Christmas to Calvary — December 19


Jesus and Zacchaeus

And he entered and traveled through Jericho. And there was a man named Zacchaeus, and he was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he was seeking to see Jesus—who he was—and he was not able to as a result of the crowd, because he was short in stature. And he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree so that he could see him, because he was going to go through that way. And when he came to the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, because it is necessary for me to stay at your house today!” And he came down quickly and welcomed him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all began to complain, saying, “He has gone in to find lodging with a man who is a sinner!” And Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I am giving to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone, I am paying it back four times as much!” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those who are lost.”

The Parable of the Ten Minas

Now while they were listening to these things, he went on and told a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. Therefore he said, “A certain nobleman traveled to a distant country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. And summoning ten of his own slaves, he gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business until I come back.’ But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to be king over us!’ And it happened that when he returned after receiving the kingdom, he ordered these slaves to whom he had given the money to be summoned to him, so that he could know what they had gained by trading. So the first arrived, saying, ‘Sir, your mina has made ten minas more!’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been faithful in a very small thing, have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Sir, your mina has made five minas.’ So he said to this one also, ‘And you be over five cities.’ And another came, saying, ‘Sir, behold your mina, which I had put away for safekeeping in a piece of cloth. For I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man—you withdraw what you did not deposit, and you reap what you did not sow!’ He said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, wicked slave! You knew that I am a severe man, withdrawing what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. And why did you not give my money to the bank, and I, when I returned, would have collected it with interest?’ And to the bystanders he said, ‘Take away from him the mina and give it to the one who has the ten minas!’ And they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten minas.’ ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. But these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence!’”

The Triumphal Entry

And after he had said these things, he traveled on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. And it happened that when he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, to the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, in which as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no person has ever sat, and untie it and bring it. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you will say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” So those who were sent went and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ So they said, ‘The Lord has need of it.’ And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they put Jesus on it. And as he was going along, they were spreading out their cloaks on the road. Now as he was drawing near by this time to the descent from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began rejoicing to praise God with a loud voice for all the miracles that they had seen, saying,

“Blessed is the king,
the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest!”

And some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” And he answered and said, “I tell you that if these keep silent, the stones will cry out!”

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

And when he approached and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you had known on this day—even you—the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you and your enemies will put up an embankment against you, and will surround you and press you hard from all directions. And they will raze you to the ground, you and your children within you, and will not leave a stone upon a stone within you, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

The Cleansing of the Temple

And he entered into the temple courts and began to drive out those who were selling, saying to them, “It is written, ‘And my house will be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a cave of robbers!”

And he was teaching every day in the temple courts, and the chief priests and the scribes and the most prominent men of the people were seeking to destroy him. And they did not find anything they could do, because all the people were paying close attention to what they were hearing from him.

Questions for Reflection:

  • How well positioned are you to see Jesus? Do you need to move in some way (physically, socially, spiritually) in order to get a clear sight of the Lord?

  • What evidence of repentance do we see in Zacchaeus? What evidence of repentance was evident at your conversion?

  • What do we learn about the sovereignty of Jesus and the certainty of His Kingdom from today’s chapter? Do these things give you hope?

  • Jesus promises that the world cannot take away the peace He gives (John 14:27, 16:33), but we see Christians who lack peace and face trouble. How do we reconcile those two things?

Live-the-Word Challenge

Jesus wept over Jerusalem; do you weep over your town? There are no doubt many who complain about your town, but there are few who will genuinely feel a need for helping the town – and fewer still who will do something about it. The most you can do for your town is pray. Rather than complaining to others, gossiping (in person or on social media), pray to God about your concerns for the community. Then, look to serve Him in your community.

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