Week 5 - Lent Reflections

Week 5 - Lent Reflections

 

LENT REFLECTIONS: ENCOUNTERS OF JESUS Week 5.  21st March 2021. Derath Durkin

INSIDE OUT  Luke 19:1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately; for I must stay at your house today.’  So, he hurried down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner’ “ But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, here and now half of my possessions I will give to the poor; and if I have cheated anybody out  of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”  Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

 

1. Who’s the goodie? The tax collector who wanted to finance the ‘Great Roman Empire’ no doubt for the ‘Greater good’ or the Jew having a heavy ‘unfair’ tax levied on him because he was under the tax man’s control?

2.Who’s the badie? The controlling Roman imposing a heavy ‘unfair’ tax or the Jew forced to pay up, whilst wanting to hang on to a secular government and its pagan gods?

Rather like the question ‘is Penzance the beginning or the end of the line’?!! -

 Yes, it depends where you’re coming from, it depends on your perspective!

Background:

Tax collectors were amongst the most unpopular people in Israel, they were Jews by birth who chose to work for Rome, and were considered to be traitors, it was well known at the time that they were ‘milking’ their fellow Jews. It was no wonder they were despised and unpopular! No wonder the people muttered that Jesus was going home with a tax collector, a ‘sinner’. But of course, Jesus was not your average man in the street, He knew full well that Zacchaeus was both a cheat and a turncoat, and whilst He knew exactly who and what Zacchaeus was, He still loved him. That simple act of showing love was enough to convert Zacchaeus, and for him to acknowledge his sins, to turn away from his cheating and to make amends. And as we read on in vs 8, not only did he pledge to give back his ‘ill gotten’ gains, but to give it back fourfold. Tax collectors were considered to be the untouchables, yet this tax collector was touched by Jesus, and he responded to Jesus’ act of love by turning to Him.

In every society there are those who are considered ‘untouchables’ – perhaps because of -  ‘their political views’, or ‘their immoral behaviour’, or ‘their lifestyle’.

Question: Are there people whom we consider to be untouchable? And if so why?

What should be our next move?

 

COVID INTERRUPTIONS  SERIES :  A letter to the church:             last in our series

“ I give thanks to God for you…..”      DO TRY WRITING THIS LETTER

The Epistles in the New Testament are full of letters written to early Christian communities that sprang up in so many countries after the death of Jesus. If you read any of the letters to the Church and Corinth or Thessalonica you will note that they are a mixture of thanksgiving, prayer, praise, advice and warnings to those communities. 

If you were writing a letter to the Church in this place commenting on this Covid year: what you have seen, experienced and prayed for what would be the contents of your letter?

And what advice would you give to your brothers and sisters in Christ and to the institutional church as we prepare for the next stage of our journey and life together after the lock down begins to ease?

Do join us on Zoom on Wed 6pm, Friday 10am or in person on Wed, Thur or Friday at 11am in one of our churches….see What’s on for more details