Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Would you exclude someone from Jesus?

Zacchaeus and Jesus - Luke 19:1-10
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 19:1-10

TO CHEW ON: "But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, 'He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.'" Luke 19:7

Zacchaeus did not have the crowd on his side. Who were these citizens that surrounded Jesus and complained (murmured, grumbled, muttered) about Him inviting Himself to Zacchaeus's house for a meal?

"This very inclusive statement 'they all' shows the general intensely Jewish spirit of the age, narrow and sectarian. The people could not imagine goodness, or earnestness, or generosity in one who served the hateful Roman power. Probably in priestly Jericho this stern exclusive spirit was especially dominant" - Pulpit Commentary.

We think bad things of the crowd who would deny someone access to Jesus. But are we so different?

How do we feel, in our heart of hearts, when someone living in sin, or rich, or on the wrong side of our theological fence gets an obvious dose of God's grace? Perhaps they get an answer to prayer (even though they pray the wrong way), or more blessing (when they are already too blessed, in our estimation), or they talk about interacting with God (even though they're living in sin).

Don't we have some of the same murmuring thoughts as this crowd: "He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner"? Don 't we too want God to abide by our miserly sense of the way His economy should work, and demand a down payment of repentance and change before He extends His grace?

Meanwhile, we forget that He gave us grace while we were still in our Prodigal Son pigpen clothes. And we have no clue what big changes are happening even now with these "sinners" and Jesus behind closed doors.

Dear Jesus, thank You for demonstrating Your extravagant love for sinners by how You treated Zacchaeus. Help me to have a spirit of generous grace to everyone. Amen.

New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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