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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Was That The Kingdom?!

     In Luke 19 we see a man 'desperate' to see Jesus - it says he was 'quite rich'.  Do the very rich have a kind of lifestyle that is uncommon? Do they have opportunities and resources to take advantage of the world in extraordinary ways? And yet this man was desperate to see Jesus and couldn't get a glimpse of the King who became flesh, so he had to shimmy up a sycamore tree. It says he ran ahead, which was considered undignified in his culture for adults - a man of importance, to run, but Zacchaeus in his moment of desperation threw aside social code. This kind of tree had inferior pieces of fig that only the poor would eat which really adds to this picture of Deity coming into the presence of humanity. But humanity here was indignant, ignoring the King of all hope and mercy;  flung their words of judgment and shame in the face of Zacchaeus who was a little stunned at their hatred of him. Maybe he felt their stinging indictments before, but Zacchaeus was so caught up in the presence of Jesus - you know the Godhead who became flesh to walk among us, that their harsh words tried to halt him in his rhythm of joy and gladness. So he apologized and said he gives half of his income to the poor. The Message translation uses the present tense, but other translations indicate it was something he would do.  And if I'm caught cheating, he says, I pay four times the damage. Either way, he has encountered the Kingdom of God and it is life altering for him. Jesus confirms all of the activity in the heart of Zacchaeus when He proclaims, "Today is salvation day in this home!"

But it is so sad what I read in the very next verse. The crowd was getting closer to Jerusalem, because that's where Jesus was headed, and their expectancy was building - oh they were excited because there was all this hope that God's Kingdom would appear any minute. They Just saw the Kingdom - The Glorious Kingdom had just appeared in that last minute back there on the road!  Who else can bring salvation? Zacchaeus, this crook as they called him, was so overcome with desperation because He knew there was something extraordinary about this man in sandals walking his beat, breathing his air and crowding into his space. But they despised this glorious interchange of love and sweetness, profound exhilaration at the top of the tree - shouts of love! " Master, I give..!" He called Him Master, which implies that he had become a servant and he was also compelled to give outrageously and right any wrong. The Kingdom called out to Zacchaeus and his heart was pierced and he embraced that love, the audacious love that overcame social constraints to bring eternal life a life of love that never ends to the man Zacchaeus.

Ohhh I don't ever want to miss any time the Kingdom comes and spreads wings of unreasonable love over anything, anyone, anywhere, anytime. 

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