Luke 19-20
(Jesus Arrives to Save the Lost)
October 29th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2015

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Please refer to the Bible version of your choice to read this section. For your convenience, links are provided below that take you directly to these chapters in multiple versions of

Luke 19-20 (King James Version - KJV)
Luke 19-20 (New Revised Standard Version - NRSV)
Luke 19-20 (New International Version - NIV)
Luke 19-20 (The Message - MSG)

In addition, the link below takes you to the NAB version from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Luke 19 (New American Bible - NAB) (click the "next chapter" link on the site for chapter 20)

Key Verse

They proclaimed: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest."

- Luke 19:38 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

In these two chapters, Jesus stops in Jericho on his way to Jerusalem and then arrives in Jerusalem where he received a greeting fit for a king. While there he continued to teach the people and infuriated the jealous leaders. The first part of chapter 19 is only found in Luke, while the remainder is a reinforcement of the other Gospels.

In Jericho, he invites himself to the home of a great sinner, Zacchaeus, a notorious chief tax collector. The mutterers and mumblers began to criticize Jesus again, but his plan worked, as Zacchaeus offered to pay back everything he had earned by cheating - and then some. Jesus rejoiced over the salvation of this one little man who was so dishonest that his own countrymen rejected him and was so short that he had climbed a tree to see Jesus:

    Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

    - Luke 19:9-10 (NIV)

Later in this chapter, Luke provides his version of the arrival in Jerusalem and the cleansing of the temple.

In Chapter 20, Luke records Jesus telling the story of the "Parable of the Wicked Tenants" and then describes how Jesus handled the challenge from the leaders regarding paying of taxes and marital relations in Heaven. The "Parable of the Wicked Tenants" includes a well-known quote from Psalm 118, which must have been familiar to the Pharisees and other experts in the law. The parable made the Pharisees angry, but Jesus' responses to their challenges left them dumbfounded. At the end of this chapter, Jesus warns the rest of the people about these leaders: “ ‘They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely’ (Luke 20:47 - NIV).”

Reflection and Application

The story of Zacchaeus is recorded by Luke but not the other Gospel writers. It brings to life the parables that he recorded earlier about the lost sheep, coin, and son. Jesus sought Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus responded with confession and sacrifice, and Jesus welcomed him home, just like the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus’ response to Zachchaeus’ repentance is a good summary of the Gospel story, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (19:10 - NIV).”

Zacchaeus was able to do what the rich men in the other passages could not. He knew that his ill-gained wealth was an obstacle to his redemption, so he gave it back and God rejoiced. What is our obstacle and how do we move it away?

Jesus quotes the 118th Psalm to let the people know that the Scriptures had foretold that the Pharisees would reject Jesus, but that Jesus would be the capstone – the key stone in holding together a building.

    The stone the builders rejected
        has become the cornerstone;
    the Lord has done this,
        and it is marvelous in our eyes.
    The Lord has done it this very day;
        let us rejoice today and be glad.

    Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!

    Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
        From the house of the Lord we bless you.
    The Lord is God,
        and he has made his light shine on us.
    With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
        up to the horns of the altar.

    - Psalm 188:22-27 (NIV)

    "Parable of the Wicked Tenants"

    He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Heaven forbid!” But he looked at them and said, “What then does this text mean:

    ‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone’?

    Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” When the scribes and chief priests realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.

    - Luke 9:9-19 (NRSV)

We must be careful not to reject Jesus the way that they did.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions

    1. When was the last time you climbed a tree?
    2. Zacchaeus identified the obstacle to his redemption. What obstacles can we find in our life and how do we get rid of them?
    3. How do we let Jesus know that we have not rejected him the way the world has?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, please forgive us and take us back.

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Luke 21-22 (Sacrifice)

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