Luke 19 Study Notes


19:1-2 Jericho is one of the oldest walled cities in the world. Today its ruins date back more than ten thousand years. It was located about five miles west of the Jordan River, ten miles northwest of the Dead Sea, and about seventeen miles by winding road from Jerusalem. Chief tax collector refers to a supervisor of other tax collectors in a certain tax district. Zacchaeus was rich because he had taken advantage of his position by extorting money (see note at vv. 5-9).

19:3-4 A sycamore tree might grow to be thirty to forty feet tall. However, it had low, spreading branches that even a short man could climb and that would support his weight.

19:5-9 It is necessary implies divine necessity in Jesus’s statement about staying at Zacchaeus’s house. The Jews greatly resented tax collectors because they worked for the Roman government that had invaded Israel, turning her into a subject nation. Thus Jesus’s decision to stay overnight with such a sinful man as Zacchaeus, who had sold out and mistreated his own people, seemed outrageous. But Zacchaeus’s words and actions were those of a transformed man. It was considered extremely generous to give one-fifth of your possessions to the poor, but Zacchaeus stated he would give half. Also, while repayment for extortion was twenty percent over what had been extorted (Lv 6:5), Zacchaeus promised to repay four times as much. Zacchaeus had become a son of Abraham and gained salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (Gl 3:7).

19:10 Son of Man was both a messianic title for Jesus and a reflection of his full humanity. His mission was to seek and to save those who were lost.

19:11 In keeping with the messianic expectation of that day, Jesus’s disciples believed that as soon as he arrived in Jerusalem, he would be declared ruler and overturn the Romans. Then the kingdom of God would appear in its glory.

19:12-13 This parable is similar to the one in Mt 25:14-30 in some respects but different enough that it was almost certainly told at a time distinct from the Matthew account. Jesus told the story to emphasize that he must go away in order to receive full authority (see Mt 28:18). Only after this would he return in the fullness of his glory and kingdom. A mina was equivalent to a hundred drachmas. A drachma was essentially a day’s wages for an ordinary worker. So each mina would be worth about a hundred days’ pay, roughly four months’ wages. The command (engage in business until I come back) describes an undefined duration of absence by the nobleman (Jesus). This fits with the time between Jesus’s ascension to heaven (24:50-53; Ac 1:9) and his eventual return (Ac 1:11).

19:14 Jesus warned about the dire consequences of the Jews rejecting his rule as Messiah.

19:15-19 Ten servants had been entrusted with one mina each, but only three were questioned about how much they had earned while the new king was gone. The first earned ten more minas, and his faithfulness resulted in his being given authority over ten towns in the kingdom. The second earned five minas and was also granted wider authority. Both servants are examples of the principle of v. 26: “To everyone who has, more will be given.”

19:20-25 The third servant hid his mina because he feared his Master. It is also possible that he hoped the king would not return. In that case the money would become his. The Master did not accept his excuses, saying that even the small interest earned in a bank account would have been more useful. That the evil servant had to hand over his mina to the servant who had ten minas demonstrates the principle of v. 26: “From the one who does not have, even what he does have will be taken away.”

19:26-27 There is great reward for faithfulness to the Lord. Conversely, poor stewardship is punished by great loss. Those who do not want the Lord to rule their lives will be severely punished. It is likely that slaughter them refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

19:28-44 These verses describe Jesus’s “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem (recorded in all four Gospels). Though he was not accepted as Messiah by most Jews, his entry was nevertheless triumphant insomuch as (1) the palm branches (Jn 12:13) that were waved and placed on the ground symbolized royalty and victory, and (2) his entry into Jerusalem represented the fulfillment of OT prophecy (Zch 9:9) and the triumph of God’s plan of redemption.

19:28 Over the course of the seventeen miles from Jericho (see note at vv. 1-2) to Jerusalem, the elevation rises about 3,300 feet. Thus to travel that road was going up at the average rate of almost 200 feet per mile.

19:29 Bethphage and Bethany were small villages near the road from Jericho to Jerusalem. Bethany, the hometown of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha (Jn 11:1) was only two miles east of Jerusalem, just over the Mount of Olives, a ridge across the Kidron Valley from the temple in Jerusalem. The two . . . disciples are not named in any of the Gospels.

19:30-34 Religious or political leaders in that time often borrowed property (a young donkey) for a short time, as here. Matthew 21:7 says that the mother donkey was also commandeered. This action fulfilled the prophecy of Zch 9:9: “Daughter Jerusalem . . . your King is coming to you . . . humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

19:35-36 The clothes (outer garments) were cast down by the two disciples and by the crowd. Spreading their clothes on the road was a way to honor special dignitaries, as was done for Jehu when he was acclaimed king of Israel (2Kg 9:13).

19:37-38 As Jesus passed over the Mount of Olives (see note at v. 29) and began his descent into Jerusalem, the crowd of disciples praised God for all the miracles they had seen. The Gospel of John reports that the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead had recently occurred in Bethany, near the beginning point of the triumphal entry (Jn 11:1-44). The crowd was shouting Ps 118:26, which is messianic. In addition, they added the word King to their recitation of the OT Scripture, showing that they believed Jesus was the Messiah.


Greek pronunciation [KUHR ee ahss]
CSB translation Lord
Uses in Luke’s Gospel 104
Uses in the NT 717
Focus passage Luke 19:30-34

The word kurios is the twenty-second most common word in the Greek NT and the third most common noun (after the words for “God” and “Jesus”). Kurios can mean lord, master (both with reference to either deity or humans), and even sir (see Jn 4:11; 5:7). In the Greek OT, however, kurios was used to translate two significant Hebrew words: Yahweh (over 6,000x), the personal name for God (normally translated Lord or God); and adonai (over 700x; over 300x in reference to God), a title of respect and honor (normally translated Lord/lord or Master/master). Thus two important ideas from the OT carry over into the NT’s use of kurios: deity and lordship. Yahweh is God and demands absolute loyalty to himself as Master. The NT teaches that Jesus, God’s Son, demands loyalty to himself as absolute Lord. His deity is the basis of his lordship.

19:39-40 The Pharisees asked Jesus to rebuke his disciples because they understood that the repetition of Ps 118:26 was a confession that Jesus was both Messiah and rightful king of Israel. Jesus replied that, even if his disciples were to keep silent, God would make the truth known some other way (the stones would cry out), even if it took a miracle.

19:41-44 Jesus wept before Lazarus’s tomb (Jn 11:35), and here he wept at the thought of his rejection by the city of Jerusalem. True, lasting peace with God comes through faith in Jesus Christ (Rm 5:1). The Jews enjoyed a temporal though imperfect peace under Roman rule, but such a peace cannot be secured forever, as the destructive events of AD 70 proved. Due to their unbelief, many Jews did not open their eyes to see Christ as Messiah (2Co 4:4) or recognize his coming as the time (Gk kairos, “opportune time”) of God’s visitation and offer of salvation.

19:45-46 The court of the Gentiles in the temple was where sacrificial animals were sold for outrageously high prices. According to Is 56:7, the temple (my house) was to be a house of prayer. The other quote (a den of thieves) is from Jr 7:11, which reflects a time when the corruption of the nation and its religious system was about to be judged by God in the Babylonian captivity. Now, as Jesus beheld the corruption of the temple and the opposition arrayed against him, the nation faced an even greater season of judgment.

19:47-48 The religious leaders of Israel were increasingly desperate to get rid of Jesus, but they were hesitant to act because Jesus had gained considerable popularity among the masses.