Luke19: 1-26

Written by kathleen on Jun 08, 2014 in - No Comments

Luke 19: 1-26

“dealing with “do diligence”

1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy

As they are now journeying towards Jerusalem they pass through the lower city of Jericho and are coming to the upper city. The upper city was the wealthy part of Jericho. It is there that Herod had built a winter palace complete with gymnasium and swimming pools it was now being occupied by his son, Archelaus, who was a tetrarch of that area.

The name Zacchaeus means “pure one.” This man was anything but pure – until he met Jesus.

Publicans were tax collectors. If they were Jews, and Zacchaeus was, as Jesus identifies him as a son of Abraham, he was hated by his fellow Jews because he was considered a collaborator with the enemy. He was taxing them and the money was going to Rome.

In those days, Rome would lay out a certain specified tax for an area. The tax collectors with the power of the Roman government behind them would collect those taxes and anything over what the Roman government had required belonged to the tax collector. So they were ruthless. They were known for their dishonesty and cheating; most of them were rich, as was Zacchaeus.

 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

Already you can get the picture. Here’s a little Jewish guy, hated by his neighbors, collecting taxes for Rome but filled with curiosity.

What a scene: Zacchaeus, a wealthy Roman official, running—something dignified men never did—then climbing up a tree in order to catch a glimpse of Jesus passing by.

Because Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus so badly, he didn’t mind doing something crazy that many thought was beneath the dignity of a grown wealthy man –

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

Although Zacchaeus may have thought he was seeking Jesus, in reality it was Jesus who found him. The same is true of us As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. Rom 3:10-11

Jesus started by calling Zacchaeus by name. Jesus knew him, and could call him by his name, as he did Saul, when he called him, and revealed himself to him.  Jesus knows the importance of a name. He said that He calls His sheep by name: The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3    (You won’t be just a nobody!) Isa 43:1 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When we get to heaven, there will be someone there who knows our name. In Revelation, we are promised a new name that only God and we know.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. Rev 2:17

This may have been the first time Zacchaeus heard someone besides his mother say his name in a kind way. Saying his name made all the difference.

Jesus was willing to meet this guy in friendship right where he was at even though he was universally despised.

In verse 5 “I must stay at your house today” not so much for the sake of refreshment for himself, and his disciples, but for the good of Zacchaeus. It was to make known salvation to him, by grace and talk with him in a spiritual way.

Jesus was pursuing a friendship with Zacchaeus He told Him to hurry up and come down, But who made the first move? In a sense, they both did; Zacchaeus reached out to Jesus by literally “going out on a limb” for Him. Jesus reached out to Zacchaeus by speaking to him. They both reached out to each other. James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.

7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

I don’t know if Jesus said this with sort of a smile, if He was making reference to the fact that Jews are usually pretty sharp with money matters and they’re not apt to give up much.

But when this little Jewish guy said, I’m going to give half of everything I have to the poor. If I’ve taken from any man by false accusation, going to restore it fourfold. Jesus said; this is what I’m talking about! He’s Radically saved!

Seemingly, the dinner took place in between verse 7 and  verse 8. It was after some time with Jesus that Zacchaeus wanted to get right with God. Any time you spend time with Jesus, you’ll see things in your life that need to change!

Was Jesus guilty of associating with sinners? Yes and no; Jesus went into be a guest with a man who was a sinner, but He came out from the dinner with a saved man! Although Abraham is the Father of Faith James points to him as an example James 2:17 in the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. Just as Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac as a proof of his faith.

Paul, on the other hand points to Abraham as proof that justification is apart from works in Romans 4:13 it was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

In this story of Zacchaeus we see the perfect blending of Romans 4 and James 2—for just as Abraham believed God, so did Zacchaeus; and just as Abraham willingly offered to sacrifice his son, so Zacchaeus willingly offered the sacrifice of his goods.

The law required someone who had stolen to restore the amount, plus 20%. Zacchaeus cheerfully offers to do far more than the law demands. Also, to restore to anyone he has wronged would be remarkable; “Considering the way he had made his money it was unlikely that this would be a short list.”

Jesus did not tell Zacchaeus to do what He told the rich young ruler to do, because Zacchaeus did not need to. His willingly giving heart was the way that this rich man could receive salvation.

Back in Luke 18 Jesus said that it was impossible with man for the rich to enter into heaven; but it is possible with God. This is a picture and fulfillment of that promise. Zacchaeus became a joyful giver, therefore showing God’s impossible work in him, but the young ruler went away sorry, holding on to his riches

The priests of Jericho had probably often condemned Zacchaeus and called on him to give to the poor. But after meeting Jesus, his giving was done joyfully.

This is why we receive tithes and offerings and not pass a plate. For years the church has been and is accused of just wanting and taking money. But for the one who has met Jesus and spent some time with him their heart attitude toward giving should be giving out love with great joy!

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor 9:6-8

Love for Jesus can motivate us for greater things than legalism, guilt, or manipulation can ever do.

11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.

Jericho is only twenty miles or so from Jerusalem, and as Jesus nears the city, the disciples and others expected Jesus to take control of Israel, and to be the political savior of the nation.

Passover was coming soon; according to Josephus, more than two million pilgrims would pour into Jerusalem, and the atmosphere would be heavy with the sense that something big might happen.

On the heels of Zacchaeus’ practical demonstration of his true conversion, Jesus begins to teach on practical stewardship in what is called the parable of the pounds.…

12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ 14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

We don’t want this man to rule over us,” said the citizens. This was the very thing they would say a few days later of the Lord Himself .  Basically that’s the position that the nation of Israel took concerning Jesus Christ. We will not have Him to rule over us. And that is the position that the world still takes today.

These are the citizens of the nobleman, who lived in the area he ruled. These are not the servants who in Matthew’s account received the minas.

There is a bit of historic background here that makes this quite interesting. Archelaus was the tetrarch over this particular area that He had inherited from his father, Herod the great. Archelaus wanted to be more than a tetrarch. He wanted the title of king. The problem was he couldn’t take the title of king because he was under Rome and the Roman authority.

So Archelaus went to Rome to appear before the Senate in order that they might bestow upon him the title of king.

However, the Jews sent a message to the emperor of Rome asking him not to give him the title of king.

So when Archelaus got to Rome and made his presentation in order that he might be given the title of king, it was rejected by the Roman senate.

It could have been that Archelaus’s palace was just down the street from Zach’s place. And so it could be that Jesus is picking up on his surroundings and gives this parable that sort of relates to current events that took place with Archelaus who had gone to Rome to get the title of king.

This is not to be confused with the parable of the talents that Matthew tells us about, in which it deals with one was given five talents, another four talents, another one talent. Those are dealing with abilities.

In this parable everyone received the same amount    so this story is dealing with “do diligence” concerning the things that are God’s, and what God has entrusted to you and how you are using these blessings.

The instruction was Occupy till I come and that’s still the same instruction for us today. We are not to try to guess the day and the hour that the Lord is going to return and then plan our lives accordingly.

We’re not to go out and run up all of our credit cards to the limit thinking, I won’t have to pay for this stuff. Yes the Lord is coming soon. But the instruction is to stay busy about His work until He comes.

Even though they were in a setting that was hostile to the nobleman, his servants still had responsibility to carry out his command

 Another thing to notice in the parable He’s not going to Jerusalem to be crowned as King.  “He’s going to go to a far country that He might receive the kingdom.

15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

This nobleman living in a certain province was called away to the distant capital of the empire to be crowned king of his province.

Before he left he called together ten assistants and gave them each $2,000 to invest while he was gone.

Upon his return he called in the men to whom he had given the money, to find out what they had done with it, and what their profits were.

God has given to Jesus the title of King. When He returns, He will return with the title, King of kings and Lord of lords. That’s something that He already has received.

He hasn’t yet received the kingdom. When He returns then He’ll receive and rule over the kingdom.  Unlike Archelaus who never did get the title. Jesus will have that title. “And He wore upon His thigh the words, King of Kings and Lord of Lords” Revelation 19:16.  

At this point the Lord is apportioning the kingdom unto his servants. This is speaking of the kingdom age when the Lord returns to establish God’s kingdom upon the earth.

16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’

 17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied.’Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’                                          

The amount of authority that the Lord gives to you then will be in proportion to what you have done with what God has given you now. To make gain for the kingdom of God.

18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’  19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’  20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow?  23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’                                                                            

The man did nothing. Didn’t even take it to the bank and deposit it so that at least there would be some interest return for what had been invested in him.

God has put His total investment in us through his son Jesus; should we not be good stewards of all the blessings we have in this life, and choose to give back and follow Jesus with our time, talents, our money, and the things we posses?                           

24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’  25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.

This is a picture of those who say Yea I’m saved but don’t show any change in lifestyle especially in the area of “do diligence” with the things that are God’s

One day we’re all going to have to give an answer to the Lord as we stand before Him and to give an accounting to Him of what He has entrusted to us!

 Are you using that which God has invested in you by spiritual gifting for the kingdom of God and for its expansion?

 What have you done or what are you doing with what God has entrusted into you’re keeping materially?

 Are you tithing?  Are you serving by using you’re natural gifts? 

You see, that’s why when the kingdom of God does come, many people who have been very prominent in the worldly affairs and in worldly things will be heavenly paupers.

And many people who have been earthly paupers will be rulers over large territories. It’s your faithfulness in using what God has entrusted to you. Using it for Him and for His glory.