For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2001 James Melough

19:1.  “And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.”

See notes on 18:35 relative to the Lord’s entering and leaving Jericho.

19:2.  “And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.”

Zacchaeus is the Greek form of Zaccai, and has the same meaning pure: my pure ones, but I regret being unable to see what significance might be attached to this meaning.

As noted already, the publicans were tax collectors, and Zacchaeus the equivalent of superintendent of taxes, and since they were all rich, his being described as rich indicates that he was very rich.  The fact that he was saved, though rich, reminds us that riches themselves aren’t evil, nor does the possession of them make salvation impossible.  It is the love of money that is evil.  Unlike the rich young ruler whose love of his riches kept him from Christ, Zacchaeus valued his soul more than his money.  He was willing to give up his wealth rather than lose his soul.

19:3.  “And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.”

The reason for his wishing to see the Lord isn’t given, though it is probable that it may have been mere curiosity, but his short stature made it impossible for him to see over the heads of the crowd.

19:4.  “And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore (mulberry) tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.”

Obviously he was determined to let nothing hinder him from seeing the Lord, reminding us that sinners who would “see Jesus,” i.e., come to know Him as Savior; and saints who would know more about Him, must be equally whole-hearted, for the Lord doesn’t reveal Himself to the apathetic - sinner or saint.  Apathy relative to Bible study is largely responsible for the lack of knowledge amongst professing Christians today.

19:5.  “And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at they house.”

The Lord will never pass by an earnest seeker.  He knew all about this publican, even his name, as He does about every man; and Zacchaeus’ expectations were met in fuller measure than he had ever imagined.  He not only saw Jesus: he came to know Him as His personal Savior, and had the privilege of having the Lord in his home as his guest.  The Lord always does for the earnest seeker, “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” Eph 3:20.

19:6.  “And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.”

No joy equals that which Christ brings into a man’s life.

19:7.  “And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.”

The obvious implication is that they didn’t consider themselves to be sinners, and in this we see pictured the attitude, not only of the self-righteous Pharisees, but of their present day counterparts: the equally self-righteous religious churchgoers who fail to see that they too need the salvation which Christ alone can give.  And their sin was compounded by the fact that in their blind self-righteousness they perceived the Lord Himself to be something less than righteous, “He was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.”  This is always the concomitance of self-righteousness.  The measure in which a man sees himself as having no need of salvation, is the measure in which he declares the insufficiency of Christ.  It is, however, only to self-confessed sinners that the Lord Jesus Christ offers salvation.

19:8.  “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.”

His use of the term Lord implies that he had made Christ Lord of his life, and as someone has well commented, “If Christ isn’t Lord of all, He isn’t Lord at all.”

It is to be noted, that unlike the rich young ruler mentioned in the previous chapter, Zacchaeus wasn’t told to sell all that he had and give to the poor, for the very good reason that he had made no self-righteous boast relative to having kept the law.  He had obviously been willing to confess himself a sinner, and as already observed, no where does God’s Word say that a condition of salvation is that a man must give up all he possesses.  Since he was willing to give half of his goods to the poor, the obvious implication is that his ministry to their needs wouldn’t stop there.  Out of what he had left he would still be able to help them.  The attitude of his heart was right, and that is what is important to the Lord.

In regard to restoring fourfold what he had taken by false accusation, this went far beyond the requirements of law, for in Ex 22:4 it is written that restitution was to be double.  See also Le 6:1-5, and Nu 5:6-7.  We must not forget, however, that it was his faith, not his willingness to give up his riches, that saved Zacchaeus.  His works were the evidence of the faith in his heart.

19:9.  “And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham.”

A better translation of this verse is “Jesus said of (not “unto”) him....”  This may not necessarily be taken to imply that everyone in the house was saved at the same time as Zacchaeus, but rather that he, the head of the house had been saved, and certainly it is very likely that through his testimony to the other members of his household, some of them at least would also be saved.

The reference to his being a son of Abraham declares not only that he was literally descended from Abraham, but that he was now also Abraham’s spiritual son because he had the same faith as Abraham, as it is written of every believer, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise,” Ga 3:29.

19:10.  “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

While this rebuked those who had complained about His having anything to do with Zacchaeus, it declared also the purpose for which the Lord had come down to earth: it was to seek and to save the lost, and though they didn’t accept the fact, they were just as lost spiritually as had been Zacchaeus, and were also just as much the objects of the Savior’s love.

19:11.  “And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.”

It’s being said that He related the parable because He was near to Jerusalem, and because they expected the immediate establishment of the millennial kingdom, reminds us that the expectation of the people was very far from what was about to be.

It seems that the miracles the Lord performed had almost convinced them that He was the Messiah, and that He would immediately establish His millennial kingdom.  They failed to take account of the prophetic Scriptures which declared that the Messiah must first die to make atonement for sin, and that the nation must confess their need of that atonement, before there could be any millennial kingdom.  That confession the nation would not make, however.  They would instead declare themselves righteous, make the Lord a blasphemer, and crucify Him (all as foretold by their own prophets), with the result that the establishment of the kingdom would be postponed till a day which is still future.  And the linking together of Jerusalem and the kingdom declares that the very city which should have received Him with gladness as King, would instead reject Him as a malefactor, and kill Him.

19:12.  “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.”

Before examining the details of this parable it is necessary to note that while it is similar in some respects to that of the talents recorded in Mt 25, it is not the same parable.  As is pointed out in the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Bible Commentary, “This parable was spoken ‘when He was nigh to Jerusalem,’ v.11; that one, some days after entering it, and from the Mount of Olives.  (2) This parable was spoken to the promiscuous crowd; that, to the Twelve alone.  Accordingly, (3) Besides the ‘servants’ in this parable, who profess subjection to him, there is a class of ‘citizens’ who refuse to own Him, and who are treated differently; whereas in the Talents, spoken to the former class alone, this latter class is omitted.  (4) In the Talents, each servant receives a different number of them (5,2,1); in the Pounds all receive the same one pound .... also, in the talents, each shows the same fidelity by doubling what he received .... in the Pounds, each receiving the same, render a different return (one making his pound 10, another 5).  Plainly, therefore, the intended lesson is different.”

The nobleman was the Lord Himself; and the far country, heaven, to which He would go after His crucifixion, to await the time when the Father would give Him the kingdom, at which time He would return to fulfill the remainder of the parable.

19:13.  “And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy (trade, do business) till I come.”

Inasmuch as ten is the number of God in government, the ten servants and the ten pounds, assure us, that rejected and crucified though He would be, He was still God the Son, the Creator and Ruler of the universe.

The ten servants represent professed believers; and the ten pounds, the spiritual gifts given and to be used for Him during the time of His absence.  The fact that each received the same sum, one pound, declares the truth that each man has equal opportunity to serve the Lord.  We should note incidentally, that there is a different truth related to the pounds mentioned here, and the talents given the servants in Mt 25.  Here the emphasis is upon the equality of opportunity; there, upon the different degrees of ability possessed by each believer.  It is not a man’s ability, however, that matters: it is the measure of his faithfulness in rendering his service to the best of his ability.

19:14.  “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.”

The citizens are primarily Israel, for the kingdom is Jewish, but they include also the Gentiles, for they will share in the blessings of the Millennium.  The hatred of the citizens declares the hatred of God inherent in the heart of every natural man, Jew and Gentile alike.  How accurately the Lord foretold what would happen in just a few days!  The multitude would reject Him, and stand before Pilate crying, “We have no king but Caesar,” Jn 19:15.

It is specifically stated that it was after His departure the citizens, “... sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.”  This was fulfilled when Israel, having crucified Him, sent this message after Him in their martyrdom of Stephen, see Ac 7:57-60.

19:15.  “And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.”

The application is first to Israel when the Lord returns to end the Tribulation prior to the inauguration of His millennial kingdom.  The service of the Tribulation-age believers will be reviewed, their place in the administration of the earthly kingdom being in proportion to the measure of their faithfulness in the discharge of the Lord’s business during the time of His absence.  This, however, doesn’t exclude its application also to the believers of this present Church age.  At the Bema our service will also be reviewed, our places in the heavenly kingdom being in proportion to the measure of our faithfulness in the execution of His business during this present age.

The money given to each servant represents the measure of spiritual gift given each believer, both in this present age, and also in the coming Tribulation era.  While some have taken the number of pounds given each servant in Matthew 25 to represent the number of spiritual gifts given each believer, there is nothing in Scripture to indicate that any believer receives more than one spiritual gift, so it is the view of the present writer that the number of pounds represents rather the measure or degree of gift given; for example, it is beyond question that not all evangelists possess the gift of evangelism in the same measure, and the same applies also to teachers and elders.

19:16.  “Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.”

This faithful use of the pound to enrich the master, corresponds to the faithful use of a man’s spiritual gift to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.  Nor should we miss the significance of his having gained ten pounds, for since ten is the number of God in government, the truth being taught is that the Lord will be glorified only as we obey Him.

Nor should we fail to note that the servant described the pound which had been committed to his stewardship as “thy pound.”  There are some servants today who act as though their spiritual gift weren’t the Lord’s but theirs!  The possession of spiritual gift, particularly one that brings the recipient into the limelight, is fraught with danger.  In all too many instances it begets pride.

19:17.  “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.”

The reward was far greater than might have been expected for faithfulness in the management of just one pound, reminding us that the Lord’s reward for faithful stewardship will also be out of all proportion to our use of the spiritual gift with which He has endowed every believer, as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him,” 1 Co 2:9, and again, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward,” Mk 9:41.

That our reward will involve assignment to different levels of responsibility in the governmental hierarchy of Christ is made clear in that the faithful steward was given authority over ten cities.

19:18.  “And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.”

Since five is the number of responsibility, this servant’s having gained five pounds reminds us that each of us is responsible for what we do with the gift God has given us.  At the Bema we will have to render an account of our stewardship.

19:19.  “And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.”

Inasmuch as the gain was smaller, we are being reminded that spiritual gift is bestowed in different measure to each believer: for example, two men may be given the gift of evangelism, and to one the ability is given to use that gift to bring the gospel to large audiences, but to the other the ability to present the gospel only to small groups.  What matters is not the measure of the gift, but the faithfulness with which it is used.  This second servant, in proportion to the ability which God had given, had also been faithful, and accordingly he was given authority over five cities.

No one should envy another’s gift, nor should anyone despise the gift God has given another.  He bestows the gifts in perfect wisdom according to His sovereignty.  Our responsibility is to use to the utmost of our ability the gift God has given us.  It is to be remembered also that the size of the audience to whom I may be called to minister is of little importance.  The teacher, for example, who prepares a lesson for six has to spend exactly the same time and effort as for six hundred or six thousand.  At the Bema all these things will be taken into account, and the measure of faithfulness correspondingly rewarded.

19:20.  “And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:”

Since each had been given one pound, the lesson is that no matter what the degree of endowment, God views all spiritual gifts as having equal value.  What makes the difference is how they are used.  This third servant hadn’t used at all the pound entrusted to him, reminding us that every believer has been given a spiritual gift, but many have no exercise whatsoever relative to the use of that gift.  They are represented by this man who merited only the master’s rebuke.

It is ominously significant that the only other Biblical references to a napkin are related to death, the first being in Jn 11:44 which mentions that in death the face of Lazarus had been bound with a napkin; and in Jn 20:7 where it is said that the Lord’s head had been bound with a napkin at the time of His burial.  The napkin therefore appears to speak of death, and in the present context would teach that failure to use the spiritual gift God has given is equivalent to our being dead as far as earning any eternal reward is concerned.

19:21.  “For I feared thee, because thou art an austere (hard, harsh, rough) man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.”

This servant attempted to excuse his own delinquency by impugning the character of his master whose business acumen he sought to present in an evil light, an implication which is refuted by his generous reward of the faithful servants.  Such, however, tends to be the character of the disobedient, whether saint or sinner.  They will find fault with the Lord in order to divert attention from their own delinquency.

19:22.  “And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant.  Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:”

The master met the servant on his own ground.  Even if the master were as depicted by the servant, that in itself ought to have impelled diligence relative to what the master had entrusted to his care.  There are many professing Christians, who while they might not actually say so, view the service to which the Lord calls believers, as being unreasonable, too hard, too demanding, and so, like the delinquent servant in the parable, they refuse to do His work, forgetting that the path He calls His own to follow is one He Himself has already trodden, and forgetting also the magnitude of the reward He has reserved for those who do His will.  The truth is that where there is love for the Master His commands will never seem onerous.

His describing the servant as “wicked” doesn’t necessarily imply that he represents an unbeliever, for it is to be remembered that the fornicator mentioned in 1 Cor 5 is also described as “that wicked person,” verse 13, yet the sequel reveals that he was an erring believer, see 2 Cor 2:1-11.

19:23.  “Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?”

Some have seen in this the implication that even if one feels that he himself has no ability to do anything in the Lord’s service, he should at least be exercised about ministering to the needs of those who do seek to serve Him, and certainly this suggestion has merit.

The reference to the master’s coming reminds us that the Lord is coming again, and it could be sooner than we think.  It behooves all of us to live in the light of that expectation.

19:24.  “And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.”

19:25.  “(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)”

That which wisely used, would have brought him reward similar to that earned by the other servants, was taken from him, reminding us that failure to do what we can for the Lord will result in our eternal loss when we stand at His judgment seat.  On the other hand the giving of the forfeited pound to the servant who had earned ten, teaches the lesson that in proportion as we glorify the Lord so do we also lay up for ourselves increased eternal enrichment. 

19:26.  “For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.”

The first part of this verse is usually understood to teach that a man’s eternal enrichment will be in direct proportion to the faithfulness with which he used his spiritual gift for the Lord’s glory; while the second part declares the truth that neglect of spiritual gift will result in the man’s having to stand at the Bema as though he had not been given a spiritual gift.

Like natural gift, spiritual gift, if not exercised, will simply cease to exist, for both have this in common that the more they are used the stronger they become, and vice versa.  It is instructive also to note that the exercise of natural gift, begun early in life, leads to greater power in the use of the gift, and so is it with spiritual gift: the early exercise of the gift develops its power.

It is to be noted that here in the Lucan account the slothful servant didn’t lose his life, which may indicate that he portrays a slothful believer.  Such a man will lose much in the way of reward, but eternal life is based on faith in Christ, not on the faithfulness of our service.  It is very different with the enemies described in the next verse.  They were slain because they represent unbelievers.

19:27.  “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”

This speaks of the Lord’s return to end the Tribulation, judge the nations, and establish His millennial kingdom.  On that day unbelievers, likened to goats, will be assembled on His left hand, and then banished bodily into hell, while believers, likened to sheep, will be assembled on His right hand, and be invited to enter the millennial kingdom, see Mt 25:31-46.

19:28.  “And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.”

The Lord might pause to heal and teach, but nothing could turn Him aside from going to Jerusalem where He must die for the remission of men’s sins.

19:29.  “And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,”

19:30.  “Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.”

Bethphage means green fig-house; and Bethany, house of affliction (or response), and since Israel, during this present era of her rejection, is portrayed as a fig tree whose figs are green (not yet ripe), God bids us see in the reference to Bethphage the figure of the nation soon to be abandoned to her fate.  Bethany house of affliction (or response) on the other hand, reminds us that the believing remnant’s repentant response, produced by the judgments of the coming Tribulation period, will be answered by the response of God in delivering them from their enemies, and bringing them into the enjoyment of the millennial kingdom.

Nor should we miss the significance of the mount of Olives, for as the vine represents Israel in the past; and the fig, her present state, so does the olive represent her as she will be, enjoying the blessing of God in the Millennium.

Under the figure of the tethered ass’s male colt, God would have us see a picture of man in his natural state, for a careful study of Scripture makes it clear that the ass represents just such a man, or more particularly, the body of the natural man as the servant of the old nature, see for example Ex 13:13, “And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among they children shalt thou redeem.”  Its being a male (which always speaks of activity of the will), reminds us that man’s will is devoted completely to all that is contrary to God; while its being tethered shows us man by natural birth bound to the service of Satan and sin.  Its being described as a colt “whereupon yet never man sat” is the symbolic declaration of the truth that man in his natural state refuses to submit to God’s control, as it is written, “For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt,” Job 11:12.

The Lord’s command to “loose him” points to the truth that it is His desire that all men should be loosed (delivered) from spiritual bondage, and brought into the glorious liberty made available to all men through His atoning death.  But the colt wasn’t just to be loosed and left to do as he pleased: he was to be brought to the Lord for His service, and so is it with every believer.  We haven’t been delivered to live as we please, but to submit ourselves to the Lord’s control, for it is only under His wise beneficent rule that we can enjoy to the full the new life of faith.

19:31.  “And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.”

There are many today ready to question whether man has any need to be “loosed,” for man in his natural state is unaware that he is in bondage.  The reply to be given by the disciples, “The Lord hath need of him,” conveys a truth not always understood as it ought to be.  That God should desire to save us is amazing grace, but that He should also deign to permit us to have a part in His great work of spreading the good news of the gospel is grace beyond comprehension.

19:32.  “And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.”

He is a wise man who renders his service, not in the energy of the flesh, but of the Spirit, for only then will the Lord’s work be done.  Such servants will find every step directed by the Lord.

19:33.  “And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?”

The question echoes that of the natural man relative to salvation.  He sees no need of it, for as already noted, he is unconscious of being in bondage.

19:34.  “And they said, The Lord hath need of him.”

The absence of any demur on the part of the owners reminds us that the Lord can silence the objections of unbelief, and subdue the rebellion of all mankind.

19:35.  “And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.”

Unquestionably there is some spiritual truth connected with their putting their garments on the colt’s back, but I regret being unable to see clearly what it is, though since garments speak of righteousness (either the righteousness of Christ which clothes the believer, or the filthy rags of self-righteousness covering the unbeliever) it may be the symbolic demonstration of their submission to His control, that submission constituting true righteousness.

A colt doesn’t readily submit to being ridden, but has to undergo a breaking-in or training process, but this colt made no attempt to unseat the Lord, and the spiritual lesson is that genuine conversion (portrayed in the colt’s being loosed and brought to Jesus), is accompanied by willing acceptance of His control (portrayed in the Lord’s sitting upon the colt’s back and controlling its movements). 

It is instructive to note that the Lord rode upon the colt rather than the adult mother ass, as might have been expected, but in this too, God has a lesson to teach us.  The mother ass, the first generation, portrays what is of the flesh; but the colt, second generation, speaks of the second birth, and portrays the natural body kept in subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ.  As the Lord was glorified when He rode into Jerusalem on the colt’s back, so is Christ glorified when He is given control of the life.  And a further lesson lies in the fact, that under the Lord’s control the ass entered Jerusalem, meaning lay or set ye double peace.  The man who allows the Lord to control his life is also brought into the enjoyment of what Jerusalem represents: the peace of God which passeth all understanding.

19:36.  “And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.”

Apart from its being a gesture of honor, there seems to be here the same truth as is declared in their placing their garments on the colt’s back, but from a slightly different perspective.  The garments on the colt’s back may speak of the Lord’s control of the inward life: the thoughts and emotions; but those spread on the roadway, of His control of the outward life as lived under the scrutiny of men.

19:37.  “And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen:”

Clearly those rejoicing disciples fully expected the Lord to inaugurate His millennial kingdom right then, unaware that by the end of that same week He would be led out to Calvary to be crucified.  Had they been better acquainted with the Scriptures, they would have understood this, but the whole nation was so obsessed with the coming of Christ as the Lion of Judah, that they were blind to the fact that He must first come as the Lamb to die and make atonement for sin.

The “mighty works” were the miracles they had seen Him perform.

19:38.  “Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”

This continues to confirm that their whole expectation was of a mighty king coming to establish the millennial kingdom; but it is significant that God seems to have been controlling their adulation, for it is stressed that the peace was in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven, not on earth.  The sad truth is that their unbelief has resulted in postponement of peace on earth for what has proved to be twenty centuries, nor will the earth know peace until the seven years of the Tribulation will have brought Israel and the nations to repentance and saving faith in that same Christ Who has died to make atonement for sin.

19:39.  “And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.”

Those self-righteous hypocrites couldn’t bear to witness such honor being accorded the One Who had so vehemently denounced their own hypocrisy.

19:40.  “And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”

The very fact that the stones would have proclaimed Christ’s worth seems to confirm that it was God Himself Who was impelling the people to sound forth the praises of earth’s King.

19:41.  “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,”

19:42.  “Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.”

In the midst of all the unjustified euphoria the only One Who understood the true state of affairs was the Lord Himself, and while He might well have wept for what He knew was about to befall Him, His tears were not for Himself, but for the people and city whose lack of faith was about to bring upon them destruction instead of blessing.

19:43.  “For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,”

19:44.  “And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”

A brief thirty-eight years brought fulfillment of the Lord’s prediction, for in AD 70 the Romans did exactly as the Lord had foretold, but a more terrible fulfillment of His prediction is still future: that which will come in the fast approaching Tribulation.  But terrible as was the fate that overtook the Jerusalem which failed to know the day of its visitation, more awful still is that which will bring eternal destruction to men guilty of similar ignorance, that is, ignorance of the need of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ to make atonement for their sin, and of their need to trust Him as Savior.

19:45.  “And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;”

19:46.  “Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

What a travesty it was that the house of the God Who gives everything without charge, should have been turned into a market place!  But the travesty continues today, for the professing church is a virtual organization in which the so-called ministry is by hired clerics, many of whom lack the spiritual gift essential for true ministry, their only qualification being a theological education, about which Scripture is ominously silent, the whole system being a departure from the Divine order, and an abomination to God.

And it is the same relative to prayer.  The cold, parroted, liturgy that passes for prayer, and which is equally abhorrent to God, is a far cry from what is indited by the Holy Spirit.  As for their having made the temple a thieves’ den, the same denunciation is merited by those responsible for the order which governs most of the activity of the professing church today.

It is interesting to note that the first cleansing of the temple was during His first visit to Jerusalem, Jn 2:13-22; this second cleansing, on His last.

19:47.  “And he taught daily in the temple.  But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,”

Little has changed since then.  Organized religion is still the inveterate foe of God and His people, the hatred, however, being cleverly disguised under the religious facade which pretends to honor and serve Him; but let the Scriptural order be insisted upon, and the thinness of the veneer is quickly discovered.

19:48.  “And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.”

The angry frustration of those Jewish leaders is easily imagined, as they, the professed teachers of the people, had to stand by while the common people hung on the words of Christ, Whom the religious hierarchy of the day despised and hated as an unlettered rustic.  The measure of their hatred is revealed in that they wouldn’t rest until they had crucified Him.  That same hatred burns in the heart of every unconverted man today, in spite of all the religious activity in which he may engage.  Only the new birth can replace that enmity with love that will die for Christ’s sake, as it is written, “We love him, because he first loved us,” 1 Jn 4:19.

[Luke 20]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough