Jesus visits Zacchaeus
Jesus arrived at Jericho and was only a few miles away from his final destination, Jerusalem. In the last chapter we saw a rich man was unable to follow Jesus as he was not willing to let go of his possessions. Jesus does not ask of us, things that are impossible, but rather shows us the way to do them too.
In Jericho, Jesus visits the house of a prominent tax collector named Zacchaeus. On that day, Zacchaeus commits his life to Jesus and sells his possession to give to the poor and the ones that he had cheated in the past.
Jesus staying at the house of a tax collector was nothing new. In fact Jesus always preferred the company of ‘sinners’ and tax collectors, those who knew that they need salvation.
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:9-10
If we think we don’t need a way back to Jesus we will never find him.
We all have different obstacles along the way to Jesus. For most of us that obstacle might be our possessions like it was for the rich man and Zacchaeus. It is natural to have thoughts on how to survive without money. Jesus can help us overcome that the way He helped Zacchaeus overcome his obstacle.
The Parable of the Ten Minas
As they were approaching Jerusalem, Jesus, knowing the expectations of his followers told them this parable. Once a man went to a distant country to be appointed as king and while he was away, he gave one mina each to ten of his servants telling them to use that money productively. There were people who did not like him and tried to stop him from becoming king. However, he still became king and returned and asked the servants what they had earned with the mina he gave them. The first one came and said that there was a ten time increase in the mina while the second one had earned five. However, there came another who hadn’t gained anything but simply gave the exact amount to his Master. He along with those who protested against the King were put to death.
Mina can represent a myriad of things. Let’s compare a mina to a soul. We have people around us, some have many while some have few. Are we sharing Christ with them and helping them grow or are we stunting their growth? I think even if we end up losing people because of the Gospel, God wants us to give it our best shot. When we give him an account of the souls that were entrusted to us, let’s hope that we don’t end up with the same number that was handed to us.
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
The journey to Jerusalem was nearing its end. As they approached the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples to fetch a colt.
They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. – Luke 19:35-36
Thus the prophecy of Zechariah came to fulfillment (Zech 9:9). The crowds were jubilant at the sight of the ‘famous’ Jesus of Nazareth finally coming to Jerusalem. They lay their robes and gave a red carpet welcome to Jesus. But Jesus, knowing that the same crowd will yell crucify in a few days prophesied about the city of Jerusalem.
The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” – Luke 19:43-44
Jesus at the Temple
Upon entering the temple, Jesus found that the temple courts also doubled as a marketplace. Since Jerusalem attracted tourists from all over the world, money lenders and dove sellers (for the purpose of sacrifice), set up shop in the temple courts.
“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” – Luke 19:46
The temple was constructed with a purpose of worshiping the Lord Almighty, and teaching His words but the Pharisees and the Chief priests had allowed those merchants to take over the Lord’s holy place. This is one of the few places where we see Jesus in a rage of anger for He could not see the house of the Lord being defiled. Do we feel similar pain and torment when we see the same in our churches?