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Jesus' defining mission (and ours)

August 27, 2022
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Daily Scripture

Luke 19:1-10

1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. 2 A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” 6 So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus.
7 Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”|
8 Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 The Human One [or Son of Man] came to seek and save the lost.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Zacchaeus was so eager to learn more about Jesus that, wealthy adult though he was, he climbed a tree to offset his short stature. But Jesus was on a mission and, if anything, was more eager to reach Zacchaeus than Zacchaeus was to see him. Jesus ignored people’s grumbling by very publicly inviting himself to a meal at the house of one of the town’s most despised “sinners.” He told the grumbling crowd (many of whom Zacchaeus had probably cheated) that he “came to seek and save the lost.” That was his central, guiding mission—not one that limited his focus to just one type of activity, but rather moved him to restore and set right all the brokenness that evil creates in our hurting world.

  • Jesus said his mission was “to seek and save the lost.” Scholar William Barclay wrote, “In the New Testament ‘lost’ does not mean damned or doomed. It just means in the wrong place….A [person] is lost when [they have] wandered away from God; and is found when once again taking a rightful place as an obedient child in the…family of the Father.” * In what ways has God “found” you, and moved you to your rightful place in God’s family?
  • As Jesus set out on his mission, he preached, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!” (Mark 1:15) At Resurrection, we believe that “when Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God, he was speaking of the world as it should be.” ** As we allow God’s power to work through us to achieve our 2030 goals, how will we move the world closer to being the world as it should be? How will you help?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for coming “to seek and save the lost,” including me. Help me to join you in doing that great, world-changing work. Amen.

GPS Insights

 Angie McCarty

Angie McCarty

Angie McCarty is an ordained elder from the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church and moved to Kansas from Arizona in 2017. She is the Pastor of Senior Adult Ministry at Resurrection Leawood and the part-time pastor at Spring Hill United Methodist Church. She is currently enrolled as a doctoral candidate at Saint Paul School of Theology. Angie is married to Jonathan Bell, who also serves on staff at Resurrection. Together they have six kids, a live-in sister who is active in Matthew’s Ministry, and a totally joyful life.

My son started his freshman year at the University of Arkansas a few weeks ago. Woo Pig Sooie! He is 6’ 6” tall. (Yes, his dad is tall. No, I’m of average height.) When he hugs me I have to stand on my tip toes get my arms around his neck. I always feel safe when I’m with him, even walking downtown in an unfamiliar town after dark. No one is going to mess with him, even though he’s incredibly gentle and kind.

Jackson constantly looks down on people. Not in an arrogant way, but in a “having to bend his neck to look in someone’s eyes” kind of way. He’s not as high above the crowd as Zacchaeus, but with a few more inches, he might be close. Given what little we know about Zacchaeus, he probably did look down on people from a heart filled with arrogance. He might not have looked people directly in the eye, filled with the shame and guilt that comes with cheating people out of their hard-earned wages.

I imagine Jesus in a crowd of people, instinctively knowing Zacchaeus was in the tree. Jesus makes eye contact with him, sinner that he is. Jesus issues an invitation to a shared meal, an act of communion and intimacy. Jesus picks the most lost, the most broken, the most shame-filled and says, “Come…let’s spend some time together.”

Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors. She has made research on shame, vulnerability, and empathy her life’s work. (If you haven’t watched her two TED talks, find them on YouTube. You’ll be glad you did.) She writes, “Shame is that warm feeling that washes over us, making us feel small, flawed, and never good enough.” “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” Is this how Zacchaeus felt when Jesus called his name?

Shame is one of my uninvited life companions. I don’t want to feel shame. I ask God to heal the broken places in me that lead to this useless emotion. Yet there is a voice that whispers, “You’re not good enough. Of course, you messed this up. Why can’t you get it right?” And then, in my sacred imagination, I hear it…a still small voice calling my name. “Angie…Angie. Climb down from that place of shame. I want to be with you. I want to spend time with you. You are good enough for me. You are loved. You are mine.” I’m not going to lie. That doesn’t make it all better in an instant. However, it does change my gaze from a place of shame toward the eyes of Jesus. In Jesus, I find a welcome embrace, filled with grace that is sufficient to take the first step toward a renewed life in Him.

Jesus calls your name. I hope you hear Him. I hope you choose to take a step toward Him.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Luke (Revised Edition). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, page 257.
** The opening line of Resurrection’s Vision 2030 statement (entire statement and goals found here.)