Monday, March 3, 2008

Luke Chapter Nineteen, part one.

Now that we are coming to the last week of Jesus' life as told in Luke's gospel I'm going to slow down the pace of the readings as we walk through these last two weeks of Lent.

Reading: Luke 19.1-27

Scripture: For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. - Luke 19.10

Observations: Jesus' reputation preceded him in Jericho to the degree that crowds lined the streets as he was traveling through the town. I get the image of a parade where Jesus was riding on the celebrity float. Then there was this little guy, hated by his countrymen and ostracized from the Jewish community because he collected their taxes, kept a chunk of it for himself, and gave the rest of it to their Roman oppressors. No wonder they hated him!

So when Jesus, who was loved as much as he was hated, came to town, Zacchaeus climbed the tree in order to get a glimpse of him. Jesus saw him, knew his name (he was that notorious), and invited himself to Zacchaeus' home. The people gossiped about it, but Jesus proved that even undersized Napoleon-complexed people can have big hearts when they discover his love, acceptance and forgiveness.

Apply: I am always amazed how Jesus was able to love the difficult ones who are outcast from society. There is no one so lost that Jesus doesn't know their name. He specializes in lost sheep, lost coins, lost sons, and even lost tax collectors.

Pray: When I come across people who I think are unlovable and unredeemable, Lord, may I see below the surface someone who is lost and in need of Your love, acceptance and forgiveness.


traci said...

...for the Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost...while they were listening to this, He went on to tell them a parable.

ok now THIS is a HARD one for me - one where I say...humph...what is He getting at here? - I mean on the one hand, I understand that we need to DO something with what we are given, use the Spirit gifts to encourage and edify (is that what Jesus is saying here?)...but...
Jesus always says stuff like the first will be last and the last will be
Is it just that my mind is tired from a long day, or is it (does it appear to be) sortof contradicting for Him to say..."I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but for the one who has nothing, even what he HAS will be taken away."
Jesus, help me to have YOUR mind and to understand things in the spirit and not in the flesh...even when they seem hard, or maybe even undesirable to know. Thank you for your WORD to us...and that it is our life breath for the journey.

Gladys said...

I haven't been here for a week or so now, but I got stuck back in Chapter 12 with a verse that I didn't know what to say anything about, but yet had my full attention. And after this time, it is still going around in my head. I am assuming that Jesus was talking about all the upcoming events leading to His death, and with that I will just let the verse speak for itself. I apologize it is not at the right chapter . . .

C12 v 50 "But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!"

Bill E. said...

You are very perceptive, Traci. I too have a difficult time with the parable of the Ten Minas as it is traditionally interpreted because it does contradict everything Jesus has said; and even more importantly, the very scene that follows as he rides into Jerusalem on a donkey which is the antithesis of the despised nobleman who goes away to be appointed king then comes back to reward his buddies with political power for their financial prowess. And worse yet, he takes the one mina away from the fearful servant and executes him in his presence.

Actually, Traci, though this parable is similar to the parable of the Talents in Matt. 25, the context of each and the differences in the language imply that they actually serve two very different purposes. The Parable of the Talents in Matthew is in the context of other passages about final judgment and stresses the importance of faithfulness with the talents God has given to each of us. This one in Luke's gospel is in the context of descriptions of the kind of kingdom Jesus is establishing and it is an example of the wrong kind of kingdom, the kind that they were familiar with.

I have read that this parable is actually about Herod Antipas who was from noble birth and who actually did go to Rome to be educated and was given his authority by Caesar. He was despised by his people for his complicity with Rome. Those who are faithful to the master are given authority over cities, and those who opposed his rule are brought before him to die. Herod Antipas had the authority to do such things and was responsible for the beheading of John the Baptist.

The reason Jesus told this parable (Luke 19:11) is because the people thought the kingdom was going to appear at once. Jesus told this parable to show the ruthlessness of those kinds of kingdoms. Jesus' kingdom comes, as the next story tells, not with chariots, wealth and power, but on a donkey and by sacrificial love.

This reading of the parable of the Ten Minas seems to fit so much better with the flow of Luke's upside-down kingdom message and serves to illustrate the kind of kingdom that Christ is NOT coming to inaugurate.

traci said...

THANK YOU PASTOR BILL that makes the fog burn off and brings the sonshine!!...I'm goin back and readin' it again...(and making some very important notations in the margains!!)

KS said...

When I read how Jesus called out to Zacchaeus, I am struck by how Jesus went out of his way to show that no one is unworthy of God's grace. It is too easy to get into a mind set that I am a good person and not like Zacchaeus - but I must remind myself that I sinned and needed God's grace just like Zacchaeus.