[Luke 19 Part 1] What Constitutes an Enemy of God? In Luke 19, Part 1, Jesus visits the home of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was not just a tax collector; he was a tax collector of tax collectors. He was universally despised because of his vocation, and he prospered in doing so. Zacchaeus, when he meets Jesus, the change that came over him brought salvation to his house. What did Zacchaeus do that made such a difference? In this study, we will find out and hopefully see our way to making the same choices that this man did.
[Luk 19:1-28 KJV] 1 And [Jesus] entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, [there was] a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that [way]. 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 to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw [it], they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 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. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. 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. 12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this [man] to reign over us. 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. 16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 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. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. 20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, [here is] thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: 21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. 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: 23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? 24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give [it] to him that hath ten pounds. 25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) 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. 27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay [them] before me. 28 And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
In Luke 19, Jesus is traveling toward Jerusalem and passes by Jericho. The people are gathering around Jesus in crowds, and a wealthy tax collector named Zacchaeus wants to see Him, but he is too short of stature to catch a glimpse. He runs ahead of the crowd and climbs a sycamore tree to achieve his purpose. As Jesus draws near, He looks up and by word of knowledge calls Zacchaeus by name and invites Himself to the man’s house. Here in this chapter, we find one of the few instances of humor in the scripture. Zacchaeus is an influential man, contracted by the Romans not just to gather taxes but to supervise a large number of tax collectors. He is universally despised, yet Jesus conspicuously seeks him out to spend time with him and allow Zacchaeus to know Him better.
Zacchaeus was seeking out Jesus; yes, he was, but more importantly, Jesus was seeking him. Zacchaeus being short of stature, could not see Jesus, but Jesus could see him and knew all about him even before they were introduced. Have you ever been in the midst of pressure and asking the question, “where is God in all of this?” Then you have, and we all have at one time or another been like Zacchaeus, pressing through the press, knowing that Jesus is there somewhere in our situation, but we can’t see Him. Then suddenly, Jesus breaks through the situation and gives us an opportunity for intimacy and discourse. Notice what Jesus says to Zacchaeus, “I MUST abide at thy house…” When you are seeking Jesus with the intensity that Zacchaeus is seeking Jesus, the outcome is mandated in the heart of God that your need will be answered.
In the midst of that crowd, Zacchaeus’ earnest longing and desire moved Jesus in compassion toward him, and registered on His heart, just like the woman with the issue of blood, when she touched Him. Likewise, your longing, your desire, and your need draws the heart of God, just as the Spirit of God draws you to seek Him.
When Jesus came into Zacchaeus’ house, something about the man radically changed. How do you know that Jesus has come to your house? While there, sitting at meat, Jesus declares that salvation has come to Zacchaeus’ life, but it was not so much a declaration as an observation of what had already happened. What was it that Zacchaeus did that for Jesus revealed the salvation that had already been visited upon him? When properly examined, there are many corollaries between the story of Zacchaeus and the woman with the issue of blood. Zacchaeus is a man of action. Peter would have felt much in common with this man. Zacchaeus did not need to spend much time contemplating about Jesus. He was impulsive, and in this case, his impulsive, intuitive heart brought great breakthrough on his behalf.
Sitting at meat, with Jesus under his roof, Zacchaeus did not wait like the rich young ruler in ch. 18 to be told what to do. He acts without prompting and gives half of his wealth to the poor before the main course was served. The rich young ruler, on the other hand, wanted to ask questions first. He had many questions regarding eternal life, and just what was (and conversely what was not) required of him—because of this, Jesus had to tell the rich young ruler to do what Zacchaeus spontaneously did without forethought. The rich young ruler went away sorrowing, but Zacchaeus went on his way rejoicing having received the outpouring of God’s grace upon him and his household because of Jesus’ autonomic response to the man’s spontaneous faith.
Who are you more like, the rich young ruler or Zacchaeus. I’ve heard people say, “when I see the outpouring God taking place, then I am going to get involved, I’m going to give, I’m going to pour out my life like a drink offering…” If that’s you, then it is already too late. If you are contemplating, asking, wondering just under what conditions you should be ready to make that radical commitment, you are already disqualified, not by God but by your own tepid response. There was no hesitation in Zaccheaus. If you want what Zacchaeus got you must do what Zacchaeus did. What did the man do? For all that Zacchaeus did to reform his life that day, it was his giving record that Jesus took note of that signaled the outpouring of salvation upon the man. What are you doing with your goods, your resources, and your money. These things are yours to be sure, and like the rich, young ruler you can do with your own what you will, but bear in mind that Zacchaeus bank statement was a predictor of what God did and didn’t do in his life that day. God so loved the world that He gave, what are you doing? Your giving precedes your breakthrough.
In verse 11, Jesus speaks a parable as He draws near to Jerusalem. A certain nobleman commissions ten servants, delivering ten pounds to them to exercise stewardship over until He returns from a far journey. He charges them to “occupy till I come…” To make it clear v. 15 identifies the pounds that were money. The parable of the ten talents then, relates to the story of Zacchaeus, although that is almost never emphasized when this passage is taught. This parable is an often-quoted parable, but the ten pounds are incorrectly explained to be talents, abilities, religious responsibilities, ANYTHING other than what they actually were and are specifically identified to be, that is money. Each, in turn, answers to the Master when He returns and takes account of their stewardship. Each of the stewards except one, took risks, made investments, and turned a profit for their Lord. This tells us that giving and finances in the things of God again are emphasized here as at other places in terms not only of sowing but also reaping. God wants you to see the resources He has given you as a stewardship to be invested to kingdom purpose.
What about the unfaithful servant? What was His problem? He FEARED. Because he feared, he did not take any risks. Are you a risk-taker in the things of God? When is the last time you gave into the kingdom, to ministry purpose or to the poor, and someone turned to you and said, “that’s a little risky, don’t you think?” This man would never be described as a man of faith. He was very careful man, in fact a careful failure. Make no mistake, everyone is successful at something. This man was successful at doing nothing, taking no risks and he succeeds stupendously, but there is an accounting that must be made at some point.
In verse 23, the Master chastises the man for what the man did with His Lord’s what? MONEY! Because of the man’s failure, the thing he had tried to conserve and hold on to was taken from him and given to the servant who took the most risks and reaped the most reward. Is that fair? People who are conservative with money, aren’t they just being frugal? What is the outcome for them when they put frugality over listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit? They would suffer loss and that unnecessarily if they had just exercised a little faith. Money moves by the Spirit, and if you wish to see God move in your financial situation differently than you have experienced up till now, it is not God that needs to do something different, it is you. You are going to have to be a risk-taker not in the economy of man but in the economy of God by becoming a greater conduit of financial blessing out to ministry purpose than you have in the past.
The final end of the unfaithful steward is seen in v. 27: he is considered by his Master to be an enemy. The Master takes the one talent or pound from the fearful steward and gives it to the faithful servant, and orders that “these My enemies” to be slain before Him. Who are the enemies of God in this case? The man who received from God His living but did not do with His increase what was expected. Make no mistake about it, people who refuse to make merchandise of themselves, their goods and yes their money toward kingdom purpose are not merely men and women struggling in their faith that we need to feel sorry for. They are, in the parable given here, enemies of God that will be held to account. You might ask, how can you say this? You might complain that you are just wrestling in your faith, after all do not you have bills to pay and financial responsibilities to take care of?
Let us go back to Lu. 18 and the rich young ruler. Many accounts hold that the rich young ruler was none other than Saul of Tarsus. He had great riches and he could not bring himself to give all that he had and follow Jesus. What does he do later in life? He breathes out threatenings and brutalizes the church, even delivering believers over to persecution and death. His inability to give reflected something in his heart that once made manifest revealed the man to be a full-blown opposer of the kingdom of God. When the offering basket is passed, the enemies of God are then revealed by what they do and do not do. What does that tell us? At one time in the church, the altar call, and the invitation to come and accept Jesus was the most crucial moment in many people’s lives. From God’s perspective, viewed through the lens of this parable, the offering time is no less a critical moment where your fate is decided just as surely as that moment that you did or did not step out into the aisle, make your way to the front and accept Jesus.
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