Tuesday 12 June 2012

Bible Book:

"When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.'" (v. 5)

Luke 19:1-10 Tuesday 12 June 2012


Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector, a man at the top of hisprofession. He would have made money on the side and probably fromthose tax collectors who worked under him too. He would have beendisliked by those around him for the wealth that he had gaineddishonestly. Zacchaeus would most likely have been a lonely man, anoutcast from the very crowd in which he was standing. In thispassage he is desperate to see Jesus, so much so that he climbs atree to be able to catch a glimpse of him as he passes. He putaside any concerns for how it would look to others, and climbed thetree regardless of what people may say. Zacchaeus makes himselfvulnerable for the sake of meeting Jesus, risking ridicule andcomments from those around. As Jesus approaches he says toZacchaeus that he "must stay" at his house - less of an offer, moreof a necessity. Having Jesus at his house would have been an honourZacchaeus didn't expect. He had come simply hoping to see Jesusfrom afar: Jesus, however, was expecting to spend time withZacchaeus.

Now the crowd begins to grumble. Initially the crowd had been withJesus, but as he begins to challenge their prejudices aboutspending time with a sinner they turn against him. Jesus hadbehaved in a manner that they hadn't expected, but Jesus was makinga powerful statement that he has come for the sinners, the outcastsand the vulnerable.

Zacchaeus offers half of his possessions to the poor and to payback four times the amount of anyone he has cheated. This went farbeyond what was legally necessary. Repentance for Zacchaeusinvolved restitution, practically showing people that he was achanged man. He did not move to a different place but stayed in thecommunity where he was hated to make amends and re-establishhimself. Zacchaues had been 'lost'; he had been far from God. Hewas on the fringe of his community, he was on the fringe of thecrowd, but Jesus met with him there and he was transformed.

To Ponder

Who is on the fringes of your community/church?How will you meet them where they are?

To what extent are you ready and willing to putyourself out to meet Jesus regardless of what other people maysay?

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