December 2nd, 2006
Some people get born into loving families; others have to struggle to get their start in life. Some people are born with good looks and high intelligence; others are born with deformities and disabilities and incurable diseases. Some people are born in wealthy countries with lots of opportunities, and others are born in poverty with little hope for the future. Why is it? Why does one person appear to be blessed while another equally deserving person appears to be cursed? Does God care more about some people than others? Why did Jesus choose to stay at the home of a little man, Zacchaeus the tax collector?
Luke’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 19
19:1 He entered and was passing through Jericho. 19:2 There was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a senior tax collector, and he was wealthy. 19:3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, because he was short. 19:4 He ran on ahead, and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way. 19:5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and saw Zacchaeus, and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down, because today I’m staying at your house.” 19:6 He hurried down and received Jesus joyfully. 19:7 When people saw it, they all murmured, “He has gone in to stay with a man who is a sinner.”
19:8 Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Lord, I am giving half of my goods to the poor. If I have overcharged anyone, I will repay four times as much.” 19:9 Jesus said, “Today, salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. 19:10 The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
19:11 The crowd heard this, and he continued with a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and they thought that the Kingdom of God would be revealed immediately. 19:12 So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to be made a king, and then to return. 19:13 He called ten of his servants and gave them ten thousand dollars, and told them, ‘Carry on business until I return.’ 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a messenger after him, saying, ‘We don’t want this man to reign over us.’
19:15 “When he had received the kingdom and returned he ordered the servants to whom he had given the money to come before him so he could find out what they had gained by conducting business. 19:16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Sir, your ten thousand dollars has become one hundred thousand.’ 19:17 He said, ‘Well done, you good servant! Because you were faithful with a little, you will be governor over ten cities.’
19:18 “The second came, saying, ‘Sir, your ten thousand dollars has become fifty thousand.’ 19:19 He said, ‘And you are to be governor over five cities.’ 19:20 Another came, saying, ‘Sir, look, here is your ten thousand dollars, which I kept hidden away in a handkerchief, 19:21 because I was afraid of you, knowing that you are a harsh man. You take what you didn’t put down, and you reap what you didn’t sow.’ 19:22 He said, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant! You knew that I am a harsh man, taking what I didn’t put down, and reaping what I didn’t sow. 19:23 Then why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank, so that on my return I might have earned interest on it?’ 19:24 He said to those who were standing nearby, ‘Take the ten thousand away from this servant, and give it to the one who has the hundred thousand.’
19:25 “They said to him, ‘Sir, he already has a hundred thousand!’ 19:26 I tell you that everyone who has something will be given more, but even the little which they have will be taken away from people who have nothing. 19:27 Bring those enemies of mine who didn’t want me to reign over them here, and kill them in front of me.'”
19:28 After saying these things, he went on ahead, heading towards Jerusalem. 19:29 When he came near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain that is called Olivet, he sent ahead two of his disciples, 19:30 saying, “Go into the village on the other side. As you go in you will find a tied-up colt on which nobody has ever yet sat. Untie it, and bring it. 19:31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.'”
19:32 Those who were sent went away, and found things just as he had told them. 19:33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked, “Why are you untying the colt?” 19:34 They said, “The Lord needs it.” 19:35 They brought it to Jesus. They threw their cloaks on the colt, and set Jesus on them. 19:36 As he went, they spread their cloaks on the road. 19:37 As he was getting near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen, 19:38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!”
19:39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 19:40 He answered, “I tell you that if they were silent, the stones would cry out.”
19:41 When he came closer to Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, 19:42 saying, “If you, even you, had known today the things which would bring your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 19:43 The days will come on you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, surround you, hem you in on every side, 19:44 and will crush you and your children within you into the ground. They will not leave in you one stone on another, because you didn’t recognise the time when God visited you.”
19:45 He went into the temple and began to drive out the people who bought and sold in it, 19:46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of robbers’!”
19:47 He was teaching daily in the temple, but the senior priests and the religious lawyers and the leading men among the people looked for a way to destroy him. 19:48 They could not find a way to do it, because all the people hung on to every word that he said.