A Welcome and a Rejection (Lent 33-2019)

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through on His way to Jerusalem.  When He saw a wealthy tax-collector named Zacchaeus who’d climbed a tree to see His arrival, He said, “Come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” Zacchaeus welcomed him gladly. 

It was a welcome that brought joy to Jesus’ heart and salvation to Zacchaeus (which is exactly what an encounter with Jesus can do).  But it also brought ridicule from certain people and rejection of Jesus and His ministry which would amplify all the way to Jerusalem.

Why Zacchaeus? Unfair! Stupid! Improper!  Luke 19:7 “All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.'”

Jesus took the rejection and turned it into teaching.  After all, Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Time was running short and these misperceptions of His ministry needed to be corrected.

Luke 19:11 Because Jesus was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once, 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ 14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ 15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. 16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ 17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ 18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ 19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ 20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ 24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them– bring them here and kill them in front of me.'”

Think about it:

  • Did sending a “rejection delegation” keep the man of noble birth from becoming king? 
  • Would anything—even rejection or death—keep Jesus from being crowned King of kings and Lord of lords? 
  • Notice the attitude of the wicked servant. How did the people react as the mina was awarded to the richest one?  How does the issue of fairness get addressed? 
  • This is high-stakes stuff.  Do you think some people view Jesus as not capable of having enemies put to death?  If death is automatic–apart from being given eternal life through the gifts of faith and grace–how is that materially different than having a death sentence carried out? 
  • What does it take to be God’s enemy?

Lord God, please forgive us for the times we presume upon You by viewing You incorrectly: assuming You’re too loving to exert Your judgment on our sin, or considering You too harsh as Judge to be approachable. In so many ways we act like the wicked servant, missing Your goodness and failing to produce fruit for Your Kingdom.  Thank You that You “came to seek and to save the lost.” We praise You for giving us every opportunity to repent and find forgiveness.  Father, in sober awareness of Your power and Your holiness, we each repent of our sins as individuals, and we confess the sins of our nation.  We fall upon Your mercy.  We are sinners and deep down we know it.  We need You, Father.  We need Your grace and forgiveness, Lord Jesus.  We need Your indwelling, Holy Spirit, to inspire our living as wise servants in a wicked generation.  Amen.

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Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on April 12, 2019

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