Not even the destruction of the temples of our own hubris, the famine of our failure of generosity, or the earthquakes of our self-righteous rage can keep our Father from calling us back into the healing of forgiveness and grace that has been secured for us by Jesus Christ.
This story is not an indictment of Zacchaeus; it’s an indictment of the people. Zacchaeus hears them grumbling, grumping, and judging, so he sheepish responds, “Lord, they’ve got me all wrong. They’re judging my book by its cover. ” To this Jesus rejoices and says, “I know. You done good, Zacchaeus. Don’t worry. I’ll see you for supper.”
Justification did not come from purity and perfection, but from admitting a need for forgiveness; that was righteousness to Jesus. That is our hard lesson.
Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself talking with a lot of people who are struggling in one way or another. What I’ve ended up saying almost every time is, “You know what? Maybe God has you right where he wants you.”
We see and gasp at downed power lines and flooded cars, and turn our gaze away from a woman wading in waist high water because the only home she knew under an expressway overpass had washed away.
If you are worried you don’t have enough . . .
If you are worried your family doesn’t have enough . . .
If you are worried our church doesn’t have enough . . .
. . . try letting go. Then see what happens.
Like a magnet to the brain—or more like a magnet to the heart—Jesus tells us this story in order to change us . . . to help us see all the Lazaruses around us . . . to see them, to notice them, to walk a mile in their shoes, to respond, and to care. If we are anybody in this parable, we are neither Lazarus nor the rich man. No, we are the rich man’s brothers, still living on this side of life. We have all we need to be able to see. The question is, will we see?
Your debts are cancelled. You are forgiven. You are free. That’s the best news you’re going to hear all week. And unlike the creditors of this world, there’s no catch with this kind of debt cancellation. But there is a response you can make.
It seems that our ways to get lost are more numerous than the blades of sweet green grass in the meadow.
Discipleship is hard—as hard as learning to run the hurdles—and following Jesus is hard, especially if you’re going to do it as a group. So how do you persevere, and train, and get better together? Learn here.
Extra: Hear the Very Rev. Timothy Jones’ fine sermon from August 14, 2016, which Fr. Lonnie quotes in this sermon. (His sermon begins at 20:17 in the audio clip.)