Zacchaeus the Tax Collector (19:1-10)
1 Having journeyed down the east side of the Jordan River, Jesus crossed the river at the city of Jericho, sixteen miles east of Jerusalem (Luke 10:30; 17:11)
2-4 A chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, heard that Jesus had come. Jesus had become known as a friend of tax collectors and “sinners” (Matthew 11:19), and Zac-chaeus was curious to see Him.
Zacchaeus was wealthy. The Romans gave the work of collecting taxes in each Roman province to the man who paid the most to get the job. The tax collector received no salary from the Romans; instead, he collected as much money as he could from the people. After paying the Romans the proper amount, he could then keep the excess he had dishonestly collected. Thus almost all tax collectors cheated the people and got rich. As a result, everyone hated them (see Mark 2:13-14 and comment).
5-6 Even though Zacchaeus was an evil and greedy man, Jesus called to him. He told Zacchaeus that He would be staying at his house that day.
Zacchaeus welcomed him gladly. When Zacchaeus saw the honor that Jesus had given him, his heart sof tened. He saw that Jesus was ready to forgive his sins. So he gladly brought Jesus to his house.
7 But others watching grumbled against Jesus. They said, “No proper Jew, especially a teacher or prophet, would ever stay at the house of a sinner like a tax collector” (see Mark 2:15-17; Luke 15:1-2 and comments).
8 When they reached his house, Zac-chaeus fully repented of the evil he had done. He confessed that he had cheated people, and he promised Jesus that he would turn from his old sinful ways. “Here and now I give half my possessions to the poor,” he promised Jesus. He also promised to pay back to everyone he had cheated four times the amount.43
Many dishonest people are forced to be honest by the law, and they receive no credit from God for that. But Zacchaeus became honest by his own choice. Thus Jesus knew that he had truly repented.
That day a complete change took place in Zacchaeus’ life. The change took place because Jesus had come into his house and into his heart. Whenever we welcome Jesus into our life, we can never be the same again. We become a new creation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17 and comment).
9-10 When Jesus heard Zacchaeus’ words of repentance, He said, “Today salvation has come to this house.” Zacchaeus had been lost in sin and unbelief. Now he was saved.
This is the reason Jesus came to earth. This is the reason He went to a tax collector’s house. Why should Zacchaeus not be given a chance to repent? He was a Jew, a son of Abraham according to the flesh, just like any other Jew. Now he would be a true “son of Abraham” according to faith (Galatians 3:7).
It was lost sinners like Zacchaeus whom Jesus came to save (see Matthew 18:12; Mark 2:17). If this Jesus has truly saved us and is living in us, then we will want to tell the good news of salvation to other lost sinners also.
The Parable of the Ten Minas (19:11-27)
11-25 See Matthew 25:14-28 and comment.
26 See Matthew 25:29; Mark 4:25 and comments.
27 See Matthew 25:30 and comment.
The Triumphal Entry (19:28-40)
(Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11)
28-40 See Mark 11:1-11 and comment.
Jesus Mourns For Jerusalem (19:41-44)
41-42 Jesus entered Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives (verse 37). From the Mount of Olives He could see the whole city laid out before Him. He knew that the Jewish leaders had rejected Him. He knew that the people of Jerusalem would soon cry out for His death (Mark 15:12-15). And He also knew that a great disaster would soon come upon the city and its people because they had killed the Son of God.
Therefore, He wept over the city (verse 41). He said, “If you … had only known on this day what would bring you peace.” If only the people of Jerusalem had repented and welcomed Christ,44 the city would have been spared. There would have been peace for the people of Jerusalem.45 “But now peace is hidden from your eyes,” said Jesus. Their chance to repent was lost. Their hearts were hardened, their eyes were shut. They did not recognize the time of God’s coming (verse 44)—that is, the coming of God’s Son Jesus (see Matthew 23:37-39 and comment).
43-44 Then Jesus prophesied that, instead of peace, a sword would come to Jerusalem. Enemy armies would surround the city and destroy it completely and kill all the inhabitants (Jeremiah 6:6; Luke 21:6,20-24). This prophecy was fulfilled forty years later, in 70 A.D., when the Roman army came and utterly destroyed Jerusalem.
God is a loving God. He calls people and cities and nations to repent. He has great patience. God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). He does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But in the end, if men do not repent, He will come as a judge and destroy them.
God spared the great city of Nineveh, because its people repented (Jonah 3:3-10). But He did not spare Sodom. He promised Abraham that if He found ten righteous people in Sodom He would spare it; but He could not find ten people who would repent, and so He destroyed the city (Genesis 18:20-33). God cannot be mocked; what we sow, we shall reap (Galatians 6:7-8). If we do not repent, we shall be destroyed. The time of God’s coming is now. I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). Tomorrow may be too late.
Jesus at the Temple (19:45-48)
(Matthew 21:12-19; Mark 11:15-19)
45-48 See Mark 11:15-19 and comment.