The Luke challenge entered its 19th day and just 5 more days from here we would have been done with looking through the book of Luke. It has been an awesome experience exploring the riches of God's word through the pages and the mind of Dr. Luke which has given birth to a comprehensive collection of blog posts and articles that conveys an understanding of Christ from a fresh perspective. Thank you all for reading thus far and share it with your friends! In the last three days, the broadcast has come late and yet the readership has been far and wide.
The parable of the unjust steward in Luke 16 has caused quite some positive stir, many have acknowledged they haven't seen the parable from the point of faithfulness but have always seen it from the point of smartness, street smartness whereas the Lord was emphasizing for his followers the importance of Kingdom faithfulness.
Luke 17 exposed to us the problem of having small faith! In the face of big challenges, small faith tends to be fearful! This was the experience of the disciples when they face the storm before Jesus stepped in. When Jesus said to have faith like a mustard seed, he wasn't talking of having a small faith! What was the master harping on here? Read the blogpost again if you haven't
Yesterday in Luke 18 we see how Jesus revealed quite some interesting perspective on the issue of prayer. One thing we at least know is this, persistent faith expressed through persistent prayers never fails!
AN OVERVIEW OF THE LUKE GOSPEL CHAPTER 19
In this Luke 19th chapter we have some of the key events that lead to the fulfillment of Jesus' plan and purpose, which is to die for the sin of the world. It was from here in Luke 19 that the chain of events that will lead to the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord was set in motion!
Luke 18 ended in a way that set the pace for the things to come in Luke 19
"Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spat on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again" Luke 18:31-33 KJV
With Jesus eyes set toward Jerusalem, the stage was set for the triumphant entry of our Lord into Jerusalem, however on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus had an encounter with Zaccheus, and this is one famous story that will be told wherever the gospel is preached. I will go over the story of Zaccheus, clear a misconception, and then we look at one key verse from this chapter and we will be done.
AND THE RICH......
First, we should read the major text of Luke 19
"And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today, I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:1-10 KJV
Here is the story of Zaccheus and on a quick reader some things stand out about Zaccheus
1) He was the chief among the publicans. What does this imply? Israel, in New Testament times, was under Roman control. The Romans levied heavy taxes upon the nations under their control in order to finance their world empire. The Jews opposed these taxes because they went toward the support of Rome’s secular government and its pagan gods. Nevertheless, they were required to pay the taxes. Zacchaeus was a tax collector (a publican), and as such, he was regarded as a “sinner” by the Pharisees. From the text here he was the chief among these tax collectors, meaning that he had an oversight function over other tax collectors who report to him from the region around.
2) Having established what profession Zaccheus was in Luke then proceeded to let us know the financial status he has attained because of this, simply put ZACCHEUS was rich! Probably, stinkingly rich and this would be the major talking point for me in this blog post. But let's leave that for now and go into other things about Zaccheus.
3) Been a tax collector who forcibly collects tax from the people around, of course, he was a sinner! And the Pharisees as always has an issue with that.
4) Zaccheus was curious to see Jesus, but we were told he could not because he had a physical limitation, he was a man of small stature! But here was a man that would not be deterred, Zaccheus creatively overcame his limitations and pressed into his salvation! Where there is a desperation to experience the hand of God every limitation often gives way for the express manifestation of God's blessings!
The limitation here for Zaccheus was he was a man of small stature. It was at this point it occurred to me that the physical stature and look of Christ were never mentioned or described in any way in the gospels! All of the four gospel writers did not in any way give us even a statement, a word to describe the master! Imagine if he was tall, tall people would have seen themselves more Christ-like than the rest that are not tall. Christ fits no physical description, Christ appears to everyone in whatever form we desire him to appear!
AND ZACCHEUS WAS SAVED
Zaccheus looked ahead and went ahead of Jesus, climbed a sycamore tree, a tree noted for its shorts heights too, and Jesus seeing the publican desire to see him invited himself to the house of Zaccheus saying, "Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today, I must abide at thy house". After some discourse in the word of God Zaccheu's spiritual status changed when Jesus declared, "This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." And there we have it, Zaccheus the rich tax collector has just been saved! Hallelujah! A chief sinner has been save and a rich sinner for that matter! What is the significance of this? The salvation of Zacchaeus answered one significant question Jesus posed in one of his encounters in the last chapter!
"And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said the things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Luke 18:18-27 KJV
Jesus posited here a question which many has used to reach a definite conclusion that our Lord Jesus Christ never reached. The master said after seeing the young rich ruler go away, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
This was Jesus' position here, it would be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God! Jesus said it would be hard, but didn't say it would be impossible, this is why he reiterated in the last part of this encounter that with God nothing is impossible. However, this scripture has been used wrongly in the kingdom that the rich can never be saved. The master wanting t dispel that notion in just one chapter welcome a notorious rich person into the kingdom of God! Hallelujah!
Hence the salvation of Zaccheus is the clearest indication yet that wealth is no barrier to entering the kingdom of God as it has been wrongly thought so and posited over the years. In God's kingdom, the rich also have a place! So when people point to Luke 18 as the evidence of the rich damnation please point to Luke 19 as the evidence of the rich salvation!
It was at the point of Zaccheus salvation that one of the key scriptures in the Bible was given birth to:
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10
No other scripture describes in more vivid term Christ's work amongst humanity. He is not here physically but he is in us and we have that spiritual responsibility to keep seeking and preaching the gospel of salvation to the lost!