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Bible: What Does Luke 19 Teach Us About Zacchaeus, The Parable of the Minas, and Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem?

Updated on September 15, 2016

Zacchaeus, the Publican


The Salvation of Zacchaeus

As Jesus is passing through Jericho, He encounters Zacchaeus, a wealthy, but very short, chief tax collector, who had climbed a sycamore tree so that he could see the Lord.

Christ surprisingly arranges to stay at his house on that particular day (vv. 1-5).

Hurrying down from the tree—this scene has humorous, heartwarming possibilities, but the bigoted crowd misses them (v. 7)—, the little fellow receives the Lord into his home and then promises to make generous restitution for all his misdeeds (v. 8).

As Jesus observes this fruit of repentance and faith, He declares Zacchaeus, once a lost publican, now a saved son of Abraham and one of the reasons why He, the Son of Man, has come (vv. 9-10).

The Parable of the Minas


The Third Servant's Mina

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The Parable of the Minas

Knowing that His disciples still do not understand that the kingdom’s establishment has been postponed, Jesus finds it necessary to tell them another story—“The Parable of the Minas”—to get that point across (v. 11).

[Alva McClain pens a powerful exposition of this passage (The Greatness of the Kingdom, 41-43).]

The Christ portrays Himself as a nobleman who went into a far country (heaven) to receive for himself a kingdom—McClain writes that He receives “Kingdom rights”—and then return to where His ten servants (v. 13) and his citizens (v. 14) live (Earth) [vv. 12, 15a].

To each one of his servants the nobleman gives one mina (about three months’ salary), and commands him to “trade” or “do business with” it until he returns (v. 13).

[One mina apparently represents “the equal opportunity of life” (Ryrie, New Testament Study Bible, 146)-- something the servants apparently accept.]

The citizens, on the other hand, reject this nobleman as their potential ruler; which group the delegation symbolizes, if any one is extant at the time, is probably irrelevant (v. 14).

Upon His return, the new ruler calls the servants to account for their stewardship (v. 15).

[Interestingly, He calls only three representatives, not all ten, to report.]

He commends the first two men for their faithfulness in production—ten and five more minas, respectively (vv. 16, 18), and rewards them with greater responsibility: governance over cities (vv. 17, 19).

[In the Messianic kingdom, faithful citizens will share governmental oversight with Christ.]

A third servant, however, who admits that he feared the nobleman/king as an austere man who profited from the work of others (v. 21), the king judges harshly but justly for secretly hiding his mina in a handkerchief rather than gaining bank interest on it (vv. 22-23).

The new king instructs “those who stood by” (angels always seem to stand by, cf. Zech 1:10-11; Luke 1:19) to take the third servant’s mina away from him and give it to the servant with ten cities (v. 24).

After a mild query as to the meaning of this action (v. 25)—that is, the ruler’s giving more to the faithful and removing favor from the unfaithful (v. 26)—the angels obey (though the text does not state as much) not only that command, but also the subsequent one to slay the ruler’s enemies (the citizens who repudiated him as king) [v. 27].

Jesus Fulfills Prophecy


Prophecy Fulfilled

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The Triumphal Entry

While ascending to Jerusalem and approaching the “SE side” of the Mount of Olives near Bethany (vv. 28-29), Jesus stops to send two disciples into “the village opposite you” to untie a colt and bring it to him (v. 30; cf. Zech. 9:9).

Their response to finding the donkey exactly where Jesus said it would be (v. 32) seems to indicate that they believed the animal’s presence there evidenced Christ’s omnipresence, and not that He had prearranged with someone in the village to borrow the colt and its mother (vv. 28-31).

After receiving permission from its owners (through Jesus’ authority) to use the colt (vv. 33-34), the apostles bring it to the Lord who, while riding “near the descent of the Mount of Olives” (vv. 35-37a), hears the exultant cries of His followers, praising God for all of the miracles they had been privileged to eyewitness (vv. 37b-38).

When some Pharisees demand that He rebuke them for singing a Messianic psalm, Jesus retorts that such praise was entirely proper for them to do and impossible for them to withhold (vv. 39-40; cf. Ps. 118:26).

As the Lord catches His first glimpse of Jerusalem, He weeps, contemplating the future siege against her and her subsequent destruction (vv. 41, 43-44a).

His lament details her willful ignorance of the “things that make for peace” (v. 42) as well as crucial time frames (“this your day” [v. 42], and “the time of your visitation” [v. 44b]).

[See commentary on Daniel 9:24-27 in McClain's book (173) for fascinating details].

This day of visitation could have been the beginning of a glorious Messianic age; instead, Jerusalem’s blindness to the truth will continue to result in humiliation and death at Roman hands.

Entering the temple, Jesus again turns out those using it illicitly (vv. 45-46; cf. John 2:13-17 for the first time He removed moneychangers).

His daily teaching continues to rile the Jewish leadership; nevertheless, the latter stands powerless to stop Him because the popular support of His ministry remains strong (vv. 47-48).

© 2013 glynch1


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