19:1 Jesus entered Jericho [situated in the lower Jordan Valley (about 800 feet below sea level); first city attacked when Joshua led Israel into promised land (Josh. 6); located approximately 12 miles northeast of Jerusalem] and was passing through [on His way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Feast].
19:2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus [most likely a Jew; name is Greek form of Heb. name meaning “pure; innocent; righteous one”]; he was a chief tax collector [tax collectors considered traitors because they worked for the Romans (Israel’s oppressors); hated because the were known to overcharge taxes to line their own pockets] and was wealthy [his wealth came from ill-gotten gain (imposing exorbitant taxes) as per 19:8].
19:3 He wanted to see who Jesus [known as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Lk. 7:34)] was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.
19:4 So [Zacchaeus did not give up] he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig [a combination fig and mulberry tree with large, low-hanging branches; fruit eaten by the poor] tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
19:5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus [Jesus called him by name although there is no record that they had previously met], come down immediately. I must [denotes moral and spiritual necessity] stay at your house today [this is the only record of Jesus inviting Himself to be a guest in someone’s home].”
19:6 So he came down at once [an immediate response] and welcomed him gladly [joyfully].
19:7 All [shows how widespread was the disappointment in Jesus for accepting the hospitality of Zacchaeus] the people saw this and began to mutter [Gr. “diagonguzo”], “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ [the critics had obviously forgotten that they too were sinners]”
19:8 But Zacchaeus [his actions illustrate that God’s love changes lives] stood up and said to the Lord [Zacchaeus made two important commitments…], “Look, Lord!  Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor,  and if [or since] I have cheated [extorted more money from people than they should have paid] anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times [this was double the required restitution (Ex. 22:4,9)] the amount.”
19:9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man [a descendant of Abraham in the flesh], too, is a son of Abraham [now a son of Abraham by faith].
19:10 [statement of Jesus’ mission…] For the Son of Man [Jesus’ most commonly used title for Himself] came to seek and to save what was lost.”
19:11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once [the people thought that Jesus was the political leader who would set up an earthly kingdom and free them from Roman domination; Jesus told parable to correct this wrong notion].
19:12 He said: “A man of noble birth [a person born with high social status] went to a distant country [a Roman ruler had to travel to Rome to receive his appointment and then return to his respective land to rule] to have himself appointed king and then to return.
19:13 So he called ten of his servants [obviously people he trusted] and gave them ten minas [one mina was worth two hundred denarii (one denarius was a day’s wage for a common laborer)]. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back [Jesus will return one day to set up His kingdom].’
19:14 [Jesus’ listeners would have understood these words in light of their own recent history; Archelaus, a son of Herod the Great, was an evil man who had three thousand Jews murdered at Passover soon after he came into power; Jews sent delegation to Rome to ask that he not be made their ruler (king)] “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
19:15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it [accountability].
19:16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your [rather than “my,” an indication that he understood stewardship] mina has earned ten more.’
19:17 ” ‘Well done, my good [indicates the servant had met his master’s expectations in service] servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities [the basis for the reward was the servant’s faithfulness as a steward; cf. Lk. 16:10].’
19:18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your [rather than “my,” an indication that he understood stewardship] mina has earned five more.’
19:19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities [this reward was in the same proportion as the reward for the first servant].’
19:20 “Then another servant came [to give his accounting] and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth [although he had not stolen the money or done anything illegal with it, this servant had failed to use the resource entrusted to him in accordance with his master’s instructions].
19:21 [note the excuse of the final servant (“it’s not my fault’)…] I was afraid [his fear led him to play it safe] of you, because you are a hard [austere, strict, and exacting] man. [the servant accused his master of unfair banking practices…] You take out what you did not put in [the servant accused his master of dishonest farming…] and reap what you did not sow.’
19:22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant [this servant had acted in his own self-interest]! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow?
19:23 [ironically, the final servant had failed to act according to his own presuppositions about his master] Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
19:24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas [the servant who had acted responsibly].’
19:25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
19:26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given [faithful servants receive both blessing and additional responsibility], but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away [unfaithful servants receive punishment and loss of additional responsibility].
19:27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me [the kings of that time did such things (Matt. 2:16; 14:9-10)].’”
19:28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem [Jesus had earlier announced why He had to go to Jerusalem (cf. Matt. 16:21; 20:18); His final trip to Jerusalem].
19:29 As he approached Bethphage [means “House of Figs”] and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them,
19:30 “Go to the village ahead [Bethany: hometown of Mary, Martha, Lazarus] of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt [not a warrior’s stallion, but an animal (“the donkey and the colt” as per Matt. 21:7) used by common people] tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here [perhaps Jesus prearranged use of the animals with their owner].
19:31 If anyone asks you [cf. Mk. 11:5; Lk. 19:33], ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord [suggests that the owner was a disciple of Jesus] needs it.'”
19:32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.
19:33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
19:34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
19:35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt [this colt had never been ridden (Mk. 11:2; Lk. 19:30)] and put Jesus on it [riding on a donkey indicated a mission of goodwill; Jesus entry into Jerusalem on a donkey (colt) fulfilled prophecy (Zech. 9:9)].
19:36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road [“red carpet” treatment; sign of honor and submission].
19:37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
19:38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of [as a representative] the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
19:39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
19:40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
19:41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it
19:42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.
19:43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.
19:44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
19:45 [Jesus began ministry with similar act (Jn. 2:13-25)] Then he entered the temple [Court of the Gentiles] area and began driving out [with force] those who were selling [originally started as a service and convenience for visitors to Jerusalem to provide unblemished sacrificial animals and exchange foreign currency for coins to pay the Temple tax (cf. Matt. 17:24); temple looked more like a marketplace than a holy place].
19:46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer [cf. Isa. 56:7; legitimate use of temple space: prayer, meditation, fellowship, spiritual devotion to God]‘; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers [people were exploited by sellers who charged exorbitant prices; cf. Jer. 7:11].'”
19:47 Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him.
19:48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.