LUKE 18:31–19:10 = UNDESIRABLES TOO?
Bible Background: Remember, Jesus is still on his way to Jerusalem, and for the 3rd time tells his disciples he will suffer and die and be raised…and they don’t “get” it. A blind man recognizes who Jesus is (though the crowds wanted him to keep quiet), and a tax collector recognizes who Jesus is and changes his ways.
Digging Deeper: 1. Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem and the cross, and we have encountered interesting people and challenging teachings on the way! In telling the disciples of his death, we see how hard it was-even for the people who were with him every day-to understand! What about Jesus’ death and resurrection do you feel you ‘get’? What leaves you puzzled?
2. Jesus attracts the attention of a blind beggar. Why do you think the crowd wants to silence him? Jesus engages the man. He asks “What do you want me to do for you?” How might that be a model for engaging our neighbors who have needs? How is it better than assuming we know what they do or don’t need? The blind man seems to know something about Jesus: he calls him “Son of David”.
3. Then we encounter this short, rich, tax collector named Zacchaeus! Again, people ‘grumble’ that Jesus would keep company with his type! But Zacchaeus turns out to be either a generous man or a changed man or both. (The Greek verbs for giving half his $$ to the poor, and paying back 4 x’s are actually present tense. Is this what he already does? Or something he’s willing to do?) What assumptions do we make about rich and poor persons? When have your assumptions about a particular person or group proven to be wrong?
4. Jesus announces: “Today salvation has come to this house, for he too is a child of Abraham.” What do you suppose the ‘grumblers’ are thinking now? Might they be humbled by Zacchaeus’ generosity/change of heart? Might they be skeptical? Are they still grumbling? Or do they ‘get’ that following Jesus changes us and our priorities?
5. Here’s the million-dollar question: How has following Jesus changed your life? And, if it hasn’t, are you actually following Jesus?
Next week is Palm/Passion Sunday. Read Luke 19:28f, and Luke chapters 22–23.