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In Triumphant Arrival: Luke 19

In Summary:

Luke 19 gives us the story of Zaccheus in the opening section. This is a well-known event, so I won’t dwell on it. Two things are worth remembering in this story, though, that occasionally get overlooked. First, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. In Luke, that means on his way to the Cross. Yet he takes the time to interact with Zaccheus. I don’t know where you are going today, but you likely have no more on your mind that Jesus did. Second, Zaccheus does not see Jesus from the tree, but when he comes down from it.

Next, we see the parable of the minas and nobleman. It is similar to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, and I will not attempt to deal with harmonizing or separating the two. For me, I don’t see a problem with Jesus using two similar parables. I am not persuaded that every parable must be a true story. Some may fall into the fable-type category. This one, I think, falls into an allegory category. It is a story that reflects the work of Jesus as King of Kings. Whether there was an earthly individual who went through a similar event is not the point.

This parable reflects the importance of being faithful with what we have. Further, I think there is something to be seen here about rightly understanding and associating the character of the King. I think further study would be useful in looking at Luke 19:22 and raising the question of how much people will be judged on their false assumptions about God.

In Focus:

Moving forward, let us put the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in focus. He comes into Jerusalem riding on a colt, as Zechariah’s prophecy indicated (Zechariah 9:9). Further, this echoes the coronation of Solomon in 1 Kings 1:33 where he is placed on a mule rather than a mighty, noble steed. The throng acclaims the blessedness of the coming of Jesus.

Rather than a happy moment, though, this turns into a terribly sad and difficult one. Jesus first weeps over Jerusalem and the coming destruction of the Temple and the city. He is aware of the final destruction that the Romans will bring. From there, Jesus steps forward to address the glaring problem in the Temple at the time: the sales folk. There is some level of debate about who and what Jesus drove out, but the general consensus puts a monopoly in the Temple, selling necessary sacrificial items.

It worked like this: Scripture demanded sacrifices without spot or blemish. In what likely started as a good thing, animals were available for sale in the outer courts of the Temple that were effectively “guaranteed” to meet the qualifications. That grew to a thriving business, where only Temple-sold animals were acceptable. Further, only Temple-certified coinage was acceptable, so you also had money changers who would swap out your drachmae for acceptable Temple coins.

Worship had become big business. In the process, it had ceased to be worship. True, it was clean and pretty, uniform and polished. But the central point of worship is not being polished or shiny. The central point is the Lord God Himself.

In Practice:

In this, Jesus lays out a critical concept for us. Heartfelt worship may not always be pretty and polished. Truthfully, we often snuff the passion and heart of our fellow servants of the Lord in our quest for shininess. Admittedly, there have been times when a little more effort should have been poured out, and some of us should *never* sing solos. However, worship as big business, worship as picture perfect is antithetical to worship as the response of those freed by the grace of God.

Why? Because the worshiper is still human and not God. The One we worship is perfect. We who worship are not.

So let the heart go. Not to the points of disobedience—nowhere does Scripture endorse some of the nonsense done in the name of worship. Yet singing a little flat of voice? Or the messiness of children among the body of believers? These are more than just alright. They are part of gathering the redeemed. Let them be as welcome as you are.


In Nerdiness: 

Just a brief nerd thought about “the stones crying out” in Luke 19:40. First, there is Matthew 27:51 to consider.


Second is this thought: Ebenezer. 1 Samuel 7:12. Sometimes, our remembrance is weak. Let us never fail to have reminders, even stones, to cry out of the deliverance and work of God to remind future generations. Let the stones speak in our absence.

And then there is this question: how should Luke 19:38 be related to Luke 2:14?

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