December 19, 2019- Advent 19, Luke 19- To Seek and Save the Lost, Faithful Service, the King Comes to Jerusalem, and Cleans Out the Temple

 

zaccheus

Read Luke 19.

Zacchaeus was a rich man- a tax collector, who had likely come about his fortune from fleecing the flock.  Yet something compelled Zacchaeus to seek out Jesus.  We learn in the Gospel of John (John 6:44) that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him.  The Greek word for draw (helkó) is a little more intense, having the connotation of dragging something incapable of moving itself.  We are given the gift of faith. It is given from outside of us and outside of our will.

Zacchaeus was a short man, so he climbed a tree to see Jesus better over the crowd. It must have been a sight to see this tiny little man, dressed in his finery, climbing a tree to get a better view.

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”  So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”  And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:5-9 (ESV)

Time after time it seems to be lost on the religious authorities that Jesus came precisely to name, and claim and save sinners.

In the Parable of the Ten Minas, Jesus teaches us about being trustworthy.  Faith is inextricably linked with action.  When we believe, we act, just as when we light a fire there is heat as well as light involved.

Do we really trust God that His provision is enough? Do we believe Jesus is Who He says He is, enough that we can be generous with the gifts He has given us and invest those gifts in others?

‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Luke 19:26 (ESV) 

In Christ we have been given the calling to invest and freely give from the gifts He has first given us.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)

Jesus comes to Jerusalem on His way to Calvary.  As Zechariah the prophet foretold, He rides in on the colt of a donkey.

And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’”  So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them.  And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.”  And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”  He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Luke 19:28-40 (ESV)

The very stones would cry out praise to the living God, if the people had not been shouting.  The people may have mistaken Jesus for a military king or a bread king, but they didn’t see Him as the King.  Even His disciples didn’t get it that His kingdom wasn’t about power or free bread, but something much more far reaching.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem, He wept over the city.  Jerusalem, who should have seen Him as the King, the Son of David long awaited, crucified Him instead.  Jerusalem, the long suffering city,  would face destruction and judgment in AD 70.

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,  saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.  For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44 (ESV)

Upon Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem (lest we believe the myth that Jesus never got angry,) He visited the Temple, only to find that it was inhabited by those trying to take advantage of pilgrims by charging exorbitant prices for money exchanges and animals for sacrifice.

And he (Jesus) entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words. Luke 19:45-49 (ESV)

Jesus does bring us peace, but He does not leave the world unchanged.

As the celebration of Jesus’ birth draws nearer, do we see how He is preparing us for the world to come when He returns?

Will He find us with our lamps burning bright, awaiting Him with joy?

Lord, be with us and transform our hearts.  Give us the faith to seek, knock and ask for Your provision in all things.

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