Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In Luke 19:1-10 Jesus meets with Zacchaeus, a “chief tax collector.” By eating together with Zacchaeus, Jesus delivers blessing and grace to his household. Zacchaeus’ response is to correct the financial wrongs he may have engaged in, and to pay punitive damages as needed. He is promising to right his wrongs, as a sign, recognized by Jesus, that he has dedicated himself to living the life of someone who is a true Israelite.
As I was writing the last paragraph, I saw a living example of the concept. A young person purchased some food, turned around, and dropped some of it. She cleaned it up and the person at the counter insisted she have a replacement of what she dropped. There was no wrong committed, as there was in the case of Zacchaeus, but the principle is the same. The person in business wanted to treat the customer in a kind and helpful way. In this way he reflected the kindness of Jesus.
When we realize the matchless grace of God in Christ, we should expect to respond well, showing kindness and helping those who can’t help themselves. However, we don’t always respond rightly. How often are we like those critics of Luke 19:7, who complained that the Lord had shown favor to a sinner! As a Christian pastor, I promised that I would care for everyone, not just people who are pretty much like me. This is the work of all Christians, not just of pastors. As Jesus visits us in our sinful state, bringing conviction, repentance, forgiveness, and restoration, so we visit others. Our Gospel reading is thus about reconciliation. We who have been reconciled to God live that life out in our community.
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