Today’s lengthy chapter covers a lot of ground, taking us from Jericho to Jerusalem, from a repentant sinner up a tree to the plotting priests in the Temple.
The story of Zacchaeus, the “wee little man” we sang about as children, highlights the mission of Jesus to seek and save the lost (v.10). When Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house, He was inviting Zacchaeus to receive Him. We don’t know what transpired in that house, but we know the result of Jesus’ ministry with the little rich man: Zacchaeus repented of his sins, evidenced by His eagerness to admit his fraud and pay restitution; he received Jesus as Lord (calling Him “Lord,” v.8); and he was saved (v.9)!
Jesus told the parable of verses 12-27 to correct a false assumption of His followers, who assumed that the Kingdom of God in its final form would appear immediately. The story teaches us a simple lesson about what we should do between now and the Second Coming of Jesus. We have been given excellent resources to do His work. We have spiritual gifts, the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the glorious church of Jesus, and a host of brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Until Jesus returns, He expects us to use what He has entrusted to us to “engage in business” (v.13) — the business of making disciples and building His church. One day, like the servants in verse 15, we will give an account to our King of how we used the resources He gave us.
Verse 28 begins the last week of Jesus’ life before He died on the cross. He descended the Mount of Olives on a colt, making a King’s entrance into the Holy City. The procession, punctuated by shouts of praise, was a joyful event. Jesus, however, was weeping over Jerusalem (v.41). He was visualizing the tragic, hopeless future of those who would not receive Him.
Entering the Temple in Jerusalem, emotions were riding high. Jesus, moved with holy zeal, chased out the thieves. The religious leaders were plotting the murder of Jesus. And “all the people” (the common people) hung on every word He said. So should we…His words are life-giving and life-changing!