Day 155, Luke 19

Did you notice Jesus didn’t ask Zaccheus if He could stay at his house? God doesn’t need to ask to visit anyone’s house. He’s God! Here’s one more proof of Jesus’ deity. If He wasn’t God, He was arrogant and intrusive.

Zaccheus may possibly have liquidated all of his wealth if he kept his word to Jesus. Half he was going to give to the poor, leaving a half, or four-eighths. And if he paid back anyone whom he had defrauded four times as much, and if he had gained one-eighth of his income by defrauding people (something for which tax collectors were notorious), that would have left him with nothing. He was unlike the rich, young ruler in this regard, who was unwilling to liquidate his wealth to benefit the poor.

Notice that Jesus did not say to Zaccheus, “Oh no! You don’t need to do all that to be saved! That would be salvation by works, not faith! So just accept me as your personal Savior and everything will be alright!” Rather, He commended Zaccheus for repenting of two damning sins: greed and thievery. Previously, he hadn’t cared for the poor, and he had gained his wealth, at least in part, by dishonesty in his business of collecting taxes. Because of his public repentance, Jesus said salvation had come to his house. In light of such clear scriptures, it is incredible that anyone within Christendom thinks that he or she can gain eternal life while being dishonest in money matters and ignoring the plight of the poor, especially of poor believers. And why did Zaccheus repent? Because he believed in the Lord Jesus.

Those traveling with Jesus towards Jerusalem naturally thought He was about to establish the long-awaited kingdom of God. He had already told His apostles that He would be scourged and crucified, but His statements were incomprehensible to them. So He told another parable to give them some idea what to expect of Him, and what He expected of them in His absence. Specifically, He expected them, just as He expects us, to be fruitful, making a profit on what He has to entrusted us for His kingdom.

Everyone who produces a spiritual profit will receive a reward, perhaps in the form of being entrusted with some greater responsibility in His future kingdom. Anyone who does not will be considered a “worthless slave” (19:22). In a similar parable that we read in Matthew 25:14-30, the parable of the talents, the unprofitable servant was “cast out…into the outer darkness” where there was “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:30). All unprofitable servants of Christ will be cast into hell, because even though they professed to be servants of Christ, their unfruitfulness will prove their profession to be bogus.

The Mount of Olives sits directly beside Jerusalem. It was probably from there, looking across the Kidron Valley, that Jesus wept over the city. Picture, for a moment, Jesus sitting on a stationary donkey, weeping over Jerusalem. That will give you a little deeper revelation of the Lord’s character. While weeping, Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, fulfilled 37 years later by a Roman army. God would use the Romans as a tool of His divine judgment.

I’ve read the ancient historian Josephus’ eyewitness account of Jerusalem’s fall. The city was besieged by Titus with 8,000 Roman troops during Passover, when Jews were gathered from all over Israel. The siege lasted for months, so that no one could get in or out of the city. Thousands died of starvation while hoping for a messiah to come and rescue them. Jews who went out of the city at night to gather food were caught by the hundreds, and were whipped, tortured and crucified near the city walls. So many were crucified that there weren’t enough crosses, so several at a time would be crucified on one cross. Some who deserted the city to surrender to the Roman camp were discovered to have swallowed gold, and consequently thousands of deserters were killed and dissected for the potential find of gold in their stomachs. By the time Jerusalem fell, more than one million Jews had died. No wonder Jesus wept.