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19. Zaccaeus, Triumphal Entry
1And he entered and was passing through Jericho. 2And behold, a man called by name Zacchaeus; and he was a chief publican, and he was rich. 3And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the crowd, because he was little of stature. 4And he ran on before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house. 6And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, He is gone in to lodge with a man that is a sinner. 8And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wrongfully exacted aught of any man, I restore fourfold. 9And Jesus said unto him, To-day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. 11And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was immediately to appear. 12He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13And he called ten servants of his, and gave them ten pounds, and said unto them, Trade ye herewith till I come. 14But his citizens hated him, and sent an ambassage after him, saying, We will not that this man reign over us. 15And it came to pass, when he was come back again, having received the kingdom, that he commanded these servants, unto whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading. 16And the first came before him, saying, Lord, thy pound hath made ten pounds more. 17And he said unto him, Well done, thou good servant: because thou wast found faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18And the second came, saying, Thy pound, Lord, hath made five pounds. 19And he said unto him also, Be thou also over five cities. 20And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I kept laid up in a napkin: 21for I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that which thou layedst not down, and reapest that which thou didst not sow. 22He saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I am an austere man, taking up that which I laid not down, and reaping that which I did not sow; 23then wherefore gavest thou not my money into the bank, and I at my coming should have required it with interest? 24And he said unto them that stood by, Take away from him the pound, and give it unto him that hath the ten pounds. 25And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds. 26I say unto you, that unto every one that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him. 27But these mine enemies, that would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. 28And when he had thus spoken, he went on before, going up to Jerusalem. 29And it came to pass, when he drew nigh unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30saying, Go your way into the village over against you; in which as ye enter ye shall find a colt tied, whereon no man ever yet sat: loose him, and bring him. 31And if any one ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say, The Lord hath need of him. 32And they that were sent went away, and found even as he had said unto them. 33And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? 34And they said, The Lord hath need of him. 35And they brought him to Jesus: and they threw their garments upon the colt, and set Jesus thereon. 36And as he went, they spread their garments in the way. 37And as he was now drawing nigh, even 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 which they had seen; 38saying, Blessed is the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39And some of the Pharisees from the multitude said unto him, Teacher, rebuke thy disciples. 40And he answered and said, I tell you that, if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out. 41And when he drew nigh, he saw the city and wept over it, 42saying, If thou hadst known in this day, even thou, the things which belong unto peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43For the days shall come upon thee, when thine enemies shall cast up a bank about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44and shall dash thee to 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. 45And he entered into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold, 46saying unto them, It is written, And my house shall be a house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of robbers. 47And he was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy him: 48and they could not find what they might do; for the people all hung upon him, listening.
Luke 19:27. But those my enemies In this second part, he appears to glance principally at the Jews, but includes all who in the absence of their master, determine to revolt. Now Christ’s intention was, not only to terrify such persons by threatening an awful punishment, but also to keep his own people in faithful subjection; for it was no small temptation to see the kingdom of God scattered by the treachery and rebellion of many. In order then that we may preserve our composure in the midst of troubles, Christ informs us that he will return, and that at his coming he will punish wicked rebellion. 697697 “Il se vengera contre les traistres, et les punira de leur rebellion;” — “he will take vengeance on traitors, and will punish them for their rebellion.”
41. And wept over it. As there was nothing which Christ more ardently desired than to execute the office which the Father had committed to him, and as he knew that the end of his calling was to gather the lost sheep of the house of Israel, (Matthew 15:24,) he wished that his coming might bring salvation to all. This was the reason why he was moved with compassion, and wept over the approaching destruction of the city of Jerusalem. For while he reflected that this was the sacred abode which God had chosen, in which the covenant of eternal salvation should dwell — the sanctuary from which salvation would go forth to the whole world, it was impossible that he should not deeply deplore its ruin. And when he saw the people, who had been adopted to the hope of eternal life, perish miserably through their ingratitude and wickedness, we need not wonder if he could not refrain from tears.
As to those who think it strange that Christ should bewail an evil which he had it in his power to remedy, this difficulty is quickly removed. For as he came down from heaven, that, clothed in human flesh, he might be the witness and minister of the salvation which comes from God, so he actually took upon him human feelings, as far as the office which he had undertaken allowed. And it is necessary that we should always give due consideration to the character which he sustains, when he speaks, or when he is employed in accomplishing the salvation of men; as in this passage, in order that he may execute faithfully his Father’s commission, he must necessarily desire that the fruit of the redemption should come to the whole body of the elect people. Since, therefore, he was given to this people as a minister for salvation, it is in accordance with the nature of his office that he should deplore its destruction. He was God, I acknowledge; but on all occasions when it was necessary that he should perform the office of teacher, his divinity rested, and was in a manner concealed, that it might not hinder what belonged to him as Mediator. By this weeping he proved not only that he loved, like a brother, those for whose sake he became man, but also that God made to flow into human nature the Spirit of fatherly love.
42. O if even thou hadst known! The discourse is pathetic, and therefore abrupt; for we know that by those who are under the influence of vehement passion their feelings are not more than half-expressed. Besides, two feelings are here mingled; for not only does Christ bewail the destruction of the city, but he likewise reproaches the ungrateful people with the deepest guilt, in rejecting the salvation which was offered to them, and drawing down on themselves a dreadful judgment of God. The word even, which is interwoven with it, is emphatic; for Christ silently contrasts Jerusalem with the other cities of Judea, or rather, of the whole world, and the meaning is: “If Even thou, who art distinguished by a remarkable privilege above the whole world, — if thou at least, (I say,) who art a heavenly sanctuary in the earth, hadst known ” This is immediately followed by another amplification taken from the time: “Though hitherto thou hast wickedly and outrageously rebelled against God, now at least there is time for repentance.” For he means that the day is now at hand, which had been appointed by the eternal purpose of God for the salvation of Jerusalem, and had been foretold by the prophets. Thus (says Isaiah) is the accepted time, this is the day of salvation, (Isaiah 49:8; 2 Corinthians 6:2.)
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near,
The things which belong to thy peace Under the word peace he includes, according to the meaning of the Hebrew phrase, all that is essential to happiness. Nor does he simply say, that Jerusalem did not know her peace, but the things which belonged to her peace; for it frequently happens that men are far from being unacquainted with their happiness, but they are ignorant of the way and means, (as we say,) because they are blinded by their wickedness. Now since the compassion is mingled with reproach, let us observe, that men deserve the heavier punishment in proportion to the excellence of the gifts which they have received, because to other sins there is added an impious profanation of heavenly grace. Secondly, let us observe, that the nearer God approaches to us, and holds out the light of sound doctrine, the less excusable are we, if we neglect this opportunity. The gate of salvation, indeed, is always open; but as God is sometimes silent, it is no ordinary privilege, when He invites us to himself with a loud voice, and in a familiar manner, and therefore the contempt will be visited by severer punishment.
But now they are hid from thy eyes. This is not said for the purpose of extenuating the guilt of Jerusalem; for, on the contrary, it marks with disgrace the monstrous stupidity of that city, that, when God is present, it does not perceive him. I do acknowledge that it belongs to God alone to open the eyes of the blind, and that no man is qualified for understanding the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom, unless God enlighten him inwardly by his Spirit; but it does not follow from this that they who perish through their own brutal blindness are excusable. Christ intended also to remove an offense, which might otherwise have perplexed the ignorant and weak; for when the eyes of all were directed to that city, his example might have very great influence in both respects, either for evil or for good. That no man then may be perplexed by its unbelief and proud contempt of the Gospel, Jerusalem is condemned for disgraceful blindness.
43. For the days shall come upon thee. He now assumes, as it were, the character of a judge, and addresses Jerusalem with greater severity. In like manner the prophets also, though they shed tears over the destruction of those about whom they ought to feel anxiety, yet they summon up courage to pronounce severe threatenings, because they know that not only are they commanded to watch over the salvation of men, but that they have also been appointed to be the heralds of the judgment of God. Under these terms Jesus declares that Jerusalem will suffer dreadful punishment, because she did not know the time of her visitation; that is, because she despised the Redeemer who had been exhibited to her, and did not embrace his grace. Let the fearful nature of the punishments which she endured now alarm us, that we may not, by our carelessness, extinguish the light of salvation, but may be careful to receive the grace of God, and may even run with rigor to meet it.