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The Scriptorium

Law, Promise, and Salvation

It's all there with Zacchaeus. Luke 19.1-10

Luke 19 (1)

Pray Psalm 105.1-6.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!
Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
O seed of Abraham His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!

Sing Psalm 105.1-5.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Give thanks unto the Lord Most High; call on His Name, before Him cry!
Make known His deeds in every land; sing praise for all the works of His hand.

Glory in God, rejoice in heart, all you who seek His holy part.
Him and His strength and Presence seek; His works proclaim, His judgments speak.

Read and meditate on Luke 19.1-10.

1. How did Zacchaeus respond to Jesus?

2. How did Jesus respond to him?

This passage brings together the great themes of the Old Testament with the great themes of the New Testament, and Jesus is the Centerpiece of it all.

Jesus passed through Jericho on His way to Jerusalem. The mention of Jericho should set off a “ding” in our brains, with bright lights of “Promised Land”, “Gentiles”, “shouting victory for the Lord”, and “conquest”
flashing in our brains. The “wee little man” who sought Jesus so urgently was a despised tax collector, as despised in Jewish eyes as any Gentile. He only wanted “to see who Jesus was” (v. 3); he did not expect that Jesus would see him.

Since the crowd would not part for him, he hauled himself up into a sycamore tree (v. 4). Jesus saw him there and commanded him to come down and receive Him into his home (v. 5). Zacchaeus did just that, even in the face of the complaints of the crowd (vv. 6, 7). Once there, Zacchaeus expressed repentance for past sins, and, knowing the requirements of the Law of God, determined to pursue restorative justice where it was required (v. 8; cf. Ex. 22.1).

How did Jesus respond? Did He say, “Oh, no, no, no. Let’s have none of that Law stuff.” No. Jesus commended him as a son of Abraham, a child of the promises, and one whom He had come to seek and save (vv. 9, 10). God’s covenant with Abraham and the Law He gave through Moses come together in the salvation that Jesus brings. We receive the promises and embrace the good works of the Law when we give ourselves to Jesus.

Jesus is seeking people to save just like this.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
“Jesus is seeking people to save just like this.” And they are all in someone’s Personal Mission Field!

Zacchaeus “sought to see who Jesus was, but could not” (Lk. 19.3) for two reasons:
1. There were a lot of regular sized people who were in the crowd.
2. He was short.

Zacchaeus’ problems give us insight into the lives of those Jesus wants us to seek:
1. Who is keeping them from seeing Jesus?
2. What is making them short?

Poor Zacchaeus had a lot working against him.
He was a dishonest, thieving, money-grubbing tax collector.
And he was gloriously rich from other people’s money.
Not to mention the fact that he was vertically challenged; with a bad heart.

But the Good News of Jesus Christ reached us, when we were as sinful and troubled as Zacchaeus.
And Jesus looked up into whatever tree we were in with this same invitation to life: “Make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house” (Lk. 19.5).

God has demonstrated His Own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5.8) – before we repented, like Zacchaeus, who gave half his goods to the poor and returned fourfold things he stole from others by false accusation (Lk. 19.8). Whatever it was that was making us too short to see our beautiful King and Savior, did not keep Jesus from inviting us to live in His Kingdom. “For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” … “The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works” (Ps. 33.9, 13-15). And He calls us by name. Just like Zacchaeus (Lk. 19.5). “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine” (Is. 43.1).

We heard the Good News and repented and believed. Just like Zacchaeus did.
We are being sent to bring this same Good News to others. Treed like Zacchaeus was.
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2.38, 39).

Invite someone to climb down out of their tree to new life. Like Jesus did for Zacchaeus. And for you.

For reflection
1. What kinds of things keep people from seeing Jesus today?

2. How can you help more people see Jesus? What will you tell them about Him?

3. How does repentance help us to make progress in our faith?

Christ is come to his house, and where Christ comes he brings salvation with him. He came into this lost world to seek and to save it. His design was to save, when there was no salvation in any other. He seeks those that sought him not, and asked not for him.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 19.1-10

Pray Psalm 105.6-11.

Thank and praise God for His covenant, the Law, the promises made to Abraham, and the salvation we have received in Jesus. Call on Him to give you the determination and faith of Zacchaeus today as you serve Him in your Personal Mission Field.

Sing Psalm 105.6-11.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
You holy children of Abraham, you chosen ones of Jacob, stand!
He is our Lord, of wondrous worth; His judgments are in all the earth.

He will His covenant faithfully guard – His oath, the promise of His Word.
That which He to our fathers swore, He will perform forevermore!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the previous studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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