International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday May 29, 2016
Purpose: To discover that following Jesus instills in us the desire to make amends
Bible Lesson: Luke 19:1-10
Background Scripture: Leviticus 23:33-43; Numbers 29:12-40; Deuteronomy 16: 13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:20-29; Revelation 14:1-5;
Key Verse: “The Human One came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Luke 19:1-10 (CEB)
(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 came to seek and save the lost.”
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This is our final lesson of this quarter and our final lesson on “faith.” I hope you have taken the opportunity to do an inventory of your own faith. We have studied the different aspects of faith. Faith, is a gift from God, and we must approach it humbly, and childlike. When we do, we can enjoy the real benefits of our God given faith, just as Zacchaeus did.
Like all of humanity, Zacchaeus had a desire to see Jesus that came as a gift from God. We know very little about this vertically challenged man except he wanted to see Jesus. His occupation and stature made that a challenge, but it did not stop him from achieving his objective.
Interestingly as you read the Gospel of Luke, you find that what man thinks about individuals and what God thinks are two separate things. We don’t like tax collectors, but Jesus seemed to like them, and use them in his ministry. We often hold up pastors and priest as examples to follow, but Jesus never used priests as an example of someone with faith. We often think those that have more education about scripture should have more faith, when often the opposite is true. The more intellect one has about a subject the less faith is required.
You may have noticed a few differences in the translation (CEB) than the way you learned the story and the little song we all sang in Sunday School. In the CEB translation, Jesus uses the word “must.” Also you see that Zacchaeus speaks in the present tense, he already gives half and repays those that he may have wronged with a 40 percent penalty, while the O. T. teaches only a 20 percent penalty. The other difference may be the use of the term “Human One.”
None of these differences really change the story. “Must” may mean preordained. That Zacchaeus was already doing more than required may have been a result of John the Baptist preaching. And that may explain his desire to see the promised “Human One,” John testified about.
The area of this encounter, took place in Jericho, the first city conquered by Joshua as the children of Israel entered into the land God had given them. Today it is part of what we call the “West Bank” of modern day Israel. It is about 12 miles east of Jerusalem on the west bank of the Jordan River.
My hymn for today is an old gospel song entitled “On The Jericho Road.” made famous by the Blackwood Brothers quartet.