The journey to Jerusalem reaches its completion. Jesus has shown those walking with him that those with nothing to bring are able to receive his kingdom life, whereas those who are strong tend to stumble.
WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?
This is a longish passage. The focus is on Jesus as King. He passes through Jericho and encounters Zaccheus. The tax collector is seeking to see Jesus but we’re told that Jesus is seeking (and saving) the lost. Because he’s near Jerusalem the crowds are expecting the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ message is about the kingdom of God (1:33, 4:43, 8:1, 9:2, 9:11, 9:27, 9:60, 10:9, 10:11) and they’re expecting a coronation in Jerusalem.
Jesus tells a parable about a King who is about to begin ruling over a country. His future subjects hate him. They don’t want him to be their king (14). This is reflected in the way they respond to him – particularly the third servant who feared him, assuming that Jesus would be against him. And it seems he is against those who won’t receive him.
Luke prepares us for Jesus arrival in Jerusalem with these first two pieces in the jigsaw puzzle. He arrives to the applause of the crowds, praising him as King (38), though the Pharisees ask Jesus to rebuke the crowds for this but Jesus receives their adoration. Do the people really want him as King? How will they respond to his coming crucifixion? It’s often said that these crowds are the same crowds who cry for Jesus to be crucified – we don’t know that’s the case but whatever their motives are, the King has arrived.
And this king is a king who weeps over the city. He has come for the lost and they can’t see him. He sheds his tears for them, and will soon shed his blood for them, as John Howe wrote in his book The Redeemer’s Tears. This king hasn’t come to oppress his people, but to give himself up for them. An utter subversion of kingship and authority.