“Jesus the Guest of Sinners”
31 Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. 33After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.’ 34But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
35 As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth* is passing by.’ 38Then he shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 39Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 40Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, 41‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He said, ‘Lord, let me see again.’ 42Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.’ 43Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. 3He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5When 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.’ 6So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ 8Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ 9Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’
- In the narrative and parables (the parable of the persistent widow, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, little children, and the rich young ruler) that come just before our text what themes do you see coming out?
- Why might Luke put these stories right in front of Jesus laying out the road map for the remainder of his life and ministry? Might he be trying to show what kind of kingdom he is laying down his life for?
- Much has been made about the expectations of first century Jews regarding what the messiah would do (Great political / military leader who would overthrow the Romans and put Israel back in charge of the promised land), do you think that is the primary reason the disciples do not understand what Jesus is telling them about his journey to the cross?
- What place in society did anyone with a major medical issue / physical impediment have? Why was this man outside the city along the side of the road?
- It’s no surprise that those in the front of the group traveling with Jesus would try and keep a blind beggar from blocking their travel, but Jesus stops and asks the man what he wants, what does this reveal or maybe reinforce from earlier stories about Jesus?
- What is the reason Jesus offers for why he healed the man?
Observation: 19: 1-10
- What place in Jewish society did tax collectors, especially wealthy chief tax collectors, have?
- The text tells us Zacchaeus was a short man so he could not see over a crowd; but what reason does the text give us for why Zacchaeus felt compelled to run ahead and climb a tree?
- Jesus responds to Zacchaeus’s effort and in fact decides to stay at his house, how does Zacchaeus respond to that?
- In first century Palestine, an honor-shame society, who a person associated themselves with or spent time with spoke volumes about them. It’s no surprise the people reacted so strongly, Zacchaeus was not a Torah observing Jew and he was a tax collector, but Zacchaeus turns out to be a good man and a rare fair-dealing tax collector. What incredibly bold statement does Jesus make about Zacchaeus and his household in verse 9? **Hint** What did it mean to be a son of Abraham? Stay in verse 9.
- Luke concludes this section of chapter 19 by summing up Jesus’ mission, who are the lost that Luke is referring to?
There are several important take-aways from this section of text:
- What was the culmination of Jesus’ life and ministry that he was explaining in 18:31-34?
- Jesus was willing to lay down his life for the kingdom of God. We learn a lot about what that kingdom looks like from these stories. Who are the people that we miss or that we don’t want to associate with today? Jesus took the time to heal a blind man who had faith and entered the house of a Roman tax collector and told him salvation was his, how do we respond to those outside of our group?
- Luke was the only gospel author who was a gentile and like many other passages in his gospel makes sure to elaborate on who is welcome in the kingdom of God. Being a “son of Abraham” was a core part of Jewish identity but yet Jesus tells us that Zacchaeus is also a “son of Abraham”, the question then is in Jesus Christ, are there any boundaries (ethnic, political, social, etc.) for the kingdom of God?
- In 19:10 Jesus tells us exactly who he came to earth for: the lost. As disciples of Jesus Christ who are the ones we should be intentional about reaching?