1 – 5
Jesus was going through the city of Jericho. In Jericho there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a wealthy, very important tax collector. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but he was too short to see above the crowd. He ran ahead to a place where he knew Jesus would come.
He climbed a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus. When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and saw Zacchaeus in the tree. He said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down! I must stay at your house today.”
Jesus went this way so that He could meet Zacchaeus. We should plan to go places where we know people are waiting to hear the Gospel even if it takes us out of our way.
6 – 7
Zacchaeus came down quickly. He was happy to have Jesus in his house. All the people saw this and began to complain, “Look at the kind of man Jesus stays with. Zacchaeus is a sinner!”
The Jews saw tax collectors as men who turned against their own country.
8 – 10
But Zacchaeus said to the Lord, “I will give half of my money to the poor. If I have cheated anyone, I will pay that person back four times more!”
Jesus said, “Salvation has come to this house today. This man truly belongs to the family of Abraham. The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them.”
Zacchaeus is not only happy that someone is being kind to him but He sees that knowing Jesus is worth giving up everything he has gotten for himself. It is a good feeling when we reach out to people who are not used to being loved. A little bit of love goes a long way!
11 – 14
Jesus traveled closer to Jerusalem. Some of the people thought that God’s kingdom would appear soon. Jesus knew that the people thought this, so he told them this story: “A very important man was preparing to go to a country far away to be made a king. Then he planned to return home and rule his people.
So the man called ten of his servants together. He gave a bag of money to each servant. He said, ‘Do business with this money till I get back.’ But the people in the kingdom hated the man. So they sent a group to follow him and say, ‘We do not want this man to be our king!’
It is interesting that in those years there were some local leaders who went to Rome to ask that they could be made kings. The Jews hated these men and said they did not want them to be their kings. Jesus was showing us how to use the local news to get people to pay attention when we speak.
This also reminds the Jews that God sent Jesus and He will be their king but they do not want Him.
15 – 17
But the man became king. When he came home, he said, ‘Call those servants who have my money. I want to know how much they earned with it.’
The first servant came and said, ‘Sir, I earned ten bags of money with the one bag you gave me!’ The king said to the servant, ‘Fine! You are a good servant. I see that I can trust you with small things. So now I will let you rule over ten of my cities.’
What have we been given? People who the Lord sends to us so they hear the Gospel! The treasure of God’s Word is not just for us to keep for ourselves but to share and watch it grow!
18 – 19
The second servant said, ‘Sir, with your one bag of money I earned five bags!’ The king said to this servant, ‘You can rule over five cities.’
These treasures are God’s not ours! We see here that this servant was not able to do as much but the Lord is not angry with him. Some of us are not able to do as much as others but we are only asked to do what we can instead of doing nothing!
20 – 22
Then another servant came in. The servant said to the king, ‘Sir, here is your bag of money. I wrapped it in a piece of cloth and hid it. I was afraid of you because you are a hard man. You even take money that you did not earn and gather food that you didn’t plant.’
Then the king said to the servant, ‘You evil servant! I will use your own words to condemn you. You said that I am a hard man. You said that I even take money that I did not earn and gather food that I did not plant.
These are the type of people who say that they fear God but are not afraid to go against what He has told them! They do not see it as an honor to serve Jesus.
The Jews see God as and angry king who wants to send anybody to hell who does not keep a big list of crazy things that they made up and which God never said! So the Lord says He will treat them the way they expect to be treated.
23. If that is true, then you should have put my money in the bank. Then, when I came back, my money would have earned some interest.’
If you do not want to share God’s Word then at least help missionaries or others in the ministry so that God can get something out of His investment in you.
24 – 25
Then the king said to the men who were watching, ‘Take the bag of money away from this servant and give it to the servant who earned ten bags of money.’ They said to the king, ‘But sir, that servant already has ten bags of money!’
If you do not use what God has taught you in the Bible then you may someday find that you cannot even remember what you have learned.
26 – 27
The king said, ‘The one who uses what he has will get more. But the one who does not use what he has will have everything taken away from him. 27 Now where are my enemies who did not want me to be king? Bring them here and kill them before me.’”
The Jews had God’s Word and they did not use it correctly so they will be destroyed if they do not turn away from what they have done.
28 – 34
After Jesus said this, he went on toward Jerusalem. Jesus came near Bethphage and Bethany, towns near the hill called the Mount of Olives. Then he sent out two of his followers.
He said, “Go into the town you can see there. When you enter it, you will find a colt tied there. No one has ever ridden this colt. Untie it, and bring it here to me. If anyone asks you why you are taking it, say, ‘The Master needs it.’”
The two followers went into town. They found the colt just as Jesus told them. 3 The followers untied it, but the owners of the colt came out. They asked the followers, “Why are you untying our colt?” The followers answered, “The Master needs it.”
It must be that the man who owned this donkey had told the Lord that everything he had belonged to God. He may have asked God to please used him in some way. Would you be happy for God to take something of yours and use it?
35 – 36
So they brought it to Jesus. They threw their coats on the colt’s back and put Jesus on it. As Jesus rode toward Jerusalem, the followers spread their coats on the road before him.
Here is another time that Jesus did something that was promised in the Old Testament.
Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet He is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt. Zechariah 9:9
37 – 38
Jesus was coming close to Jerusalem. He was already near the bottom of the Mount of Olives. The whole crowd of followers was very happy. They began shouting praise to God for all the powerful works they had seen. They said, “God bless the king who comes in the name of the Lord! There is peace in heaven and glory to God!”
This exact day also was talked in the Old Testament in different places. Daniel 9:25, Psalm 118:24-26
39 – 40
Some of the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell your followers not to say these things!” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my followers do not say these things, then the stones will cry out.”
It is sad to remember that these same people were afraid of the Pharisees and a few days later they were crying for Jesus to be killed.
41 – 44
Jesus came near Jerusalem. He saw the city and began to cry for it. Jesus said to Jerusalem, “I wish you knew today what would bring you peace! But you can’t know it, because it is hidden from you.
A time is coming when your enemies will build a wall around you and will hold you in on all sides. They will destroy you and all your people. Not one stone of your buildings will be left on another. All this will happen because you did not know the time when God came to save you.”
Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70 A.D. when the Romans were tired of the Jews always fighting against them. The Roman soldiers burned the Temple and then they saw that gold was running into the cracks of the stones so they pulled them apart to get the stones. All that can be seen today are some of the lowest foundation stones.
45 – 46
Jesus went into the Temple. He began to throw out the people who were selling things there. He said, “It is written in the Scriptures, ‘My Temple will be a house where people will pray.’ But you have changed it into a ‘hideout for robbers’!”
Malachi said that the Messiah would come to the temple. Malachi 3:1
Jesus had already cleared the temple before, but their hearts were not changed and they had gone back to what they were doing as soon as Jesus left. John 2:15
47 – 48
Jesus taught in the Temple every day. The leading priests, the teachers of the law, and some of the leaders of the people wanted to kill Jesus.
But all the people were listening closely to him and were interested in all the things he said. So the leading priests, the teachers of the law, and the leaders did not know how they could kill him.
But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. 1 Corinthians 2:8