Luke 19:1-11 Conversion of Zacchaeus, the Chief Publican
This week’s chapters contain many movements and teachings of our Savior, and take us into the beginning of the last week of His life. His travels (from Luke 19:1 to John 12:43) take Him from Jericho to Jerusalem, then back and forth between Jerusalem and nearby Bethany, including significant occurrences on the Mount of Olives and in the temple precincts. There is much to study and much to ponder.
In Jericho, Jesus encounters Zacchaeus:
- Luke 19:1-4 What do you learn from these verses about Zacchaeus?
- Verses 5-6 What did Jesus do and say? How did Zacchaeus respond? The gospel net is wide enough to bring in someone that everyone else hates!
- What were Zacchaeus’s highest priorities before Jesus came into his life? What were they after His encounter with the Savior? How does your use of time each day show your priorities in life?
- Verses 7-10 Contrast the people in verse 7 to Zacchaeus in verse 8. What matters most to God? Let us help Him in His work to “seek and to save that which [is] lost” (verse 10).
Next, after teaching a parable (verses 11-27), Luke tells us that Jesus continued His way to Jerusalem (verse 28). Then John 11:55-57 tells us that in anticipation of the Passover feast, many were gathering to Jerusalem and spoke among themselves regarding Jesus, and whether He would come, knowing that the chief priests and Pharisees “had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.” But Jesus continued toward Jerusalem.
John 12:1-11 Mary Anoints Jesus (see also Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9)
“Six days before the passover” (verse 1; corresponding to our Saturday), Jesus entered Bethany (next to Jerusalem) and visited with Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (verses 1-2; the Matthew and Mark versions say this visit took place at the home of Simon the leper):
- Read the events that follow, in verses 3-8. What specific gospel teachings of Jesus can you derive from this story?
- Read also verses 9-11, which tell us more of the unfolding of events during the week preceding Jesus’s atonement.
- Note that the raising of Lazarus from the dead had led to three different reactions in people’s lives—some were led to believe in Christ; some were merely curious about Christ; and some were angry and more determined to destroy Him (see also Helaman 9:39-41; Helaman 16:1-3, 6).
Luke 19:29-45 Jesus Enters Jerusalem (see also Matthew 21:1-16; Mark 11:1-11, 15-18; John 12:12-19)
This event is referred to as the “triumphal entry” of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. The day corresponds to our Sunday, being five days before the Savior’s death:
- Read Luke 19:29-34, which demonstrates (again) Jesus’s foreknowledge and omniscience.
- Read Luke 19:35-38; Matthew 21:8-11; and John 12:19, noting the multitude’s expressions toward Jesus. (One may wonder, where are all these worshipers five days later, when the multitudes clamored for Jesus to be crucified?)
- Note that Matthew and John both pointed out that this great event was fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9; see Matthew 21:4-5; John 12:14-15.
- Read Luke 19:39-40. What did some of the Pharisees say to Jesus? How did He reply? Even the stones in the walls of Jerusalem would cry out in praise of the Great King and Creator!
- Read Jesus’s lament and prophecies about Jerusalem and its temple, in Luke 19:41-44 (these prophecies were fulfilled in the Roman invasion and destruction of Jerusalem in 67/70 AD).
- It is now the next day—four days before Jesus’s death—which corresponds to our Monday. Read Luke 19:45-48.
- As He did earlier in His ministry, Jesus once again “cleansed” the temple. Note the difference between the proud priests and scribes and “all the people,” in verses 47-48.
Matthew 21:23-46 The Chief Priests and Elders Challenge Jesus (see also Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-19)
It is now three days before Jesus is crucified, corresponding to our Tuesday:
- Verses 23-27 What question did the chief priests and elders ask Jesus? (Mark 11:27 and Luke 20:1 tell us that scribes were also in this group of mockers). How did Jesus reply?
- According to verses 25-26, what seemed to matter most to these chief priests and elders?
- In God’s true church we can answer the question in verse 23: Our authority came from God through John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John, who appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and conferred upon them the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods; while additional priesthood keys were given subsequently.
- Verses 28-32 Jesus used this as a lead-in to a parable wherein He condemned these chief priests and elders. Read these verses and read also D&C 41:5.
- Verses 33-44 This second parable casts even greater aspersions upon the chief priests and elders. Consider that the householder is God; the husbandmen are the Jews; the servants are God’s prophets; and the son is Jesus Christ. (See also Jacob 4:15-16.)
- Boldy, in verse 39 Jesus foretold the very thing the wicked Jewish leaders would do to Him in three days. Then in verse 40 the Lord asked them a question, by which they unwittingly, in verse 41, pronounced their own fate.
- What did Jesus say in verse 42 that finally caused the chief priests and elders to realize that He was speaking of them? What additional conseqence did Jesus declare in verses 43-44? Note that the JST for verse 43 tells us that the “nation” referred to is the gentiles (JST, Matthew 21:53).
- Verses 45-46 This is the expected reaction of those who fear men but do not fear God.
Matthew 22:1-14 Parable of the Marriage of the King’s Son
Consider this parable in light of the “king” being Heavenly Father, his “son” being Jesus Christ, and the “wedding” being the invitation to accept the Savior and His gospel.
Matthew 23 Jesus Condemns the Scribes and Pharisees (see also Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47)
In this chapter the Savior warns His disciples against the attitudes and actions of those who were supposed to teach and sustain the law of Moses (see also Helaman 13:24-29):
- Read all of Matthew 23, looking for things that you can highlight as cautions for yourself.
- In relation to verse 11, Elder James E. Talmage wrote, “Excellency and supremacy is achieved only through humble and devoted service” (Jesus the Christ, p. 554).
- What lessons about leadership can you derive from Matthew 23?
- Jesus was often with people who thought they were righteous and didn’t need to change. How did He show His love for them?
- And, Jesus was often among people who considered themselves unworthy and unable to change. How did He show His love for them?
John 12:25-28, 31-32, 42-50 The Time Draws Nearer
Read these verses and consider things related to: (1) Jesus’s teachings; (2) His prayer; (3) the words of the Father; and (4) different people’s reactions to His teachings.
Note: There is no Biblical record of the events of “Wednesday,” two days before Jesus died. The accounts of the day before His death (our Thursday) do not begin until Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7; and John 13:1.