Ep. 35: Zacchaeus was FRAMED! or  Proper 26C / Ordinary 31C /Pentecost +24


For Sunday, November 3
Proper 26C / Ordinary 31C / Pentecost +24

Opening Music: Short People by Randy Newman

  • All Saints, All Souls, All Sinners
    • Reformation Day
      • celebrated Martin Luther nailing The 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church in protest of John Tetzel’s selling indulgences
      • May be more myth than fact, but still is cool to celebrate...if you are not Catholic...then probably don’t celebrate it
    • Nov 1 - All Saints Day- traditionally in honor of May and the Martyrs
      • Was May 13 609 - too close to the Pagan holiday the Feast of Lemures
      • Pope Gregory III moved it to Nov 1 (731-741)
      • Too close to the Celtic festival of Samhain - so Celtic churches celebrated on April 20
      • 835 - established Nov 1 as All Saints Day for everyone
      • Reformation retained it as a commemoration of the dead
    • All Souls Day - to commemorate those that have died over the last year
      • Protestant church merged it with All Saints Day
  • Healthy Families, Healthy Planet  A project funded by a grant of the United Nations Foundation and housed in the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society.  The mission of HFHP is to educate, inspire, and empower faith leaders to take on maternal health and family planning as advocacy issues in their local congregations or communities.
  • 2 Thessalonians

Primary Scripture – Luke 19:1-10, Zacchaeus the Money Lender

  • Was Zacchaeus a wee little man?
    • Greek actually ambiguous as to who the pronoun is.  “For he was too small”
    • “A chief tax collector” Patronage system means that Zacchaeus was in charge of other tax collectors, who each paid to him.  
    • Eager to see Jesus.  Why?
  • Jesus’ invitation
    • Invites himself to Zacchaeus’s house
      • Invitations to dinner were a power play
      • Invite others to dinner so that you may gain from them.  Would only invite someone to dinner who was higher on the social ladder, to elevate oneself.  
      • Jesus turns this system around by inviting himself over.
      • End of the story, Jesus says he came to “seek the lost.” In Zacchaeus’s case, the lost-ness was spiritual.    
  • Crowd’s response
    • Zacchaeus not popular
    • Tax collectors - gaining personal wealth from cheating their neighbors.
    • Jesus makes a habit of eating with the wrong people.
    • Who is he still inviting to the table?
      • Who do we grumble over when they respond to Jesus’ call?
  • Zacchaeus's response
    • Prevenient Grace
      • Jesus’ invitation comes before Zaccheaus made any offer, or did anything at all
      • “Happy to welcome Jesus.”
        • Zacchaeus is probably not the most popular guy.  Didn’t have a lot of other invitations.
        • Are we always as happy to welcome Jesus when called?
    • Gives back his money, and any amount “if I cheated anybody.”  
      • Redemption comes after Jesus’ invitation to community.  
      • Act of kindness inspires justice
  • Tax Collector: Evil or Righteous?
    • Craddock
      • “While nothing of the private life of Zacchaeus is revealed in teh story, this much we know on principle: no one can be privately righteous while participating in and profiting from a program that robs and crushes other persons.” (Interpretation: Luke, 219)
      • Zacchaeus has good qualities, but as long as he participates in an unjust system that robs others, he cannot be considered righteous.  
      • The transformation Zaccheaus experiences is not an effort to “buy back his salvation.”  Rather, it is evidence of the radical power of grace.
      • The transformation Zaccheaus experiences is evidence of “fruit,” teaching us that following Jesus has a practical implication for the way we live our life.
      • “His salvation, therefore, has personal, domestic, social, and economic dimensions… Luke would object to confining the word [saved] to a condition of the soul.  The whole of life is affected by Jesus’ ministry, a foretaste of the complete reign of God.” (Interpretation: Luke, 220)
    • New Interpreter's Bible Commentary
      • sides with Craddock arguing that Zacchaeus is repenting in v.8b
      • Acknowledges that the Greek is present tense and there is no indication of repentance other than v. 8b:
        • “Zacchaeus is not protesting his customary action to the disbelieving crowd. Instead he is freely declaring his resolve to make amends for his past wrongs as a result of the honor Jesus has bestowed on him.” (New Interpreter's Bible Commentary, vol. 9,  p.358)
    • Lose
      • Tense of the verb in verse 8 - “I give to the poor...I pay pack…” instead of “I will give to the poor….I will pay back”
      • No longer a story of repentance and salvation but of perception and how God sees us compared to how the “crowd” sees us
    • Read in the context of the story AND Jesus’ response - there is no repentance/ response, simply justification and acknowledgement.
    • What about saving the lost?
      • Zacchaeus was “lost” to the community as much as an unclean leper or the hemorrhaging woman
      • Zacchaeus was so vilified by the crowds he was not able to see Jesus- he was socially (not ritually) unclean

Secondary scripture - 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 A letter of Thanksgiving

  • Second Thessalonians
    • written to the church in Thessalonica
    • Authorship is debated
      • written by three people - even the early apostles were not lone wolves - but operated in community and partnership with one another
  • Read it all!
  • Marks of a faithful community:
    • growing faith
    • love for everyone of you
    • enduring faith and love in the midst of persecution
  • Second Coming
    • Vengeance is God’s - message of hope - NOT OF WRATH
    • This is not used to condemn the persecutors but to give hope to the persecuted
  • How do we handle themes of judgment in our congregations?
    • do we address them?
    • Often used as messages of hope
    • There are consequences to our actions - what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven…
      • simply practically- there are consequence
      • Iroquois - how will our actions affect the seventh generation
      • Building cathedrals over generations
      • We want it all and we want it now
    • Supreme Court - Equal Justice - Under Law
      • Too often it is delayed or denied
      • Is there an eternal court? Or are purveyors of injustices released?
        • How does this mesh with grace?

Closing - "When the Saints Go Marching In" by BB King

Opening music: Short People by Randy Newman
Theme Music: Dick Dale and the Deltones “Misirlou”
TY: Closing music,Paul and Storm, “Oh No”

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All, LukeEric Fistler4 Comments