"Somehow of all the Gospel writers, one would have liked to meet Luke best of all." - William Barclay

(1907 - 1978)
Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow, Barclay dedicated
his life to "making the best biblical scholarship available to the average reader."

The result was the Daily Study Bible, a set of commentaries on the New Testament, exploring verse by verse through Barclay's own translation of the New Testament, listing and examining every possible interpretation known to Barclay and providing all the background information he considered possibly relevant.

The 17 volumes of the set were all instant best-sellers and continue to be so to this day.

Barclay wrote many other popular books, mostly in the same accessible but scholarly style. In The Mind of Jesus (1960) he states that his aim was "to make the figure of Jesus more vividly alive, so that we may know him better and love him more."


The Words of Jesus Christ
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Chapters Nineteen and Twenty

When he was now drawing near, at the descent from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to rejoice, and to praise God with shouts for all the deeds of power they had seen, saying, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the heights!"

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. And - look you - there was a man called Zacchaeus by name, and he was commissioner of taxes, and he was rich. He was seeking to see who Jesus was, and he could not for the crowd, because he was short in height. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree, for he was to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus! Hurry and come down! For this day I must stay at your house." So he hurried and came down, and welcomed him gladly; and when they saw it they all murmured, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look you - half of my goods, Lord, I hereby give to the poor. If I have taken anything from any man by fraud I give it back to him four times over." Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost."

As they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell them a parable because he was near Jerusalem, and they were thinking that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. So he said, "There was a noble man who went into a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself and then to return. He called ten of his own servants and gave them 5 gold coins each and said to them, 'Trade with these until I come.' His citizens hated him, and they dispatched an embassy after him, saying, 'We do not wish the man to be king over us.' When he had received the kingdom and had returned, he ordered the servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had made by trading with it. The first came and said, 'Sir, your 5 gold coins have produced 50.' So he said to him, 'Well done, good servant! Because you have shown yourself faithful in a little thing, you shall have authority over ten cities.' And the second came and said to him also, 'Sir, your 5 gold coins have made 25.' He said to him also, 'You, too, are to be promoted over five cities.' Another came to him and said, 'Sir, here are your 5 gold coins, which I was keeping laid away in a towel, for I was afraid of you, because I know that you are a hard man. You take up what you did not put down and you reap what you did not sow.' He said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I judge you, wicked servant. You knew that I am a hard man, taking up what I did not put down, and reaping what I did not sow. You ought, therefore, to have given my money to the bankers, so that when I came, I would have received it plus interest.' He said to those standing by, 'Take the 5 coins from him and give it to him who has 50.' They said to him, 'Sir, he has 50.' I tell you, that to everyone who has it will be given; but from him who has not; even what he has will be taken away. But as for these my enemies, who did not wish to have me as their king - bring them here and hew them to pieces in my presence."

When Jesus had said these things, he went on ahead on the way up to Jerusalem. When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, which is near the mount called the Mount of Olives, he dispatched two of his disciples. "Go to the village opposite," he said. "As you come into it, you will find tethered a colt upon which no man has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. And if any one asks you, 'Why are you loosing this colt?' you will say, 'The Lord needs it.'" Those who had been dispatched went off, and found everything exactly as he had told them. And as they were loosing the colt, its owners told them, "Why are you loosing the colt?" They said, "The Lord needs it." and they brought it to Jesus. They flung their garments on the colt, and mounted Jesus on it. As he went they strewed their garments on the road. When he was now drawing near, at the descent from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to rejoice, and to praise God with shouts for all the deeds of power they had seen, saying, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the heights!" Some of the Pharisees who were in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples." "I tell you," he answered, "if these keep silent, the stones will cry out."

When Jesus had come near, and when he saw the city, he wept over it. "Would that, even today," he said, "you recognized the things which would give you peace! But as it is, they are hidden from your eyes; for days will come upon you when your enemies will cast a rampart around you, and will surround you, and will hem you in on every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you, because you did not recognize the day when God visited you."

And he entered into the Temple and began to cast out those who were selling. "It is written," he said to them, "My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a brigands' cave."

And he taught daily in the Temple. The chief priests and the scribes sought to kill him, as did the chief men of the nation; and they could not discover anything they could do to him, for all the people, as they listened to him, hung upon his words.

One day, while Jesus was teaching the people in the Temple and telling them the good news, the chief priests and scribes with the elders came up and said to him, "Tell us, by what authority do you do these things? Or, who is it who gives you this authority?" He said to them, "I, too, will ask you for a statement. Tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?" They discussed it with each other. "If," they said to each other, "we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why did you not believe in him?' But, if we say, 'From men,' all the people will stone us, for they are convinced that John was a prophet." So they answered that they did not know where it was from. Jesus said to them, "Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things."

Jesus began to speak this parable to the people. "A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants, and went away for a long time. At the proper time he dispatched a servant to the tenants so that they might give him his share of the fruit of the vineyard. The tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He went on to send another servant. They beat him, too, and maltreated him, and sent him away empty-handed. He went on to send a third. This one they wounded and threw out. The owner of the vineyard said, 'What am I to do? I will send my beloved son. It may be they will respect him.' When the tenants saw him they said to each other, 'This is the heir. Let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.' And they flung him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and he will destroy these tenants, and will give the vineyard to others." When they heard this, they said, "God forbid!" He looked at them and said, "What, then, is this which stands written -- ' The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the head of the corner? Everyone who falls against that stone will be shattered; but if it falls on anyone it will wipe him out as the wind blows the chaff away.'"

The scribes and chief priests tried to lay hands on Jesus at that very hour; and they feared the people, for they realized that he spoke this parable to them. They watched for an opportunity, and they dispatched spies, who pretended that they were genuinely concerned about the right thing to do, so that they might fasten on what he said and be able to hand him over to the power and the authority of the governor. They asked him, "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and you are no respecter of persons. Is it lawful for us to pay tribute to Caesar? Or not?" He saw their subtle deception and said to them, "Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription is on it?" They said, "Caesar's." "Well then," he said to them, "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God." There was nothing in this statement that they could fasten on to in the presence of the people. They were amazed at his answer, and had nothing to say.

Some of the Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked him, "Teacher, Moses wrote to us that, if a man's married brother dies without leaving any children, his brother must take his wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife and died childless. The second and the third also took her; and in the same way the whole seven left no children and died. Later the wife died, too. Whose wife will she be at the resurrection, for the seven had her to wife?" Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are married. But those who are deemed worthy to obtain that age and the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are married, for they cannot die any more, for they are like angels and they are sons of God, for they are the sons of the resurrection. That the dead are raised even Moses indicated in the passage about the bush, when he called the Lord, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to him." Some of the scribes said, "Teacher, you have spoken well"; and they no longer dared to ask him any question.

Jesus said to them, "How does David say that the Christ is his son? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, 'The Lord says to my Lord, Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.' So David calls him Lord, and how can he be his son?"

While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, "Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, and who love greetings in the market places, and the chief seats in synagogues, and the top place at banquets. They devour widows' houses and pretend to offer long prayers. These will receive the greater condemnation."

turn to chapters twenty-one and twenty-two

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