Zacchaeus—The New Normal

(Luke 19:1-10)

Jesus did not shy away from controversy. He refused to allow anyone to dictate his standards or set the parameters of his kingdom. To the ‘good’ folk of Jesus’ day, tax collectors were lumped in with sex workers and other ‘sinners.’ It was their conclusion that expecting a tax collector to be righteous was like expecting the town drunk to be sober. After all, tax collectors collected money for the Roman government. They were helping the occupiers to oppress Israel with money that was forced out of the Israelite’s own pockets. But what made them most despised was that their wealth consisted of the funds they collected over and above the Roman taxes.This biographical sketch, turned hit Sunday School song, is full of wonders:*Wonder that a chief tax collector, in all his finery, would lower himself to climb a tree in public.*Wonder that a notable figure among the ‘haves’ would risk being associated with this radical teacher from Galilee.*Wonder that a teacher calling people to righteousness would bother to stop to talk to ‘the lowest of the low.’ *Wonder that Jesus invited himself to visit the home of this Roman ‘sympathizer.’ *Wonder that Zacchaeus was open to a criticizing crowd at his house.*Wonder that he humbled himself to accept the accusation that Jesus had indeed come into the house of a ‘sinner.’*Wonder that this chief tax collector would give half his possessions to the poor and offer refunds with interest to anyone accusing him of extortion.But the biggest wonder of the day continues to this day…Salvation can come to your house, too! “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”Israel would come to understand that the ‘New Normal’ for those entering the Kingdom of Heaven was the Zacchaeus’ of this world. It still is!


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