As we continue to walk through the Bible in 2016, this week, we are going to cover Luke 19. The first 10 verses deal with a well known figure from the New Testament, mainly, because there is a little song about him. I refer to Zaccheus. Many times, this story is used to emphasize how salvation comes to a person’s life. This is true, but, from the context, there is a bigger message here. In order to understand the bigger picture, I will outline the entire chapter of Luke 19.
- 1-10 – what do you do with what you have?
- 11-27 – the parable of the minas, what will you invest what you have in for the future
- 28 – 44 – The triumphal entry of Christ
- 45 – 48 – Jesus clears the temple, rebuke for those who abused people for profit
In the entire context, we see that there is a contrast in using people for financial gain and using possessions to invest in people for the kingdom of heaven.
I. Zaccheus uses people for financial gain
When the chapter begins, Zaccheus does not know the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. As a result, he views people as objects to be used and abused for his own financial gain. He is rich. He attained his wealth as a tax collector, people who were notorious for ripping off others. The people knew who Zaccheus was and how he attained his wealth. All viewed him as a sinner and no one seemed to want to have anything to do with him, probably because he had already used them for his own personal financial gain. At this time in his life, he did not seem to care about others. He was not interested in helping the poor, or anyone else for that matter. In verse 8, in his own words, Zaccheus admits to defrauding others. Defraud has multiple meanings of which can be; lying, false accusation, spreading rumors, tricking people out of their possessions etc. At the end of the chapter, we encounter another group of people who are just as bad as Zaccheus, except, they masked their wickedness in religion. The sellers in the temple were using and abusing the people for financial gain. Jesus rebukes them harshly. We learn that some people defraud people openly while others hide what they are doing with a façade.
Zaccheus is not a nice man. He is not a happy man. He needs to be rescued from himself. Who will help him?
II. Zaccheus uses his possessions to invest in people for the kingdom
Jesus seeks out Zaccheus to teach him the good news of the Gospel. Zaccheus needs rescuing and Jesus is the Rescuer. This is why He came, to rescue the lost, one of which is Zaccheus. The difference between Zaccheus and the sinners living behind their façade is the fact that Zaccheus is changed by Jesus, he is rescued by Jesus, while the second group remains the same. Zaccheus was lost and he knew it. The sellers in the temple were also lost, but, they did not realize it. Zaccheus received Jesus’ offer of rescue. The sellers in the temple did not receive His offer. Once Jesus rescued Zaccheus, he began to see the people around him the way that God does, obviously for the first time in his life. He now sees his possessions as something to be used to invest in people, to invest in the kingdom of heaven. Salvation brings about a change in the way I view everything, including my possessions. What are you investing your possessions in, your own kingdom here on the earth or, in the kingdom of heaven? How do you view the people around you?
The next teaching in Luke 19 is the parable of the minas. God has a kingdom that He is preparing. He entrusts us with His resources and then invites us to use those resources to invest in the kingdom. We have the Word of God and we need to invest It in the lives of the people around us. If we do invest, there will be fruit. If we do not invest, there will not be any fruit. We have the choice, invest in the kingdom or not. When the Lord returns, He will reward us based on the fruit. Some will have much fruit. Others will have less fruit. Still others will have no fruit. Every person who lives has already been entrusted with resources, our lives, our possessions, the Word of God etc. What are we doing with these things? What are you investing your life in? What are you investing your possessions in? Are you investing the Word of God in the lives of others?
May the Lord help us learn to invest our resources in the kingdom of God by investing the Word of God in the lives of the people around us!