Jesus chose


The Tax Collector –

[Most of the time when the Bible mentions a publican, or a tax collector it is referring to a regular tax collector (publicanus) rather than a chief tax collector. The tax collectors were usually Jewish and therefore they were hated by their own people. When they collected their taxes for Rome they would turn over the required amount of money, and whatever they could add on for themselves is what they kept. They were known to be extortioners of large sums of money. Because tax collectors were in relationship with Rome, who were Gentiles in the eyes of the Jews, and hated for their domination, they were treated similar to the worst kinds of sinners and prostitutes.

Does he go about his business with a demonic scowl upon his face? Does he spew forth obscenities and stench with every breath? No. He probably appears just like you and me. He works hard. He has a family. He loves his children. He has pets. He laughs and is fun at parties. He might be a great neighbor, generous at times, and helpful to senior citizens. Does he think himself quite evil? Perhaps not. Perhaps he sees Rome as a force of great civilization upon a nasty unruly realm.] [1]

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today .” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10

The Pharisee –

[“Pharisee” is from a Greek word (pharisaios) taken from the Heb/Aramaic “Perisha” meaning “Separated one.” In the time of Jesus the Pharisees were one of the three chief Jewish sects, the others were the Sadducees and the Essenes. Of the three, the Pharisees were the most separated from the ways of the foreign influences that were invading Judaism, and from the ways of the common Jewish people in the land. Unlike the Sadducees who were chosen almost exclusively from among the aristocracy, the Pharisees were mainly members of the middle class. They were like the businessmen merchants and the tradesmen of their day. This might account for the large number of Talmudic references dealing with the intricacies of commercialism.

The Pharisees were deeply concerned with following after the law and had thus separated themselves from the great mass of the populace (the so called “people of the land” Heb. “am ha-aretz”) by their strict adherence to the minutia of their legal tradition. The average Pharisee had no formal education in the interpretation of the law and accordingly had resorted to the professional scholar, the scribe (of which class the majority were Pharisees), in legal matters. The vast majority of the Pharisees were laymen, yet a small number of the Pharisees were also Priests and Levites, who had committed to the Pharisaic ideals in order to help make pure more of the common people.] [2]

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14

Goooooooood morninggggggggggg bright new world !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you ever have a facetime with the Lord in which you feel really special? When He points you to some rabbit holes and leaves you to wriggle about in the burrows? That’s how today feels.

Because today He trusted me to see the similarities rather than the differences. Both “categories” saw themselves as a force for good. Both were “separated” by choice. Both served “the good of the people”. Both were successful by “being amongst but not of” the people (now why does that sound familiar).

Jesus mixed with both. He sat with both. He ate with both. He included both if they allowed.

And I wonder … how often do we? Or how often do we stigmatise and label in order to preserve our faith – to make “more of the common people” like us?

Jesus chose.

What about us?
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[1] http://www.bible-history.com/sketches/ancient/tax-collector.html
[2] http://www.bible-history.com/pharisees/PHARISEESPractices.htm

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16 thoughts on “Jesus chose

  1. I have caught myself many times inwardly thinking and even outwardly at times that I, notice the I letter, have risen above the lost and struggling folks of this world. Lord help me to just walk with you and hold my hand please, because I can’t even walk without holding your hand.

    Oh that our loving Father would come soon. I Long for home. Help me to reach the lost for your glory.

    Bless you and peace Paul. Much love Tom.

    • Tom, all this being imperfect. Maybe that is why we are called to be a body of Christ. To build each other up. To support each other. And to accept each of His wonderful creations for who they and what they are.

      For when one cries out, another is always there to catch the echo – to caress and absorb the tears – and send it back brimfull of His love and affection. Never alone.

      ((hug))
      Paul

      • I think your right on track Paul. It’s not so hard to live for God. He made it simple. Give it to him. I know that I hand had a fine brother in Christ Jesus with you and others in this blogging world that Jane blessed my soul and helped me through. Thank God for all of you.
        Much love Tom

  2. I remember a time when I only wanted to be with like minded people. I think about all the missed opportunities I had to connect…to allow God to connect me with those who are “different” from me. I am thankful for grace!!! All to Jesus, I surrender…By the way- I am married to a “tax collector” :).

    • I relate! Then all these like-minded people were just that: like-minded and as imperfect as me. 🙂
      Do you never wonder whether this team game of which we are part means that our missed opportunities are the opportunities for others? Maybe there are no missed opportunities. Not as He sees them.
      And well done for your choice of soulmate! Everything I read in your posts just oozes love. Tells me you and he have something very special and very real! 🙂

  3. Jesus chose. How to follow his example!
    Great post with a greater message. I finally dared peek out of my personal “bubble” and not looking back. A ways to go for sure, but very blessed when I open myself up to others unlike myself finding more in common than differences. I am a “tax collector” of this day and I bet we all are at some point in time, but so glad that Jesus extended Himself to the likes of them and me. 🙂

  4. “Do you ever have a facetime with the Lord in which you feel really special?”

    Yup. I call it ‘wallowing’. It’s lovely when it happens 😀

    Gooooooooooood evening to you 🙂

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