“As they were listening
To these things,
To tell a parable.
He was near Jerusalem.
That the kingdom of God
Was to appear
Ἀκουόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ταῦτα προσθεὶς εἶπεν παραβολὴν, διὰ τὸ ἐγγὺς εἶναι Ἱερουσαλὴμ αὐτὸν καὶ δοκεῖν αὐτοὺς ὅτι παραχρῆμα μέλλει ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀναφαίνεσθαι·
Only Luke had this unique introduction to this parable. He said that as the disciples were listening to these things (Ἀκουόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ταῦτα), presumably the story about Zacchaeus, Jesus proceeded to tell another parable (προσθεὶς εἶπεν παραβολὴν). He was near his Jerusalem goal (διὰ τὸ ἐγγὺς εἶναι Ἱερουσαλὴμ αὐτὸν), which meant that he was in Jericho or between Jericho and Jerusalem. The disciples supposed or thought (καὶ δοκεῖν αὐτοὺς) that the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) was about to appear immediately or soon (ὅτι παραχρῆμα μέλλει…ἀναφαίνεσθαι). Somehow the disciples assumed that if they got to Jerusalem, the kingdom of God would be revealed to them. They anticipated that the messianic age would happen. Some more revolutionary followers may have even expected a political earthly kingdom to be established, in opposition to the Roman occupation. This parable was meant to tone down their expectations about an earthly kingdom and the immediacy of this new heavenly kingdom. Do you expect the the kingdom of God to come soon?
“The Son of Man
To seek out
And to save
ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ζητῆσαι καὶ σῶσαι τὸ ἀπολωλός.
Luke indicated that Jesus repeated this idea that the Son of Man came (ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) to seek out (ζητῆσαι) and save (καὶ σῶσαι) the lost ones (τὸ ἀπολωλός). Jesus often used the 3rd person singular “Son of Man” to refer to himself. He had come to seek and save the lost ones, not the righteous people. Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. How do you seek out the lost ones?
“Then Jesus said
To this house.
Zacchaeus was also
A son of Abraham.’”
εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Σήμερον σωτηρία τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ ἐγένετο, καθότι καὶ αὐτὸς υἱὸς Ἀβραάμ ἐστιν·
Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said to Zacchaeus (εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) that today salvation had come to his house (ὅτι Σήμερον σωτηρία τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ ἐγένετο) because Zacchaeus was also a son of Abraham (καθότι καὶ αὐτὸς υἱὸς Ἀβραάμ ἐστιν). Jesus said that salvation had come to the house of this tax collector, who was also Jewish, despite his official position or job. Zacchaeus was a true son of Abraham, like the other Jewish people. Nevertheless, Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. Can salvation come to public sinners
“All who saw it
Began to grumble.
‘Jesus has gone
To be the guest,
Of one who is a sinner.’”
καὶ ἰδόντες πάντες διεγόγγυζον λέγοντες ὅτι Παρὰ ἁμαρτωλῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰσῆλθεν καταλῦσαι.
Luke indicated that everyone who saw this (καὶ ἰδόντες πάντες) began to grumble (διεγόγγυζον). They said (λέγοντες) that Jesus had gone to stay with a sinful man (ὅτι Παρὰ ἁμαρτωλῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰσῆλθεν καταλῦσαι). Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the term διεγόγγυζον, that means to murmur among themselves, murmur greatly, or continue murmuring. All the people knew that Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector and thus working with and for the foreign governing Romans. These tax collectors were more political and distained because of their corruption and wealth. Now Jesus was going to stay with what many considered a public sinner, a tax collector. Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector. Would you stay with someone who was a known public sinner?
Zacchaeus ran ahead.
He climbed up
A sycamore tree
To see Jesus,
To pass that way.”
καὶ προδραμὼν εἰς τὸ ἔμπροσθεν ἀνέβη ἐπὶ συκομορέαν, ἵνα ἴδῃ αὐτόν, ὅτι ἐκείνης ἤμελλεν διέρχεσθαι.
Luke uniquely indicated that Zacchaeus ran ahead (καὶ προδραμὼν εἰς τὸ ἔμπροσθεν) of everyone. He then climbed up a sycamore tree (ἀνέβη ἐπὶ συκομορέαν) in order to see Jesus (ἵνα ἴδῃ αὐτόν), because Jesus was about to pass that way (ὅτι ἐκείνης ἤμελλεν διέρχεσθαι). Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the word συκομορέαν, that means a fig-mulberry tree, a sycamore fig, or a sycamore tree. This small rich tax collector ran ahead of everybody and climbed up a tree so that he could see Jesus when he passed by, an ingenious way to get a look at the celebrity who was in town. Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. Would you climb a tree to see a celebrity?
“A man was there
He was a chief tax collector.
He was rich.”
Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ ὀνόματι καλούμενος Ζακχαῖος, καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἀρχιτελώνης, καὶ αὐτὸς πλούσιος
Only Luke uniquely talked about this man in Jericho (Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ), named Zacchaeus (ὀνόματι καλούμενος Ζακχαῖος), who was a rich (καὶ αὐτὸς πλούσιος) chief tax collector or head of a customs house (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἀρχιτελώνης). Luke was the only biblical writer to use this term ἀρχιτελώνης, that means a chief tax collector, head of a custom-house, chief tax-gatherer, or publican. Zacchaeus was an important man in Jericho because of his wealth and his position in charge of tax collecting there. His very name, Zacchaeus, meant righteous or upright in Hebrew. Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. What do you think about people who work for the IRS and collect taxes?
“At least nine thousand people took refuge in two very strong towers well equipped to withstand a siege. Judas Maccabeus left Simon and Joseph, as well as Zacchaeus and his troops, a force sufficient to besiege them. He himself set off for places where he was more urgently needed. But those with Simon, who were money-hungry, were bribed by some of those who were in the towers. On receiving seventy thousand drachmas, they let some of people slip away. When word of what had happened came to Judas Maccabeus, he gathered the leaders of the people. He accused these men of having sold their kindred for money by setting their enemies free to fight against them. Then he killed these men who had turned traitor. He then immediately captured the two towers. Having success at arms in everything he undertook, he destroyed more than twenty thousand in the two strongholds.”
This incident was not found in 1 Maccabees. Judas Maccabeus set up a siege around 2 towers. He left his brothers Simon and Joseph in charge with Zacchaeus and his troops to keep up the siege. However, some money-hungry men with Simon, his brother, were bribed by people in the tower. A drachma was a Greek coin probably worth about $25.00 USA. 70,000 of these would be about a little less than 2 million ($2,000,000.00) dollars, a handsome sum. I do not know what they were going to do with this money. Anyway, Judas Maccabeus found out that many had escaped by paying this bribe. Apparently there were only a few people under Simon who were doing this so he had them killed. Then they captured the strongholds and killed the rest of them, some 20,000 people.