READ LUKE 19
As Luke continues His narrative on the life, death and resurrection of Christ, He’s given us a look at the many eye witnesses along the way. There were many that truly believed He was the promised Messiah. The Pharisees and Sadducees looked at Him as an imposter and tried everything in the book to trip Him up. There were the disciples who were still trying to make sense of it and those who were along for a free ride. The fact is, great crowds were coming to see and hear Him.
One of those eye witnesses was a fellow named Zacchaeus a very rich man, who made his wealth by skimming off the top of the taxes he collected. He wasn’t a very popular man, nor ethical. However, there was something about Jesus he simply couldn’t ignore. He began to walk along with the crowds and heard the words, but couldn’t get a good look at the man. I know how he must’ve felt, because I’ve been short all my life. I know what it’s like to go to a parade and or a show and not be able to see the spectacle, because of the obstacles in front of me.
Zacchaeus climbed a tree and sat in the branches to see Jesus. His words were amazing, but his actual appearance must’ve been even more so to Zacchaeus. When Jesus reached the spot, He told the man to come down from the tree, because He needed to eat at his house that day.
Of course the wagging tongues of Jesus’ enemies accused Him of associating with sinners. We have all sinned, in our thinking, our doing and because sin has been passed down through our DNA like a never ending deformity.
Zacchaeus vowed to pay back all the money he stole from the people fourfold. He promised to give half of his worldly goods to the poor. Jesus acknowledge Zacchaeus’ faith and his lineage. He told the crowd that His mission was to seek and save the lost- which in effect means every one of us.
Jesus continues to press on to Jerusalem. When He reaches Bethpage and Bethany, He sends two of His disciples on ahead. He tells them to find a colt which has never been ridden. They are to untie the colt and bring it to Him. He notes that if anyone asks why they’re taking the colt, they should respond by saying, “The Lord has need of it.” From there on, people laid their cloaks in front of Him – symbolic of the entrance of a king.
Jesus weeps over the city of Jerusalem and those who do not believe He is the true Messiah.
In the final verses of Chapter 19, Jesus becomes incensed with the state of the temple – how the many merchants were prospering by selling sacrifices, and the church leaders also taking a cut. The rage He exhibited showed His humanity. The words He spoke were directly from God. “My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers.”
Jesus continued to preach His message of salvation in the temple. The authorities tried to find something to use against Him, but the people were hanging on His every word.