July 11, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Luke 19-20
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Context: Jesus shows, once again, His mission is to save the lowly, the worst of the worst, the lost, by eating with Zacchaeus. We can learn that doing good to others can lead to changes in them. The parable of the ten minas struck a familiar chord with Jesus' audience, as it was what Herod the Great, and later his son, did to achieve their power. It is also an allegory for Jesus coming to earth. He is the King the religious leaders do not want. At Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, more than just the 12 core disciples accompanied Him. It was the highest moment for Jesus. Nothing could stop the world from proclaiming that the King had come! Upon arriving at the temple, Jesus threw out all those who were not there for worship. This angered the religious leaders because they financially benefited from the sales that occurred. By Jesus staying and teaching at the temple, the sellers and money changers were unable to return. When we interview for a new job, we are asked for a resume, our credentials as to why we are the best candidate for the job. In the beginning of chapter 20, Jesus' credentials for teaching are questioned. The priests had their lineage, the scribes had their studying and training, and the elders had their experience. Jesus had none, for they would not believe that He was the Son of God, giving Him more authority than any earthly lineage, training, or experience. In the parable of the vineyard, the vineyard represents God's gift to the Israelites and the tenants are the religious leaders or Israelites. The messengers are the prophets sent by God whom the people ignored and killed, and the son is Jesus. Again, the religious leaders attempted to trick Jesus by asking Him about taxes. Both of the two logical answers are wrong to one division or another, however Jesus sees through their trick and, accepting the authority they have unknowingly granted to Him, provides and answer that is unexpected. The Sadducees took their turn to try and outsmart Jesus by asking Him about the resurrection. Jesus' response provides a glimpse into what will occur: not everyone will be resurrected, life will not be the same. Chapter 20 ends with Jesus providing a warning against returning to Judaism when times become difficult.
World History: Zacchaeus was not only a tax collector, he was in charge of other tax collectors and received a cut of their profits. In order to acquire his position, Zacchaeus had to cheat and steal from others. He was also considered a traitor by many Jews, as he willing worked for the Romans. Herod the Great, and later his son, each went to the Roman government to achieve their power, even though they were unwanted by the people they were going to be ruling over.