Monday, October 29, 2007

Saints and Sinners Luke 6:20-31 and Luke 19:1-10

Jesus, as a person, brought hope and the promise of salvation with him into many lives.
Early on in Jesus' ministry Luke said that Jesus gave sermon on a plain challenging Israel to rethink justice. This sermon given on a plain is God's plan to turn the whole world over for good.
To the poor Jesus promised the kingdom of God. He told the hungry, "you will be filled." He told the weeping that they would laugh. And he offered one final blessing in Luke 6:22-23“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

Jesus sermon on the plain ended with a prophecy of woe to the rich, to those who do not know hunger, those who laugh, and lastly to those who only hear good words about themselves.

Its tempting to sit (if you believe you're entitled to be called a saint) reveling in such words of judgment against the wealthy and the comfortable. Maybe you like the image of wealthy and well praised learning about despair and need. But Jesus salvation wasn't limited by any human standards of worthiness or unworthiness.

Jesus ministry didn't stop with the announcement of woe to the rich and the full. He went to the poor and to the rich. Jesus was repeatedly sought out by the hurting and he dared to seek out a man like Zacchaeus: a tax collector who'd grown rich collecting money for the Romans and extracting a little extra for himself.

Jesus called to Zacchaeus and announced, "I'm coming your house today." We make list of who is a saint and who is a sinner. Jesus has his own standard of righteousness. He comes not for the ones we think deserve heaven; but for those he would die to save. Salvation came to Zacchaeus house in the person of Jesus; just as it comes for all of us who he died to save.

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