Jesus and Zacchaeus
Here goes this story:
Jesus passes through Jericho, there was a man named Zacchaeus who wanted to see Jesus. Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector and quite wealthy. But there was a huge crowd, and Zacchaeus was too short. So he climbed up a tree to get a glimpse.
Jesus sees Zacchaeus and calls him down, requesting to stay at Zacchaeus’s home. Zaccheaus was thrilled, but the people complained, confused as to why Jesus would stay as a guest to a sinner.
The Gospel Doesn’t Exclude
Even though it’s not explicitly written in the Bible, I have a feeling the crowd purposefully excluded Zacchaeus. Everyone had preconceived notions of Zacchaeus. Some probably even hated him because maybe Zacchaeus levied really heavy and unfair taxes. They thought that Zacchaeus would be the last person that deserves to meet Jesus.
But that’s not how the Gospel works. The Gospel isn’t only for righteous people. If it were, we would all be doomed because no man is righteous on his own accord.
The Gospel is open to everyone, no matter who you are. No matter how heinous of sins you’ve committed in the past.
Think of the worst of the worst people in history. Adolf Hitler. Joseph Stalin. Saddam Hussein.
Our preconceived notions might believe that these people are lost causes.
But if even they repented, I’m certain Jesus would also welcome even them. Jesus says so Himself:
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.Luke 19:10
The Parable of the Ten Minas
This parable is similar to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 with a smaller amount of money, but it’s also more extreme. Here’s the story.
So there’s this nobleman (we don’t know who he is, but he’s clearly a man of great authority) who is about to go on a business trip (to receive a kingdom). He entrusts ten of his servants with some money and asks them to engage in business.
We also know that this citizens don’t like him, though we’re unsure why. The citizens are quite vocal about it though.
After the nobleman is back, he wants to know how his servants performed.
One servant 10x-ed. Now that’s a unicorn I’d like to invest in. And because he was faithful with very little, he was given authority over 10 cities.
Another servant 5x-ed. He was given authority over 5 cities.
Finally, there was a servant who did nothing. He was rebuked for not even doing the minimum of putting the money in the bank to earn interest. His money was taken and given to the servant who 10x-ed.
Now, here’s the extreme part. The nobleman orders all the citizens who don’t like him to be executed.
Wow. let’s break that down a bit.
Be a Good Steward
This parable is all about stewardship. You don’t own what you have, but rather merely entrusted with it during this lifetime. You are obligated to do the best with what you are given. In other words, fulfill your potential.
One interesting thing is when the nobleman took the money from the servant who did nothing and gave it to the servant who 10x-ed. How is that fair? This is what the nobelman says:
I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.Luke 19:26
Sounds like Jesus is promoting unfairness and accelerating inequality in society, right?
Not exactly. See, all of the servants were given an equal opportunity from the start. They all received the same amount of money.
But even if they didn’t receive the same amount, they were still given the opportunity to be a steward. And if you choose not to try, then you don’t deserve that opportunity in the first place. Many others wish they had opportunity.
So, the lesson is to cherish your opportunities.
Popular Opinion Isn’t Always Right
Now, I’m not sure how exactly to explain the massive slaughtering of your own citizens. This sounds really harsh to me, since it’s not too different from Joseph Stalin.
The citizens even sent the nobleman a delegate, but they still ended up killed. That’s like when an oppressive government slaughters its protestors.
Is Jesus disagreeing with democracy?
Honestly, I’m not sure.
At least I’m certain that the popular opinion isn’t always right. For all the good things democracy offers, its main weakness is that if the majority of the people are led astray, the government will fail.
Another way I see this is when Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to the harvest, and both wheat and weeds grew. But now He’s pulling the weeds and throwing them into the fire.
We’re reminded that Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword.
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