Luke said that Zacchaeus hurried down (καὶ σπεύσας κατέβη) from the tree. He was happy to welcome Jesus (καὶ ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν χαίρων). Instead of Zacchaeus seeking Jesus, Jesus was seeking Zacchaeus, so that he must have been well pleased at this turn of events. Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. Did you realize that when you are seeking God, he is seeking you?
Luke indicated that Jesus said that they should not keep seeking (καὶ ὑμεῖς μὴ ζητεῖτε) about what they were to eat (τί φάγητε) and to drink (καὶ τί πίητε). They should not be anxious or unsure (καὶ μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε). This is a unique Luke usage of the word μετεωρίζεσθε, that means suspended or vacillating. Once again, Matthew, chapter 6:31, had a similar Jesus saying, indicating a common Q source. The same theme continued. They should not be worried or anxious (μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες). Why were they anxious about what to eat (Τί φάγωμεν), to drink (ἤ Τί πίωμεν), or to wear (ἤ·Τί περιβαλώμεθα)? Luke had already mentioned clothing. He just wanted to know why they were so worried or anxious. Are you worried or anxious?
Luke said that the crowds were increasingly pressing (Τῶν δὲ ὄχλων ἐπαθροιζομένων) around Jesus. Thus, he began to talk (ἤρξατο λέγειν). He said that this generation was an evil generation (Ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη γενεὰ πονηρά ἐστιν). They seek signs (σημεῖον ζητεῖ), but no sign will be given to them (καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ), except the sign of Jonah (εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ). This seeking of signs was common among all the synoptic gospel writers, Matthew, chapter 12:38-39, Mark, chapter 8:11-12, and Luke, here. Matthew said that the Scribes and Pharisees wanted a sign rather than the vague “they” here in Luke. They called Jesus a teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε). They wanted to see a sign from Jesus (θέλομεν ἀπὸ σοῦ σημεῖον ἰδεῖν). Mark said that Jesus was not going to give them any sign at all. He said that Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit. He asked them why was this generation seeking a sign? With a rare solemn proclamation in Mark, Jesus told them point blank that no sign would be given to this generation. Sometimes miracles were considered heavenly signs, but Mark continued to call miracles works of power and not signs, as other gospel writers sometimes referred to them. Are you always looking for signs from heaven on what to do?
Luke said that other people tried to test Jesus (ἕτεροι δὲ πειράζοντες), by demanding or seeking from him (ἐζήτουν παρ’ αὐτοῦ) a sign from heaven (σημεῖον ἐξ οὐρανοῦ). There were other instances about people looking for signs from heaven, but not within this context. In Mark, chapter 8:11, the Pharisees asked Jesus to show them a sign from heaven, since they wanted to test Jesus. Heavenly signs had been common among the prophets to prove their authenticity. In Matthew, chapter 16:1, both the Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus. They wanted to test Jesus also. They also asked him to show them a heavenly validation of his work. Later in Luke, chapter 11:29, there was also talk about the sign of Jonah. Thus, there was a continual attempt to test Jesus, by asking him to give some heavenly signs. Do you try to test Jesus in your life?
This text is similar to Matthew, chapter 28:5-6, where the angel told the women not to be alarmed because Jesus, the crucified one, had risen from the dead. Luke, chapter 24:5-8, had the 2 men deliver a long soliloquy about Jesus and the resurrection. John, chapter 20:13-14, had the 2 men turn into Jesus. Mark remarked that this man with the white clothes said to the 3 women (ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐταῖς) that they were not to be afraid or amazed (Μὴ ἐκθαμβεῖσθε). He knew that they were looking for or seeking Jesus of Nazareth (Ἰησοῦν ζητεῖτε τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν), who had been crucified (τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον). He told them that Jesus had risen (ἠγέρθη). He was not there (οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε). This man told them to look (ἴδε) and see the place where Jesus had been laid out in the tomb (ὁ τόπος ὅπου ἔθηκαν αὐτόν).
This was an admission by Jewish religious leaders, the chief priests and the Pharisees, as named in Matthew chapter 21:45-46, and Luke, chapter 20:19, but not here, about the deteriorating situation. Mark said that the unnamed “they” were trying or seeking to get a hold of or arrest Jesus (Καὶ ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν κρατῆσαι). However, they were afraid of the crowd (καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν τὸν ὄχλον). They realized or knew that Jesus had told this parable against them (ἔγνωσαν γὰρ ὅτι πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὴν παραβολὴν εἶπεν), the wicked evil tenants of the vineyard. The landowner was God the Father. The slaves were the Israelite prophets, while Jesus was the son of the Father. Thus, they left him (καὶ ἀφέντες αὐτὸν) and went away (ἀπῆλθον). This will not turn out well.
There was something similar in Luke, chapter 19:47-48. Mark said that the chief priests and the Scribes heard about this incident in the Temple (καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς). Thus, they kept seeking or looking for a way to destroy or kill Jesus (καὶ ἐζήτουν πῶς αὐτὸν ἀπολέσωσιν). This may have been the immediate event that caused the Jerusalem elders to be suspicious of Jesus. However, they were afraid of Jesus (ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ αὐτόν), because the whole crowd (πᾶς γὰρ ὁ ὄχλος) was spellbound or astonished (ἐξεπλήσσετο) by his teaching (πὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ). The plot thickens.
This incident about the man seeking eternal can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:16, and Luke, chapter 18:18, but slightly different. Mark has Jesus setting out on a journey (Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ εἰς ὁδὸν), when a man, not a ruler as in Luke, came running up to Jesus (προσδραμὼν εἷς). He knelt down before Jesus (καὶ γονυπετήσας αὐτὸν). He then questioned Jesus (ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν), calling him a good teacher (Διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ), not just a teacher as in Matthew. He wanted to know what he had to do (τί ποιήσω) to inherit, possess, or acquire eternal life (ἵνα ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω). This person wanted to know about his own personal eternal salvation, while the normal Jewish attitude would have been to talk about how they could all be saved.
This seeking of signs was common among the gospel writers, in Luke, chapter 11:16, and especially in Matthew, chapters 12:38 and 16:1-4. The Pharisees wanted a sign. There was no mention of the Scribes here, as in Matthew. These Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism. They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit. They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple. The Pharisees in the New Testament, often engaged in discussion and disputes with Jesus and his disciples, as here. Mark said that some of these Pharisees came to Jesus (Καὶ ἐξῆλθον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι). They began to argue, dispute, or discuss with Jesus (καὶ ἤρξαντο συνζητεῖν αὐτῷ). They asked him to show them a sign from heaven or a heavenly validation of his work (ζητοῦντες παρ’ αὐτοῦ σημεῖον ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ). They wanted to test or tempt Jesus (πειράζοντες αὐτόν). Heavenly signs had been common among the prophets to prove their authenticity.
There is something similar in Luke, chapter 4:42, but there it was a crowd of people with no mention of Simon. Mark said that Simon was with some of his companions or fellow disciples (Σίμων καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ) who were hunting or following after or looking for Jesus (καὶ κατεδίωξεν αὐτὸν). When they found him (καὶ εὗρον αὐτὸν), they said to him (καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ) that everyone was seeking, searching, or looking for him. Jesus could not be alone.