this case the Romans would turn from an occupying force into overtly hostile enemies in response to the Jews revolt in 66 AD. See details of this First Jewish-Roman War (66-73 AD). 

And surround (encircle) you and hem you in on every side - In AD 70, Titus, the Roman general, surrounded Jerusalem with an embankment of wooden barricades often combined with earthworks (rocks, sticks, etc). The Jews in one of their sorties (a military action in which besieged troops burst forth from their position) destroyed this barricade, after which General Titus surrounded the city with a wall of masonry. This would normally take months to build but was built in 3 days by the determined Roman Army. This strategy cut off all hope of escape and led to the unparalleled horror that followed. The description is reminiscent of OT predictions (Isa 29:3; Isa 37:33; Ezek 4:1-3).

Luke 19:44  and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."


And they will level you to the ground and your children within you - to shatter against the ground. Jesus' prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 when the Roman army under Titus destroyed the temple completely. The destruction of the city and dispersion of its people was completed in AD 135.

What the Bible Teaches The Jews had rejected the testimony of their own Scriptures to the Lord Jesus. They had refused the powerful testimony of His own miracles, the moral perfection of His life, and the power and authority of His words which all felt. Willfully they had shut their eyes until, as Paul wrote, "the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost" (1 Th 2:16-note). The destruction of Jerusalem was a direct result of their rejection of Messiah. What a solemn warning to Christ rejecters! (What the Bible teaches – Luke)

Level (1474)(edaphizo from edaphos = ground upon which things rest)  dash to the ground, to level to the ground, to overthrow and when used of a city means to level to the ground. BDAG - "to destroy or tear down by causing something to be brought to ground level." Thayer - "to throw to the ground” — both of cities, buildings, “to raze, level with the earth,” and of men." Jesus uses this verb only here and in so doing predicts that the walls, towers and houses of Jerusalem were to be beaten as level as a threshing floor, and this was literally fulfilled.

Gilbrant on edaphizoOccurring from around the Fourth Century B.C. onward, this verb denotes “to beat level and firm” like the floor. It can refer also to the action of “providing a floor,” or in a harsh sense “to dash to the ground.” (cf Ps 137:9, Nah 3:10).

Edaphizo - 6x in 6v in the Septuagint - Ps. 137:9 = "dashes your little ones against the rock."; Isa. 3:26; Ezek. 31:12; Hos. 10:14; Hos. 13:16; Nah. 3:10 = "her small children were dashed to pieces At the head of every street."

And they will not leave in you one stone upon another - The picture above is of stones from the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (Jerusalem) thrown onto the street by Roman soldiers on the Ninth of Av, 70 AD. 

Because you did not recognize the time of your visitation (Watch video) - The clear implication is that they could have recognized the time (compare to the preceding synonym -  "this day") of their visitation. Some see this as a more general reference to Jesus' entire ministry, which gave many "clues" that He was indeed the Messiah and they could have recognized Him simply by examining the Messianic Prophecies which He fulfilled perfectly. As discussed above, more specifically the Jews could have rightly interpreted Daniel's great prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27, which gave a timetable to allow one to predict when the Messiah would present Himself to Jerusalem as the Messiah, the Anointed One, the King of the Jews (cf the phrase "until Messiah the Prince" = Da 9:25-note). And they could have compared Daniel's prophecy with that of Zechariah 9:9, and they would have recognized the time of their visitation by God in the flesh! This principle can apply to our lives today as believers, for Jesus is ever present and active in our lives, giving us warnings, opportunities, blessings, etc. The question is are we too busy with our SELF to recognize our SAVIOR? I fear this occurs far more in my life than I would even like to know! God grant us spiritual vision to see Jesus and His Spirit's active role in our day to day lives so that we do not miss the time of our visitation. Amen

The time (the opportunity, proper time) (2540)(kairos) means a point or period of time with the implication of being especially fit for something. Kairos describes a period as especially appropriate. It is something that lasts for a season and thus endures only for a specific period of time. In this context kairos refers to the opportunity given to the nation of Israel when they could recognize and receive Jesus as their Messiah and King. Once the opportunity (kairos) passed, it was too late and they would suffer the consequences. 

Your visitation (possessive pronoun) - Jerusalem's (Israel's) own personal prophesied promised visit!

Believer's Study Bible - “The time of your visitation” means the time in which God comes to bring salvation and blessing. Jerusalem does not recognize the hour of grace.

What the Bible Teaches"The time of thy visitation" is a frequent OT phrase. In all its occurrences in the Prophets it is a day of calamity or a day of judgment (Isa 10:3; Jer 8:12; 10:15; 11:23; 23:12; 46:21; 48:44; 50:27; 51:18; Hos 9:7; Micah 7:4). He who came in grace used it of a visitation of the grace of God." (What the Bible teaches – Luke)

Visitation (1984)(episkope from epí = upon, perfective use, intensifying already existing idea in verb + skopeo = regard, give attention to) describes the act of watching over with special reference to being present and thus speaks of a visitation, in this context a favorable divine visitation. Friberg says it is " the presence of divine power to benefit or save." Episkope is that act by which God looks into and searches out the ways, deeds character, of men, in order to adjudge them their lot accordingly, whether joyous or sad.

MacArthur adds that visitation was "a common phrase in the OT (Isa 10:3; Jer 27:22) warning of God's "visitation," His drawing near to people or nations in either judgment or blessing. In the NT, "visitation" speaks of redemption ("Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited [episkeptomai] us and accomplished redemption for His people." = Lk 1:68-note Lk 7:16-note). (MacArthur Study Bible)

Brian Bill -  There is a very clear principle here in these words that are dripping with the tears of Jesus. If you and I do not recognize God’s coming in the form of the Lord Jesus and put our faith in Him, we will be exposed to judgment. If you reject Christ, you will pay the consequences. It’s possible to miss the time of God’s visitation today as well. This word translated “coming” means “to relieve.” It’s the same word used in Matthew 25:36 where Jesus said, “I was in prison and you came to visit me.” The coming of Christ is meant to bring us comfort. (Sermon)

Josephus in the 'Jewish War': "In the morning Titus commanded that the fires should be put out and that a road should be built to the gates to allow entry for his troops. His generals then came together to discuss what should be done with the temple. Some wanted to destroy it, because it would give the Jews a reason for uprising. Others argued that if the Jews would clear out of the temple it should be allowed to stand, but if they were to use it as a fortress, it should be destroyed. Titus then gave the command that no matter what happened, the temple should be spared, because it would always be a great tribute to the empire. Three of his chief generals agreed, and the meeting was disbanded......Titus then went into Antonia, intending the next morning to attack and overwhelm the temple with his entire force. But on that day, the tenth of Lous [August 30, 70 AD], the same day on which Solomon’s temple had been destroyed by the king of Babylon, the structure was doomed. The rebels again attacked the Romans after Titus retreated, and a battle took place between the temple guards and the Roman troops who were trying to put out the flames in the inner court. The Romans scattered the Jews and pursued them into the sanctuary. At the same time, a soldier recklessly grabbed a torch . . . He hurled the firestick through the doors made of gold on the north side which allowed entry to chambers around the sanctuary. On seeing the flames, a cry went up from the Jews, and caring nothing for their lives, they rushed forward to put out the fire. A messenger rushed to the tent of Titus to inform him of the fire. Immediately, Titus ran to the temple to put out the flames. But because of the battle that raged on, the soldiers either could not or would not hear his commands. The wrath of his troops could not be stopped, and at the doorway many soldiers were trampled by their own forces. There among the burning ruins they fell, sharing the same fate as their enemies. Pretending not to hear the commands of their general, and filled with hatred, the soldiers rushed on, hurling their torches into the temple. The helpless rebels made no attempt at defense. Fleeing for their lives, with bloodshed all around, many civilians were caught in the battle. Even the steps of the altar were stained with the blood of the dead. When Caesar could not hold back his troops, he and his generals entered the temple and viewed for the last time the Most Holy Place. Since the fire had not yet reached the inside, but was still feeding the outside chambers, Titus made one last effort to save the structure. Ordering a centurion to club anyone if they disobeyed his commands, he rushed forward and pleaded with his soldiers to put out the flames. But because of their hatred of the Jews and their desire for riches, the soldiers disregarded the orders of their general. Seeing that all the surroundings were made of gold, they assumed that inside there would be great treasures. Titus then ran out to hold back his troops, but one of those who had entered with him thrust a torch into the hinges of the temple gate, and mighty fire shot up inside. Caesar and his generals fled for safety, and thus, against his wishes, the sanctuary was burned."....... The city and the temple was then leveled to the ground by the command of Caesar. Only the highest towers and part of the western wall remained to show all mankind how the Romans overpowered such a strong fortress."

How Long?

Read: Luke 19:41-44 

As [Jesus] drew near, He saw the city and wept over it. —Luke 19:41

It took years before she finally said yes. A Welshman had fallen in love with one of his neighbors and wanted to marry her. But they had quarreled, and she refused to forgive. Shy and reluctant to face the offended woman, the persistent suitor slipped a love letter under her door every week.

At last, after 42 years, he summoned up courage, knocked on her door, and asked her to become his wife. To his delight, she consented. So they were married at the age of 74!

God is also a persistent lover. Century after century He sent prophets, seeking the stubborn people of Israel. Then God sent His Son. In Luke 19, we read that Jesus looked out over the city of Jerusalem and wept because of their hardness of heart (vv.41-44).

Yet Jesus persisted in His loving pursuit. He opened the way for reconciliation by His redeeming sacrifice at Calvary. Today He is still asking sinners to come to Him, personally accept Him as Savior, and enjoy close fellowship with Him (Matthew 11:28).

If you have come to Him, rejoice that you are His. If you have not, however, you must realize that time may run out. Don’t remain forever alienated from the Lover of your soul. Trust Him today.

Why trade the hope of heaven's light
For things that please the prince of night?
Eternal glories wait for all
Who turn and trust God's loving call. —Branon

God always knocks loud enough for the seeking soul to hear.

By Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 19:45  Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling,

(Copyright 2014 Faithlife / Logos Bible Software)


Jesus entered the temple - This is fascinating - the King of Glory entered into the very place from which His Glory had departed over 500 years earlier, just prior to the destruction of the First (Solomon's) Temple in 586 BC by the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar (See Table depicting His progressive departure from the Temple; See Scriptural explanation of this stepwise departure). Recall that John described Jesus as "the Word" (John 1:1-note - His Divinity) Who "became flesh (His Humanity), and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14-note) So for a brief moment in time, the Glory of the LORD had returned to His Holy Habitation, the Temple! But just as in Ezekiel's day when there was corruption and idolatry and failure to recognize Jehovah which led to His departure, so too again religious corruption and rejection will lead to His departure. But praise God, His departure from the Temple is not permanent for He promised He would return (Hebrews 9:27-28-note) Matthew says that at Messiah's Second Advent "then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory." (Mt 24:30-note). In the meantime, the King is delaying His return  Peter recording that "The Lord is not slow about His promise (TO RETURN), as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9-note) and as the New Living Translation puts it "And remember, the Lord's patience gives people time to be saved. Th (2Pe 3:15NLT-note)

Eastern Gate Sealed Shut

Remember that the crowds have just (in effect) crowned Jesus as King of the Jews, so His entrance into the Temple grounds will constitute His first "official act" as it were as their King (However from Mark 11:11-12 this event actually appears to occur the say after the Triumphal Entry) You can imagine the anticipation of the Jews as they watched Him enter the Temple, undoubtedly expecting their conquering King to head straight for the Antonia Fortress (depicted in the right upper corner of the diagram above) which housed the Roman soldiers. Instead, to their shock and dismay, He directly confronts the religious corruption taking place in the Court of the Gentiles!  This reminds me of Peter's warning that "it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17-note). Where would Jesus go first if He came to America? To Washington? To Wall Street? No, He would go directly to the churches that claim His Name! 

KistemakerWhat a sorry spectacle greets His eyes, ears, and even nostrils (ED: I WAS RAISED ON A FARM AND CAN ATTEST TO THE AROMA THAT MUST HAVE ARISEN BECAUSE OF THE MANY ANIMALS IN THE COURT OF THE GENTILES)! He notices that the court is being desecrated. It resembles a market place. (Ibid)

Note the Temple diagram above and locate the "Shushan Gate" (misspelled in diagram) which is another name for what is  known as the Eastern Gate. This is very likely the gate through which Jesus entered into the Temple grounds. Note that the first area He would encounter is the relatively large Court of the Gentiles where basically anyone was allowed to go. It was in the Court of the Gentiles that the Money changers had set up shop. 

The Shushan Gate - The Eastern Gate, (aka the "Beautiful Gate") one of the five gates of the Temple Mount. The source of the name Shushan: The Jews that returned from the Babylonian/Persian exile etched the image of the city of Shushan (the Persian capitol) on the gate - to signify their appreciation to the Persian kingdom that was instrumental in building the Second Temple. A medieval Jewish tradition "foretells" (aka "prophesies") that the prophet Elijah will lead the Mashiach (Messiah) into the Temple grounds through this Shushan Gateway. Elijah is a Kohain (Priest) and a Kohain may not enter a cemetery.  Many centuries ago, some scheming Muslims placed an Arab cemetery along the Eastern Wall to foil Messiah's entrance. The tragedy is that the Messiah entered the Temple (most likely) through the Eastern Gate (at that time named the Sushan Gate) and the Jews failed to recognize the time of His visitation!

Wikipedia on the Court of the Gentiles - This area was primarily a bazaar, with vendors selling souvenirs, sacrificial animals, food, as well as currency changers, exchanging Roman for Tyrian money because the Jews were not allowed to coin their own money and they viewed Roman currency as an abomination to the Lord,[19] as also mentioned in the New Testament account of Jesus and the Money Changers when Jerusalem was packed with Jews who had come for Passover, perhaps numbering 300,000 to 400,000 pilgrims.[20][21] Guides that provided tours of the premises were also available. Jewish males had the unique opportunity to be shown inside the temple itself.

The Golden Gate (Eastern Gate) - It is interesting that this gate is the only one of the eight gates in Jerusalem that is sealed. The Arabs believe that since the Jews expect that Messiah would come through this gate (Sha'ar harachamim) they would try to prevent any possibility of His return. The East gate was walled up by it's Muslim conquerors (the Ottoman Turks) with great stones in 1530 A.D. and a cemetery was planted in front of it thinking that the Jewish Messiah could not set foot in a cemetery and therefore would not be able to come. Many believe this was done to prevent the entrance of the Jewish Messiah through that gate as was foretold by known Old Testament prophecies. (See full discussion of the Golden Gate = Eastern Gate)

Here are the parallel descriptions of Jesus' cleansing of His Father's House. For chronological context Mark 11:11 (Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.)  suggests that Jesus entered the Temple after His Triumphal Entry but left and returned the following day to carry out the cleansing.

Mark 11:15-17 Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. 17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

Matthew 21:10-13  (VERSES 10-11 ARE NOT IN LUKE) When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred (Shake = seio = "to shake" gives us "seismos" = earthquake - Jesus' entrance created a seismic event that shook the gates of hell and will ripple throughout eternity!), saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12 (AS NOTED ABOVE Mk 11:1 SUGGESTS THE FOLLOWING TOOK PLACE THE NEXT DAY)  And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves (peristera - young doves or pigeons - offering allowed for those who were extremely poor - cf Lk 2:24-note). 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 

Comment: Only Mark and Matthew record the description that He "overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves."

Temple (2413) is the Greek word hieros and adjective which in the neuter singular is hieron (as found in Friberg's definition below) to which A H Strong assigned a different number 2411. Hieros is defined by Louw-Nida as "pertaining to being appropriate for the expression of worship and reverence."  In 1 Cor 9:13 hieros refers to the activities in the Temple involving the performance of various rituals. In 2 Ti 3:15 hieros refers to the "sacred writings" (the Holy Scriptures which in context would be the OT Scriptures as that was all that was available to the Jews). 

Friberg on hieros (hieros, a, on) -  (1) with a basic meaning what belongs to divinity, sacred, holy (2Ti 3.15), opposite bebelos (profane); (2) substantivally; (a) to hieron = as a sacred enclosed area under the protection of a god temple (Acts 19.27); (b) predominately of the Temple of God at Jerusalem, including the whole sacred area with its buildings, courts, walls, and gates ( Mt 21.12); (c) ta hiera =  as everything that belongs to the Temple and its service the holy or sacred things (1 Cor 9.13)

BDAG has separate definitions listed for hieros and hieron, summarized as follows

[BDAG] HIERON  (substantive neuter of the adjective hieros) sanctuary, temple (a) of Gr-Rom. temples;  the temple of Artemis at Ephesus  Acts 19:27. (b) of the temple at Jerusalem, including the whole temple precinct w. its buildings, courts, etc. (c) in a general sense, whether polytheistic or monotheistic:  1 Cor 9:13 

[BDAG] HIEROS - (1) pert. to being of transcendent purity, holy, adj.. Holy hands, that touch nothing profane 1 Cl 33:4; (2) belonging to the temple and its service, holy thing, subst. ta hiera,

Hieros - 74x in 69v - sacred(1), sacred services(1), temple(71).

Matt. 4:5; Matt. 12:5; Matt. 12:6; Matt. 21:12; Matt. 21:14; Matt. 21:15; Matt. 21:23; Matt. 24:1; Matt. 26:55; Mk. 11:11; Mk. 11:15; Mk. 11:16; Mk. 11:27; Mk. 12:35; Mk. 13:1; Mk. 13:3; Mk. 14:49; Mk. 16:8; Lk. 2:27; Lk. 2:37; Lk. 2:46; Lk. 4:9; Lk. 18:10; Lk. 19:45; Lk. 19:47; Lk. 20:1; Lk. 21:5; Lk. 21:37; Lk. 21:38; Lk. 22:52; Lk. 22:53; Lk. 24:53; Jn. 2:14; Jn. 2:15; Jn. 5:14; Jn. 7:14; Jn. 7:28; Jn. 8:2; Jn. 8:20; Jn. 8:59; Jn. 10:23; Jn. 11:56; Jn. 18:20; Acts 2:46; Acts 3:1; Acts 3:2; Acts 3:3; Acts 3:8; Acts 3:10; Acts 4:1; Acts 5:20; Acts 5:21; Acts 5:24; Acts 5:25; Acts 5:42; Acts 19:27; Acts 21:26; Acts 21:27; Acts 21:28; Acts 21:29; Acts 21:30; Acts 22:17; Acts 24:6; Acts 24:12; Acts 24:18; Acts 25:8; Acts 26:21; 1 Co. 9:13; 2 Tim. 3:15

Vine merges hieros and hieron writing that "hieros is an adjective that denotes "consecrated to God," e.g., the Scriptures, 2 Ti 3:15....The neuter singular hieron denotes a Temple."

Naos refers to the Temple proper, including the inner sanctuary, composed of the outer room, the Holy of Holies and the innermost Holy Place. When our Lord taught in the Temple, He taught in the hieron, in one of the temple porches. He expelled the money-changers from the hieron, the court of the Gentiles. When the veil of the temple was rent at the time of the death of our Lord (Mt 27:52), it was the veil of the naos, the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. When Zacharias entered the temple to burn incense (Lk 1:9-note), he entered the naos, the Holy Place where the altar of incense stood while the multitude were in prayer outside he people were “without,” in the hieron (Lk 1:10-note). Jesus used naos in a figurative to refer to His body as a temple (Jn 2:19, 20, 21). Paul extends this meaning to the individual believer's body as the dwelling place or inner sanctuary of the Holy Spirit (1 Co 6:19), the inner sanctuary of the Holy Spirit.



And began to drive out those who were selling - Keep in mind this is to have been a place of worship! The painting above by A N Mironov shows Christ with a "scourge of cords" which is specifically described only in His first cleansing of the Temple at Passover in John 2:13-16. Robertson quips "It is amazing how short a time the work of reformers lasts!" It is intriguing that Jesus began His ministry cleaning out the corruption in the Temple complex and three years later ended His ministry carrying out the same cleansing! Is there a message here for us in America where so many are using their version of "Christianity" to make money and receive acclaim from men? (That's a rhetorical question!) For context let's look at His first Temple cleansing...

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers (2773 - kermatistes = only here = dealer in small money) seated at their tables. 15 And He made a scourge of cords (NOT DESCRIBED AT HIS SECOND CLEANSING), and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers (2855 - kollubistes) and overturned (anatrepo) their tables; (STOP FOR A MOMENT AND IMAGINE GENTLE JESUS FLIPPING OVER TABLES!) 16 and to those who were selling the doves (CHARGING POOREST OF POOR EXORBITANT RATES!) He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” (John 2:13-16)

It is noteworthy that the two Temple cleansings are the only acts of "holy violence" recorded of the Lord Jesus. In this case Jesus revealed Himself as Lord of the temple (cf. Mt. 12:6).

Lawrence Richards comments "Herod the Great dedicated 40 years and untold wealth to beautify the Jerusalem temple. That temple was one of the wonders of the ancient world, and drew thousands of Gentile as well as Jewish visitors to Judea. Yet Christ’s anger that its courts had become a “den of robbers” reminds us that the true significance of any house of worship is not found in how it looks but in what happens there."

Drive out (1544)(ekbállō from ek = out + bállō = to cast, throw, drive) means to cast, throw out often with the idea of force (Mt. 8:12; 15:17; 25:30; Acts 16:37, 27:38; Lxx - Lev. 14:40). Exactly how Jesus accomplished the seemingly insurmountable task is uncertain because (refer to diagram above) the Court of the Gentiles is almost the size of 10 football fields! This is holy indignation moving mountains!

Mark gives us some additional details writing that

"He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers (2855 - kollubistes from kollubos = a small coin and thus a "money changer" only in Mt 21:12; Mk 11:15; Jn 2:15) and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. Mark 11:15-16

CommentThe annual tribute of each Jew to the Temple coffers was a half-shekel (Ex 30:13).  The money changers in the court of the Gentiles exchange the Jewish money for Greek and Roman coins called drachmé (1406), drachma, and statér (4715), the latter being a coin equivalent to four drachma.

John MacArthur gives a vivid description of the corrupt, horrific state of the Court of the Gentiles...

The Court of the Gentiles had been turned into basically a business center.  And the business was selling animals needed for the sacrifices (twice daily and then the Passover). One Passover record indicates 260,000 lambs were slain, so you can just imagine how many animals would have been in the courtyard! And you had to buy other necessities for offerings and sacrifices. Then there were moneychangers.  All of this was basically called the Bazaar of Annas (ED: SEE ALFRED EDERSHEIM = "The Temple-market and the Bazaars of the sons of Annas are identical").  Annas and Caiaphas both being high priests ran the operation and became filthy rich selling franchises to people who sold the animals and changed the money and sold the oil and the other things that were used.  They sold these franchises for very high prices and then skimmed off a huge percentage of the profit of shop owners, so that the Court of the Gentiles was just jammed with these shops. Lightfoot writes there was always a constant market in the Temple in that place (THE COURT OF THE GENTILES)....One might ask, “Well why don't they bring their own animals?”  They should and they could choose the best one in the flock without spot and without blemish.  But if you brought your own animal, it was risky because every animal that was sacrificed had to pass priestly inspection. And it was to the benefit of the priests to reject your animal because when they rejected your animal, you had to buy their animal. And you would be forced to do that at an exorbitant price, and a huge percentage would be skimmed off and paid to the chief priests. And if they rejected your animal, some records say you would have to pay ten times the fair price. This is robbery and extortion by the priests. The noise, the filth, the stench of all the animals, the chaos of a stockyard in the Temple of God was nauseating to Christ – the corruption, the robbery, the thievery, by people who had no conscience about bilking the poor. And there were sellers of doves and pigeons because there were some people so poor they could not afford a lamb, so according to Leviticus 12:6,8 the poor people could offer two doves. Doves would be worthy in  today's money about a dime each but they would cost about $10 each there.  The travesty, the prostitution, the perversion, the corruption was just vile and blatant. Then there were the moneychangers, kollubos is the word that is a part of the word “moneychangers.”  It means “small coins.”  Every Jew had to pay a half-shekel temple tax near the Passover time.  A month before, you could pay it locally, but if you got to Jerusalem and you had not paid it, you had to pay it in the Temple, and you had to pay it with a certain required coinage.  And if you did not have the exact amount, then you had to change your money, and they charged you 25% to change money. The whole "Bazaar of Annas" was vile and had become a hangout for every crook, charlatan, conman of all sorts plying their trade.  That is where Jesus went. Religion was corrupt.  That is where He gave His attention.  He was repulsed by what He saw and smelled and heard.  Jesus was on His turf.  “My house,” He says in Lk 19:46 quoting from Isaiah 56:7, "You have brought your corruption into My house.”...He goes to defend God and God's house against the blasphemers. (Sermon)

It is surprising that all four Gospels record Jesus' cleansing and yet none have any hint of resistance by the authorities to actually attempt to prevent Him from cleansing the Court of the Gentiles. Is this a manifestation of supernatural power/intervention? We simply don't know, but remember that this area was up to 10 football fields in size and it seems to be a genuine miracle that one Man could accomplish thorough cleansing of such a huge area filled with animals and riff-raff! Of course, this is not just any man but is the God-Man and He is filled with righteous anger and with the Holy Spirit! One writer has even suggested that some of the prophetically knowledgeable Jews might have seen His actions as fulfillment of Malachi 3:1-3-note which says "

“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His Temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. 2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3“He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness"

Jesus lodged at Bethany that night (Mt 21:17) and came to the city early the next morning, cursing the fig tree at that time (Mark 11:12) and it was at that time that He cleansed the Temple. This temple area had become an area of merchandising. The activities were relegated to the Court of the Gentiles. Every male Jew was required to pay 1/2 shekel temple tax. He was charged three or four cents to change the money if he possessed the coin of equivalent amount, and if not, he was charged an additional three or four cents for the giving of change. Animal sacrifices were as much as fifteen times more expensive inside the temple than outside. However, these sacrificial animals were "guaranteed acceptable" because they had been provided by the priests. These booths of this merchandizing area were called "Booths of Annas" and belonged to the high priest's family. Therefore, in cleansing the temple Jesus attacked not only the institution but likewise the personalities who had become very wealthy at the expense of the worshipers. den of thieves-banded together for plunder, void of moral principle. The milder term "house of merchandise" used on the former occasion was just as suitable.

William Lane has some interesting background on Jesus' cleansing of the Temple noting that "On the Mount of Olives, which was considered a part of the Temple precincts for ritual purposes, there were four markets where pilgrims could buy doves and other ritually pure objects of sacrifice for Temple offerings (TJ Taʿanith IV. 8). These markets were not under the jurisdiction of the High Priest, but of the Sanhedrin." (NICNT-Mark)

Ryrie - This occurred on Monday of Holy Week, though Christ did this same thing at the beginning of His ministry (John 2:12-16). This is the second time Christ purged the Temple (see John 2:13-17, the beginning of His ministry). The animals, guaranteed to be without blemish, were sold for sacrificial purposes, and Greek and Roman coinage was changed into the standard half-shekel required for the Temple tax. The merchants were guilty of profanation of the Temple and of excess profiteering. (Ryrie Study Bible)

W A Criswell - "Those who bought and sold" refers to merchants who sold animals that were needed for the sacrifices, and other things like wine and oil which were also needed for some offerings. The heart of the problem was commercialism in holy precincts, as well as unequal exchange rates and the attachment of exorbitant prices to the purchase of sacrificial animals. Through sharp dealing, merchants and money changers were fleecing the pilgrims. The commercial enterprise in the temple was offensive for more reasons than merely the location of the sellers. Exorbitant prices for sacrificial animals made offering a sacrifice so costly that the poor were almost certainly either excluded or impoverished. The deliberate falsification of rates of exchange in changing Roman for Jewish coins afforded still other unlawful profits for the temple.

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Luke 19:46  saying to them, "It is written, 'AND MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER,' but you have made it a ROBBERS' DEN."


Saying to them, "It is written, 'AND MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER,' but you have made it a ROBBERS' DEN - Jesus once again is validating that He is indeed the long awaited Messiah of Israel as He quotes from Isaiah and Jeremiah to justify His radical actions...

Isaiah 56:7  Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” 

Jeremiah 7:11  “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” declares the LORD. 

Mark's description (Mk 11:17) is more complete as he adds the words "for all the nations" to "House of prayer." Nations is synonymous with "Gentiles" which has great spiritual significance for as Luke records in (Acts 13:47 quoting Isaiah 42:6) God "commissioned" the Nation of Israel to be a light to the Gentiles declaring "I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.’” In large measure, sadly the Jews rejected their divine commission throughout the centuries. Can you imagine a Gentile wanting to worship God in the Court of the Gentiles which had become a veritable stockyard! The commission would soon be given to a smaller number of select Jews (e.g., see Paul - Acts 26:17-18).  

Kistemaker amplifies this thought writing "In the days of Jeremiah, too, as is proved by that prophet's famous Temple Discourse, the Jews were oppressing aliens, stealing, murdering, etc. Nevertheless, they continued to offer their sacrifices in the temple; as if such merely formalistic worship of Jehovah would do any good, and as if the very presence of the temple would protect them from the outpouring of God's wrath. It was then that Jeremiah had said, "Do not trust in lying words (DELIVERED BY FALSE PROPHETS), saying, 'The temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, is this.' (Jer 7:4)... Has this house that is called by my name become a den of robbers in your eyes?" (Jer 7:11) In the days of Christ's sojourn history was repeating itself: the temple had again become "a cave of thieves," an allusion, perhaps, to the rocky caves in the hills of Judea, where thieves and robbers would often assemble (ED: THE IRONY IS THESE ROBBERS DID NOT EVEN NEED TO HIDE IN CAVES BUT BLATANTLY CONVERTED GOD'S PLACE OF WORSHIP TO A PLACE OF ROBBERY!) The thieves were crowding out the Gentiles or "nations." (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

John Blanchard applies Jesus' actions to our life today asking "Do you have a genuine concern for the glory of God and courage in facing opposition and countering evil in today’s society?"

Matthew has...

And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He *said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 14 (FOLLOWING IS NOT IN LUKE'S GOSPEL) And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, “Hosanna (Mt 21:9, Mk 11:9-10, Jn 12:13) to the Son of David,” they became indignant  and said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” (Mt 21:11-16a)

Comment: The children knew the Scriptures better than the religious leaders, because they acknowledged Jesus as the "Son of David" (cf Bartimaeus the Blind Beggar in Lk 18:38-39-note, the only place in Luke where someone uses this clear Messianic title.) The Pharisees did not want to see Jesus acknowledged as the Messiah! How ironic that only those who were little children (and like little children Lk 18:16-17-note) and the one who was physically blind could "see" Jesus' true identity as the promised Messiah!

The money changers: Every male Jew had to pay a Temple tax every year of half a shekel, equal to nearly two days' pay for a working man. A month before the Passover, booths were set up in all the towns and villages and it could be paid there; but by far the greater part was actually paid by the pilgrims in Jerusalem when they came to the Passover Feast. In Palestine all kinds of currencies were in circulation, and, for ordinary purposes, they were all--Greek, Roman Tyrian, Syrian, Egyptian--equally valid. But this tax had to be paid either in exact half shekels of the sanctuary or in ordinary Galilaean shekels. That is where the money changers came in. To change a coin of exact value they charged one maah, which was equal to 1 pence. If a larger coin was tendered a charge of one maah was made for the requisite half shekel and of another maah for the giving of change. It has been computed that these money changers made a profit of between 28,000 and 9,000 British pounds per anum. The sellers of animals: Almost every visit to the Temple involved sacrifice. Victims could be bought outside at reasonable prices; but the Temple authorities had appointed inspectors, for a victim must be without spot or blemish. It was, therefore, far safer to buy victims from the booths officially set up in the Temple. But there were times when a pair of doves would cost as much as 75 pence inside the Temple and considerably less than 5 pence outside. Again it was a deliberately planned victimization of the poor pilgrims, nothing more or less than legalized robbery. Worse, these Temple shops were known as the Booths of Annas and were the property of the family of the High Priest. That is why Jesus was brought first before Annas when he was arrested (John 18:13). Annas was delighted to gloat over this man who had struck such a blow at his evil monopoly. Jesus cleansed the Temple with such violence because its traffic was being used to exploit helpless men and women. It was not simply that the buying and selling interfered with the dignity and solemnity of worship; it was that the very worship of the house of God was being used to exploit the worshippers.

Proverbs 11:1  A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight. 

KistemakerThe lessons taught by this cleansing of the temple can be summarized as follows:

a. Jesus punished degradation of religion and insisted on reverence.

b. He rebuked fraud, in the present connection especially "religious" (?) racketeering, and demanded honesty.

c. By declaring that the temple must be a house of prayer for all the nations, he gave his endorsement to the wonderful cause of Christian missions. Cf. I Kings 8:41-43; Matt. 28:19.

d. By means of all this he glorified his heavenly Father. Was not the temple his Father's house? (Ibid)

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Lawrence Richards devotional - Dreams and Devastation (Luke 19:28–48) As I write this, Jim Bakker is awaiting afternoon sentencing for fraud, for lying to the Christian public in order to bilk them of funds. In his defense, Jim told the jury about his vision—his dream of a playground for Christians, of Heritage, U.S.A. Whatever a person may think of Jim Bakker, I’m sure each of us would give him this. He had a dream. And he saw his dream lie, shattered, at his feet. The people who welcomed Jesus so enthusiastically on Palm Sunday had a dream too. They dreamed of Israel restored to its ancient glory under God’s Messiah, the promised Descendant of David. Their shouts, as Jesus rode slowly toward Jerusalem, revealed the dream that possessed them completely: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" As they drew near the city the shouting, elated crowd must have envisioned its walls heightened and expanded, sure it was destined to become the center of a theocratic kingdom that would replace Rome as ruler of the world. But when Jesus saw the city, He wept. What Jesus saw was not towering new walls, but crumbled ruins. What Jesus heard was not the joy of misguided supporters entranced by their dreams, but the wailing and crying of the victims who would suffer there. And Jesus wept. The next thing Luke tells us is that Jesus entered the temple area. There He found those who were selling; who had turned God’s house from a house of prayer to a den where robbers lurked, eager to defraud the pilgrims who came to Jerusalem to worship. The dream was nothing. The reality was all. I think that the sequence of these events serves as a parable of our times. So many Christians have dreams. So many are so zealous to build empires to God’s glory; edifices they dream of proudly showing Jesus when He comes, saying (but humbly, of course), “See what we’ve done in Your name!" Yet one by one such dreams, like the walls of ancient Jerusalem, fall into ruin. We have zeal. But are the dreams that possess us given by God, or are they like the shouts of the Palm Sunday crowd who insisted on welcoming Jesus as King despite what He had told them? I suspect that what Jesus wants is revealed in His first action in Jerusalem. He cleansed the temple. He chased out the hucksters who had corrupted what was intended to be a house of prayer, and once again put worship first.

Personal Application - It is more important to cleanse our temple than to pursue our dreams.

Quotable - “It sounds terribly spiritual to say ‘God led me,’ but I am always suspicious of a person who implies that he has a personal pipeline to God. When no one else senses what the person suggests is the will of God, then we had better be careful. God has been blamed for the most outlandish things by people who have confused their own inverted pride with God’s will.”—Paul E. Little (The 365 Day Devotional Commentary)

Luke 19:47  And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him,


And He was teaching daily in the temple - One has to love this simple statement. Jesus' death is imminent and He knows it and yet what does He deem to be of the highest value, the greatest yield with the precious seconds He has left on this earth which He created? Teaching! Luke 20:1 adds "preaching the Gospel!" Given that we "have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21) and we claim that we abide "in Him (we) ought (ourselves) to walk in the same manner as He walked" (1 John 2:6), teaching and proclaiming the Gospel! Time was running out quickly for Jesus and yet Jesus continues daily teaching and preaching! Beloved, if we are truly His followers, our holy charge, our holy privilege is to be diligent to redeem the short time left in each of our lives and enabled by His Spirit and His all sufficient Word of Truth, we should be about our Father's business just as was our Lord! Are you? The sands of time are running out of the hour glass and eternity is your doorstep. Beloved, do not waste your life in frivolous, trivial activities. God grant you the desire and the power to redeem the time teaching and proclaiming the Gospel for the glory of the Lord. Amen

Daily - Monday through Thursday, right up to the time of His betrayal. Luke 21:37 adds that "during the day He was teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet." (cf Mt 21:17)

Teaching (present tense - continually)(1321)(didasko) indicates that Jesus was the passing on  information focused on content, with the purpose of discovering the truth  Synagogue teaching, as illustrated by that of Jesus, was basically expository. The root meaning of didasko carries with it the idea of systematic teaching or systematic training. It is the word that is used to refer to a choir director who trains a choir over a long period of rehearsals until they are able to perform.  In Scripture to teach means to pass on the truth about the Word of God, the God of the Word and the faith of the saints, with the goal of influencing the understanding and stimulating obedience to the truth taught and resultant Spirit energized transformation and Christ-likeness. The essence of a disciple in fact is that he or she is a learner. The teacher teaches and the disciple hears and processes what is heard so that this truth affects his or her innermost being. Ultimately the purpose of didasko is to shape the will of the one taught. And this is what Jesus was trying to do in these last of His last days!

Matthew adds that Jesus also continued to perform miraculous healing recording "And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant" (Mt 21:14-15) The religious leaders saw the miracles, but still refused to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah. 

But - What bitter irony -- Jesus is giving out the Word of Life and the "religious" folks are seeking to take His life! Beware, dear faithful follower of Christ that often the most pointed, painful attack at Christ in you will come from those WITHIN the established church! Do not be surprised (cf "there will also be false teachers AMONG you" = 2 Pe 2:1-note and "savage wolves will come in AMONG you" = Acts 20:28-30-note, cf Jude 1:4-note)


The chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him - Daily they sought to destroy Him even as he daily taught. What an example of focus - only a few days to live and even be attacked in the interim, all the while staying focused on the most important thing in all eternity - teaching and preaching the Way of God in truth (Mt 22:16)!

Mark writes that "The chief priests and the scribes heard this (Mk 11:17), and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching." (Mark 11:18)

Chief priests (749)(archiereus from arche = first in a series, the leader or ruler, idea of rank or degree + hiereus = priest - hieros is that which is determined, filled or consecrated by divine power) refers to the priest that was chief over all the other priests in Israel. This office was established by God through Moses instructions in the Pentateuch. In the plural archiereus refers to all the ruling priests, the members of the high-priestly families as a group, the upper echelons of the priestly class, especially those who served on the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court (Lk 9:22, Mk 8:31). In the singular archiereus refers to the acting high priest (Lk 3.2, Mk 14:47, 53, 54, 60, 61, 63, 66), who by Jesus' day was more of a role obtained by political connections than priestly lineage. Don't miss the fact that the chief priests missed the One Who today mediates for all believers as our Great High Priest! (Hebrews 4:14-16-note).

Scribes (1122)(grammateus from grapho = to write) was one skilled in Jewish law and theology scribe, expert, scholar (Mt 2.4). Jesus gives a long rebuke including 8 WOES primarily to the Scribes and Pharisees which should be read to help understand how this group of Jewish religious men functioned (See Mt 23:1-39, 13, 14, 15, 16, etc). Most sources consider the lawyers (nomikos - meaning one skilled in the Mosaic law) to be scribes specialized in the jurisprudence of the Law of Moses. Finally the scribes in Lk 5:17 (nomdidaskalos) were teachers of the Jewish law who were equal to the lawyers and scribes. 

Trying (2212)(zeteo) implies giving attention and priority to and deliberately pursuing after. The imperfect tense pictures them seeking over and over, again and again to destroy Jesus. 

Destroy (622)(apollumi) means to kill (this was their continual goal - cf Mt 12:14), something that began the moment He was born, Matthew using this same verb apollumi writing (Angel's warning to Joseph) "Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy (apollumi) Him." (Mt 2:13) The bitter irony is that the very thing these evil men sought to do to Jesus would come to pass in their own lives for Jesus Himself had taught '“He who has found his life will lose (apollumi) it, and he who has lost (apollumi) his life for My sake will find it." (Mt 10:39, Mt 16:25) These evil men thought they had found life but in fact as eternity would prove, they actually lost their life! And the same fate awaits every man today who in one form or another tries to destroy the truth about Christ -- it is they who will be eternally destroyed!  The tragic irony is that Jesus had just stated His life purpose declaring that "the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (apollumi).”(Lk. 19:10)  The Pharisees were lost and did not know it as they sought to kill the very One Who had come to save their souls from eternal punishment! What a contrast for these religious leaders were like the thief which Jesus says "comes only to steal and kill and destroy (apollumi); I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.  (Jn. 10:10)

Luke 19:48  and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.


And they could not find anything that they might do - The religious leaders were afraid of what the Jewish crowds would do for they had just proclaimed His Messiah and King. 

Find (2147)(heurisko) means to find after searching and so to discover (English = "Eureka!")

For - term of explanation. What is Luke explaining?

All the people were hanging on to every word He said - The Jews wanted to hear Him teaching. I find this amazing because we know He was telling them the way of salvation. One wonders how many actually heard and received His words?

O that all the people of God would hang on the words of Jesus! Lord I beseech Thee, let this be true of myself and all who read these wonderful words that speak of worship! In His Name. Amen

Were hanging (1582)(ekkremannumi from ek = out of, from + kremannumi =  to hang) means literally to let hang from or hang on and figuratively means to listen attentively, paying very close attention to Jesus while He was speaking. In English we have the expression "to hang on the words” of someone. The only other use in Scripture is in the Septuagint of Ge 44:30 "his very life is bound up in (hangs on) his son's life.

MacArthur on were hanging on every wordThe Greek text literally says that they were hanging on to His lips, a graphic metaphor indicating that they were listening closely to His every word. David Gooding writes concerning their dilemma, "The temple authorities would have liked to destroy their ‘rival’ forthwith; but his immense popularity with the people made any immediate attempt at arrest and execution impossible and tactically unwise. To upset the people would have put at risk the very thing for which the battle was to be fought (see Lk 19:47-48). Subtler and more sophisticated tactics would have to be used. (According to Luke [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987], 314-15) (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 18-24)