SUMMARY.--Zacchæus the Publican. Parable of the Ten Pounds. The Royal Entry into Jerusalem. Weeping in Jerusalem. Cleansing the Temple.
1. He entered and was passing through Jericho. He had crossed the Jordan at the ford beyond Jericho, and the road from thence to Jerusalem led through Jericho, "the city of palm trees," the chief city of all eastern Judea. It stood at the mouth of the gap in the mountain rampart, through which the road ascended to Jerusalem, more than 3,000 feet above the plain of Jericho.
2. Zacchæus, . . . chief among the publicans. The importance of Jericho and its situation would make it an important center for the collection of the Roman tribute. At the head of the publicans engaged in this business was Zacchæus. He seems to have had supervision of the district. He was rich. A very suspicious fact in a member of a class noted for their extortion.
3, 4. Sought to see Jesus. Out of curiosity. Climbed up into a sycamore tree. A kind of mulberry fig with low branches. His shortness of stature and the crowd made this necessary if he would see Jesus.
5. To-day I must abide at thy house. Tarry there for the night. Jesus went there, not for congenial society, but because his mission was to seek and save the lost.
6. He received him joyfully. He did not expect such an honor as the Great Teacher would stop with one of a class so despised by the Jews as his own.
7. They all murmured. How often these complaints of Jesus stooping down at the company of sinners are recorded! Now, however, the crowd expected that at Jerusalem his kingdom would be proclaimed, but here he is the guest of the chief agent of the oppressive Roman tribute! Had Christ sought popularity he would never have gone with Zacchæus.
8. Zacchæus stood, and said. The record is silent as what had wrought so great a change. No doubt the Lord had preached to him. Half of my goods, I give to the poor. What greater proof of a change of heart! His heart had been on riches; now at once he consecrates one-half to the relief of suffering. If I have wrongfully exacted. He no doubt had, if half that is stated of the publicans was true. I restore fourfold. Not only what he has taken, but four times as much. No repentance that does not lead to restitution is genuine. "If what thou hast taken wrongfully cannot be restored to those who were wronged, give it to God; the poor are God's receivers."
9. Salvation is come to this house. Because Zacchæus has truly repented. Forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. Therefore entitled to a place in the kingdom, according to the narrow Jewish ideas, but also now shown to be a spiritual son of Abraham, born not of the flesh, but of the spirit (Gal. 3:7).
10. The Son of man is come to seek, etc. Therefore he went to lodge with the publicans and the sinner in order to save.
11. Because he was nigh to Jerusalem. From fifteen to twenty miles away. The crowd thought that when he reached Jerusalem "his kingdom would immediately appear;" an earthly kingdom like that of David. The parable that follows was spoken, in part, to correct that idea.
12. A certain nobleman went into a far country. While this parable is much like that of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30 and Mark 13:34-36), it is a different one in many particulars; spoken elsewhere; for a different purpose. To receive for himself a kingdom. As Christ would leave the earth and ascend to heaven before he would receive his kingdom.
13. Gave them ten pounds. Each a pound. The Greek term is mina, a weight of silver equivalent to about sixteen dollars. Trade ye till I come. This was all given to be used. It was given to his servants. It represents whatever ability, whether of wealth or mind, that we have to serve Christ.
14. His citizens hated him. The Jews. After his departure, they still refused to have him for king.
15. When he was come back again. When he returns to reward his servants; his final coming. Commanded these servants . . . to be called. To give an account. This is done at judgment. Death calls us to account also.
16-19. Thy pound hath made ten pounds. It is the Lord's goods, faithfully used, that has given the increase. The faithful discharge of duty is rewarded by an increased trust and increased honor. See notes on Matt. 25:19-23.
20-23. Lord, here is thy pound. See notes on Matt. 25:24-27, where the case is similar. The lesson is that our abilities must be used for the Lord. It is not enough that we are not positively wicked; we must do good.
24-26. Said to them that stood by. The angels (Matt. 13:41; 2 Thess. 1:7; Jude 14). To every one that hath shall be given. To those who have been faithful and efficient shall be given still greater trusts when the Lord comes, but from the faithless will be taken their opportunities forever. The faithless servant is a faithless church member.
27. These mine enemies. This portrays the fate, not of church members, but of those who would not have the Lord reign over them. It embraces all the impenitent. Compare Matt. 13:49; 21:44; 25:30; 2 Thess. 1:8-10.
28-40. Going up to Jerusalem. The ascent begins at Jericho, and about 3,000 feet has to be climbed before the city is reached. The account of the royal entrance into Jerusalem is given in Matt. 21:1-16; Mark 11:1-11, and John 12:12-19. See the notes on Matthew. At the descent of the mount of Olives. Where the city and temple burst into view.
41-44. He saw the city and wept over it. This lament over the wicked city is given only by Luke. In that moment when the multitude is shouting his praises, his heart is breaking over the woes of the city that he knew would slay him. Only in one other place are we told that Jesus wept (John 11:35), each time over human sorrow. If thou hadst known in this day. The day of opportunity and mercy. But their eyes were blinded by unbelief. The things which belong unto peace. The acceptance of Christ would have prevented the rebellion against Rome, the destruction of the city, and would have secured heavenly as well as earthly peace. Thine enemies shall cast a bank about thee. The Romans threw a wall around the city outside of the walls of defence in order to hem in all the population and to starve them out. Shall not leave in thee one stone upon another. The city was utterly destroyed. See notes on Matthew, chapter 24. Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. When Christ came to save them from their awful fate.
45-48. He cast out them that sold. An act of kingly authority. See notes on Matt. 21:12-15 and Mark 11:18, 19. For the people all hung upon him. His popularity with the people made it difficult for his enemies to carry out their purposes.