Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dinner With a Sinner

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 19:1-9

TO CHEW ON: "Jesus ... said to him, 'Zacchaeus...I must stay at your house today'...All the people saw this and began to mutter, 'He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.'” Luke 19:5,7

What are taxes? You probably know they are amounts of money people in cities, provinces, states and countries must pay. Government workers collect this money. They use it to pay for things used by everyone - like roads, schools, firefighters and the police.

In Jesus’ time, the Roman rulers charged taxes. They got people in each neighborhood, to work for them. These people were called tax collectors. They usually charged the people more than the Romans asked. They kept the extra money for themselves. Everybody thought of them as traitors, cheats, sinners, and hated them. Zacchaeus was a tax collector.

One day Zacchaeus heard Jesus was coming to town. He wanted to see Him. But Zacchaeus was too short to see above the crowd. Besides, he didn't much like being in crowds because he was so unpopular. So he climbed into a tree and watched as Jesus and the crowd walked by.

Jesus didn’t care how the crowds felt about Zaccheus. When He came to the tree where Zacchaeus was sitting, He stopped. He called up to Zaccheaeus and persuaded him to come down. Jesus said He wanted to have a meal with Zacchaeus. Then what happened? Which three statements are UNTRUE? (Luke 19:5-9)

1. Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus to his home.
2. Zacchaeus denied that he had done anything wrong.
3. Zacchaeus offered to give a quarter of his possessions to the poor.
4. Zacchaeus offered to pay back four times the amount he’d cheated from people.
5. Jesus condemned Zacchaeus and said there was no hope for him.
6. Jesus said salvation had come to Zacchaeus’ home.

"Zacchaeus" - Artist unknown"Zacchaeus" - Artist unknown

Do you know people who have a reputation as bad as Zacchaeus's? Maybe they’re known for being mean or stuck-up or stingy. Perhaps everyone avoids them. But you can be different. You can follow Jesus’ example and be kind. You never know, God may be preparing them to meet Jesus just like he prepared Zacchaeus. God may use you to introduce them to Him.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to show kindness to unpopular people, like Jesus did. Amen.

- What kinds of taxes do you and your family pay?

- How are taxes collected where you live?

- What are some things for which your tax money is used?

- What attitude should Christians have toward the people in government and the taxes they collect?

Some places the Bible talks about government and paying taxes:
  • Matthew 17:24-26
  • Matthew 22:15-22
  • Romans 13:1-3
  • 1 Peter 2:17

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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