Prepare to Listen. As you slow down, still your heart and mind with this prayer: See, I have longed for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life.
Prayerfully Read Luke 19:1-10
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 sycamore 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.’
It’s easy to react to this much-loved story with a bored yawn. So, I chose to look it as an acted-out parable. My thinking was shaped by Richard Rohr, who said, “God saves by loving and including, not by excluding and punishing.” Jesus said he came, “to seek out and to save the lost.”
The crowd excluded and punished Zacchaeus, forcing him to climb a tree. Jesus included and loved him. He stopped under the tree, looked up, and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” He didn’t ask, he simply said, I must. As he scrambled down, all grumbled that Jesus had “gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” The crowd continued to exclude Zacchaeus and question Jesus’ behavior. Loving and including the lost wasn’t according to their standards of biblical behavior.
Because Jesus included him, Zacchaeus repented, changed his mind about his thieving lifestyle. He experienced salvation, not because he repented (Jesus ignored that), but because Jesus “came to seek out and to save the lost.” That’s why he must go to Zacchaeus’ home to bring salvation to this lost and excluded outcast. I wonder when we’ll learn this truth and stop excluding people who do not live according to our standards of a ‘biblical lifestyle.’
Who is being excluded and punished by your church’s decisions that you can love and include?
Respond to Jesus
Lord, you sought out the lost, the excluded and punished and welcomed them by going to their house. Help me live your way of seeking out those who are excluded and punished and show them your love and inclusion. Amen.
Live obediently. Follow Jesus to the people he loves and includes.
 An acted-out parable sees what Jesus did as critical as what he said.
 Rohr, Richard. The Universal Christ. New York, NY: Convergent. 2019, p. 154.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.