The Daily Verse – Luke 19:10

‘For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’ – NIVUK

Luke 19:10

Have you ever sought something which you thought was lost?

Have you ever felt lost yourself?

Jesus had spotted a man in a tree as he passed through the streets of Jericho and called him by name. The Rabbi invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house for supper and to stay the night.

Many of the people in the crowd which thronged alongside the teacher knew who Zacchaeus was. He was a chief tax collector and a sinner.

Like so many times and in so many places before those same people, who didn’t consider themselves to be sinners, grumbled about Jesus spending time in the company of people who clearly were sinners.

Maybe this teacher and prophet wasn’t the Messiah after all.

During the supper, Zacchaeus announces to Jesus that right there and then he was going to give away half of his goods – possessions and money – to the poor. On top of this, if he had cheated anyone in business then he would repay them four times the amount he took from them.

Jesus’ reaction to this declaration is to proclaim, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.’ Luke 19:9

Jesus is declaring that Zacchaeus is a son of Abraham not just in heritage, but also in faith.

This chief tax collecting sinner had seen Jesus, and responded to his call for food and lodging for the night, but also as the Messiah calling him to repent and enter the coming Kingdom.

To those guests around him, who may or may not have been whispering unkindly at his declaration, Jesus tells them that his purpose was seek and save the lost.

This is an image which we encounter a number of times in the Gospels.

Seeking out the lost and restoring them.

I am sure we have all lost something – I mean ‘misplaced’ something – precious or not so precious. We are sure we know where we left it or where we saw it last, however, it isn’t there now.

Jesus was doing the same. Seeking out the lost and providing a beacon for them to return by.

Zacchaeus climbs a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus. He realises he is missing something and this teacher/prophet passing through the city might just be it.

He started looking and Jesus notice as he passed by.

Just like Nathaniel when Jesus calls the disciples, he calls the little man by his name and invites himself – and his disciples – to stay for the night.

Sometimes the thing(s) we misplace, or lose, are more important than an object.

Sometimes the things we have lost is happiness, courage, love, hope, strength.

When Zacchaeus encounters Jesus he has the hope restored in himself that he can become a changed person and live a different life – in this case an honest life.

He makes his declaration of his intention to change and – importantly – how he will change to Jesus.

Jesus’ response is to give him the affirmation he needs to make this change and declares it to those around them.

Jesus acknowledges Zacchaeus’ faith.

When we have ‘lost’ something and we are struggling to ‘find’ it, follow Zacchaeus’ example.

Respond to Jesus’ call to stay with you.

Make your declaration to Jesus on how you intend to change – you don’t necessarily need to give away half of your possessions!

Then hear Jesus remind you that you are a child of Abraham – by faith we are Abraham’s heirs!

Then use that faith for Jesus is waiting to stay with you.

The Daily Verse – Luke 13:19

‘It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.’ – NIVUK

Luke 13:19

What do you plant in your life?

Can you see your life as a tree?

Jesus has just had an argument with a Synagogue leader because he was criticised for healing a woman on the Sabbath.

The only things you were permitted to do on the Sabbath were to go and pray publicly or at home. Food had to be prepared the previous day. It was to be a complete day of rest.

Jesus took pity on a woman who had had a debilitating illness for eighteen years. He saw this as God’s work.

The Synagogue leader was wrapped up in the man-made laws surrounding this day of rest. He was completely unconcerned about the plight or the healing of the woman.

In response to this Jesus teaches him about the Kingdom of God.

Israel’s expectation was that the Messiah would come in triumph and over throw their oppressors. They expected a military leader who would restore the nation to power and might.

Jesus tells them the the coming Kingdom was starting with the mustard seed – the tiniest of seeds – but would eventually grow into a great tree, whose branches would become home to many types of birds.

He was teaching that the Kingdom would not just consist of the nation of Israel.

Jesus’ continual references to going plants and seeds in his parables was a common ‘language’ for the majority of his listeners. The majority of people lived rurally and would grow some food to eat and also keep a few animals.

For many of us growing is a separation of commercial growing for food, and personal plants for visual aesthetic, if you are lucky enough to have a garden.

We can use this growing metaphor and apply it to ourselves as well.

If we plant the smallest of seeds – if we begin with a positive intention – and tend the soil and care for its growth – attend daily to develop that first positive action – over a period of time the seed will become a tree – the habit will become a strength and be clearly seen by others – eventually providing a home for the birds amongst the branches – and will prove a blessing to many others as well as ourselves.

What seed could you plant in your lives?

Do you want to be more creative or organised? Do you want to learn a musical instrument? Do you want to learn a foreign language? Do you want to learn to cook better?

Do you want to develop the courage to talk to more people? Do you want to find ways to do small positive actions for those in your lives? Do you want to be fitter and healthier?

All of these things will enable you to develop those branches and bless the people who come within their reach.

If you ever get the chance to watch the documentary-movie Skid Row Marathon then I would highly recommend it.

A Los Angeles Judge is a keen runner. He is then asked by a man who he convicted and sent to jail to go down and see the Midnight Mission which was helping him get back on his feet after his release from prison.

The Judge is encouraged to help out with the Mission, so he starts a running club.

Watch the film – it is uplifting and will leave you teary eyed at the same time.

The Judge’s seed was his love of running. The tree grew as the running club developed. In the branches miracles happened.

What is the first seed you will plant?