(Second Milers also read – Psalms 11 – 15; Memorize – Jude 22)
“And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.” – (Luke 19:9)
In Luke chapter 18:9 – 14, Jesus tells us about two people that went up into the temple to pray. One of them was a self-righteous Pharisee who actually didn’t pray, but instead listed for the Lord all of his attributes that made him think that he was better than the other man. The second man was a publican (tax collector) who saw himself as being completely unworthy of the grace and mercy of God; yet he humbly sought it from the Lord. The Scripture says that the publican went away justified.
In chapter 19, I believe we may now get to meet by name that publican. It could very well be that the Zacchaeus of chapter 19 is the publican of chapter 18. It is also very possible that the proud Pharisee of chapter 18 was among the murmurers in chapter 19 (see v. 7). It is interesting to note that Jesus did not want to fellowship with the prideful bunch of Pharisees, but instead chose to spend His time eating with Zacchaeus. I believe the reason for that is because Zacchaeus was humbly heading in the right direction, while the Pharisees were stubbornly set in their ways. Now I don’t want you to misunderstand: Jesus is not condoning any past sinful behavior of Zacchaeus, and He will expect Zacchaeus to live a holy life in the future. What Jesus is condemning, however, is the attitude that Pharisees had: they only saw the flaws of others, yet did not recognize any faults of their own. You see, the Pharisees were just as sinful as this publican. It may be that their sin was a little more concealed than Zacchaeus’ sins were; but they were sinners nonetheless.
I believe the main point in this passage is the humility of the publican as compared to the pride of the Pharisee. God hates pride:
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” – (James 4:6)
Zacchaeus received the grace and mercy that he desired simply because he was humble enough to bow before the Lord. The Pharisees were not willing to do so. They were still trusting in themselves, bragging about how good they were. Until they got to the point where they recognized their need, they could not receive the mercy that was extended to Zacchaeus.
Watch out for pride!
Posted in Thoughts from Luke by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.