Replay of June 2
Luke 19---When Zaccheus met Jesus. Derrick Thompson. We have already discussed a diverse crowd of folks who have met Jesus in the Gospels: Nicodemus, Paul, the Woman with the hemorrhage, the Man born blind. Both of the last two folks were considered outcasts of their families and communities, in other words, “Cursed”. Now we look at Zaccheus in Luke 19 who is the next person we consider who met Jesus. Like the previous folks for whom meeting Jesus changed and reversed the “Curse” they thought themselves under, Zaccheus also was an outcast. He had heard of Jesus and desired to see Jesus as he had heard Jesus was coming to a place nearby. His plan was to spectate, to find a place to look and see, but he was physically challenged due to being short. Now Derrick tells about how he had wanted to see Cal Ripken Jr. when Derrick was a young man. Cal was his hero and Derrick and his friend plotted and schemed to get a face-to-face to ask for an autograph. They actually did go to a game and snuck onto the field and during a lull in the action got to shake Cal's hand but did not get an autograph and actually went around the baseline until escorted off the field by security. Meeting your hero in person was also Zaccheus' desire but a face-to-face Meeting would change Zaccheus for ever. Zaccheus' name meant Pure, Righteous, and his family meant to show their high hopes for their son in naming him that but his occupation caused his community and family to see him as an outcast and religiously “unclean”. Zaccheus' Jewish religious background was something he had to cast aside because he chose to become a tax collector for the Romans-this probably meant that he had to hire helpers to cover his responsibilities and that meant that whatever the Romans wanted to get through taxes, Zaccheus would add additional amounts he taxed the people for and his helpers added their own amounts on top of that as well to pay their own salaries. His profits earned him a Non-Kosher rating from his neighbors and community! Even if he owed his neighbors change they would not accept any money coming back because any money touched by Zaccheus or the whole Pagan Roman process was considered Tainted and Non Kosher/Unclean. So Zaccheus was alienated from his faith and his family due to his job. As well he was considered a traitor to his nation. So Nobody was going to assist him in his desire to see this Jesus, this new folk hero of the day. As well he got there late and couldn't see over the crowd. So he devised a plan to climb up a tree so he could get a good look. As Jesus comes up past the tree he looks up and speaks to Zach, calling him out and down. Zaccheus was desired to be in relationship with Jesus and responds with Joy. He declares that he will change his lifestyle as he welcomes Jesus into his home. He will pay back any thing he cheated anyone out of what works out to 4 times what he took or actually 400%. Believe it or not some people still were not satisfied, even though Jesus had declared that Salvation had come to this Son of Israel, some were not happy that Jesus was fellowshipping, eating with, a Sinner. These folks had closed fist of rejection instead of an open hand like Jesus had offered Zaccheus. Their Theology was the violent rejection and not in line with the open embrace of God the Father as displayed by Jesus' acceptance of the repentant Zaccheus. Do we have a Theology of the closed fist or of the open embrace that Jesus offers? Zaccheus met Jesus and was warmly embraced into the family of God and his family into the Salvation of the Shalom of the Kingdom which is for all who repent and turn their hearts back to the Father. Meeting Jesus can reverse anyone's curse!