This Is The Word Of The Lord
Sunday November 3rd, 2013
St. Luke’s Anglican Church, East York, Toronto
St. Luke wrote one of the major portions of the New Testament, a two-volume work comprising the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. In the two books he shows the parallel between the life of Christ and that of the Church. He is the only Gentile Christian among the Gospel writers. Tradition holds him to be a native of Antioch, and Paul calls him “our beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). His Gospel was probably written between A.D. 70 and 85.
The character of Luke may best be seen by the emphases of his Gospel, which has been given a number of subtitles:
- The Gospel of Mercy: Luke emphasizes Jesus’ compassion and patience with the sinners and the suffering. He has a broadminded openness to all, showing concern for Samaritans, lepers, publicans, soldiers, public sinners, unlettered shepherds, the poor. Luke alone records the stories of the sinful woman, the lost sheep and coin, the prodigal son, the good thief.
- The Gospel of Universal Salvation: Jesus died for all. He is the son of Adam, not just of David, and Gentiles are his friends too.
- The Gospel of the Poor: “Little people” are prominent—Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, shepherds, Simeon and the elderly widow, Anna. He is also concerned with what we now call “evangelical poverty.”
- The Gospel of Absolute Renunciation: He stresses the need for total dedication to Christ.
- The Gospel of Prayer and the Holy Spirit: He shows Jesus at prayer before every important step of his ministry. The Spirit is bringing the Church to its final perfection.
- The Gospel of Joy: Luke succeeds in portraying the joy of salvation that permeated the primitive Church.
Today’s Gospel Reading
Luke 19:1-10 ESV
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.
And 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 and came down and received him joyfully.
And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”
And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
What Does Luke Mean?
The last weeks of Christ’s ministry found him facing many who were fickle. Those who at first heralded His entry into Jerusalem were the same ones who turned their backs on Him condemning him to die. So why should we be surprised that these same people would begin grumbling the moment Christ chooses to go to the home of one who was so hated by the masses….Zaccheus the Tax Collector. Yes, they were the first to decry Zaccheus a sinner (which he indeed was, by the way), forgetting their own very human propensity to sin.
The moral of this story is that Christ came to minister to all. He treated all as equal….Saint and Sinner alike! He needed to teach that it is sometimes our own failures to fully use and appreciate all of the blessings we are given that is of far worse consequence than the actions of one sinner who would climb a tree simply to have one word with the Son!
Our mirrors can reveal far more if we look into them with an open mind and honest heart and a willingness to understand that we are responsible for our own actions and that we are must all look as deeply into the eyes of others as we must our own!
Mark 2:13-17 ESV
He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.”And he rose and followed him.
And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
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