Term 2 – Week 9
Big Idea – Jesus came to save and change lost people like Zacchaeus.
- Know that Jesus can save anyone and totally change their heart
- Belief – that Jesus came to seek and save the lost – even the really lost
- Behaviour – to have a life that shows the transformation that Jesus brings!
We near the conclusion of the travel narrative in Luke’s Gospel, as Jesus begins his royal procession into Jerusalem. We also reach a point where Luke comes back in line with much of the content shared with Matthew and Mark (who was likely a key source for Luke’s material). All three gospels share the story of the children who are blessed by Jesus. They share they encounter with the rich man, for whom salvation is only possible with God. He warns his disciples of the coming events in Jerusalem and a blind man receives his sight.
Yet as Jesus approaches Jerusalem, Luke is at pains to point that there is a lot of ‘half-truth’ flying about. As Jesus comes, rightly heralded as King on his way to take his throne and win victory for his people, they have got it seriously wrong about the manner of this royal crusade. In 18:14 shows how the disciples did not understand the prediction of suffering. 19:11 shows how the people expected the sudden appearing of the kingdom of God. Lets not forget, Jesus had been announcing the coming of the kingdom and teaching on the kingdom of God. Yet they had understood this to be a political event, liberating the Jews from the Romans and establishing Jewish hegemony over the Gentiles.
The events Luke records then show us the correct understanding of Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem, so that we are not also mistaken. The coming Kingdom must centre on the cross (18:31-34), and the kingdom draws people in through faith and mercy (18:35-42 – note how the blind beggar joined the triumphant procession to Jerusalem). As the journey continued, gathering crowds and momentum, Jesus passed through Jericho. Here was a tax collector (v2), a sinner (v7), in line with the categories we have seen throughout this section of the gospel. This tax collector wanted to see what all the fuss was about, but was short, so he climbed a tree. We should by now have in our heads that this was a rich man, and therefore would be easier for ‘a camel to go through the eye of a needle’ than for Zacchaeus to be saved.
Jesus came and engaged with him, instructing with authority yet engaging personally to stay at the home, a deeply personal request, of a rightly unpopular figure. This is not a good PR move as he is gathering the momentum of the royal procession to Jerusalem! Yet Jesus is wanting to teach his followers, and us through Luke’s account, something vital about the kingdom of God. The Kingdom is to come through salvation in the hearts of people. Not political change. But total and transformative change inside a person. Zacchaeus shows a radical change of heart and restores those he has cheated. The Kingdom brings real, tangible change to a person’s life. Jesus announces the salvation of this man, the sinner, the rich man for whom it is impossible. He is included in Abraham’s family. Jesus does the impossible and changes the heart of a rich man, a great sinner – for the Son of Man came to seek and to sake the lost.
‘Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it,
and whoever loses their life will preserve it.’
Lift Up Your Voices – Awesome Cutlery
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