I usually have these random thoughts popping in my head about how Jesus must have lived on earth— like eating fish; and at times I just end up smiling amazed to myself.
And today, I was wondering how He must have lived seeing He had no permanent home due to His numerous travels preaching the gospel. So here we are. Reading this article as a result of my wondering thoughts 🙂
He probably travelled around sleeping under trees looking at the stars, maybe even counting the stars– who knows. An extremely simple man with a childlike lifestyle. Very interesting and unusual character this Jesus. Then as He moved around, He would meet some rejects, outcast and teachers of the law and invite Himself for dinner or get invited for dinner at their homes.
1 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.
3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.
4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.
5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”
6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.
Tax collectors were not popular with the people in those days. They were despised and seen as traitors. And I honestly believe it would still be the same case today if people probably remitted their taxes to a specific person. Tax collectors during Jesus’ time were notoriously known for extortion, they leached from the common folk and lived luxuriously at their expense. Yet Jesus demonstrated God’s grace towards them. An interesting contrast with many politicians today.
And here is why I love Jesus, because according to Him all were sinners and all deserved grace equally as well. Whether it was a blind man or a tax collector, He ministered to them and forgave their sins. He taught,
2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
And so it was… He dined with a tax collector and the ‘religious folk’ thought to themselves, “how can He eat with him? How can he even enter his house? Does He not know what this man has done?”
7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
Thinking about it, I genuinely understand Zacchaeus. To have lived with rejection from others and self condemnation must have been like a slow death everyday. No genuine friends, fiercely despised, and endless guilt. Yet, here was a man who was showing him mercy and kindness. His heart must have been truly moved by that gesture, thinking, “Who am I? That Jesus should eat at my table?”
8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;
Jesus also called Matthew to be His follower, (the author of the book of Matthew) who was also a tax collector and ate at his home. I like that. Jesus inviting Himself to people’s homes and ministering to them.
2. The Pharisee
36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.
A contrast with the tax collectors, the Pharisees were the watchdogs of God’s laws. They enforced Jewish laws and ensured that they were followed to the letter. They were the interpreters of God law to the people. They walked the streets pompously, and they were perceived to be more closer to God than the normal folk.
They were well acquainted with the records of those who offered or never offered guilt sacrifices in the temple. So some Pharisees weighed people’s sins according to those records. They never associated with sinners because they could have been defiled by them. They were the ‘holy men of God.’
Jesus was invited by a Pharisee called Simon to eat at his house. As they sat eating, a sinful woman came to Him. And she not only dared to touch Him, but kiss His feet as well. I can only imagine the expression of that Pharisee! Wharathese?
Mortified! 😂 (Some times I think He enjoyed to rattle some of these holy men)
37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,
38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
And is it not interesting how presently we have such mindsets and do not even recognize it? We perceive ourselves to be better than the drunkards, thieves or murderers. We ‘pretty righteous people’ of whom I was once chief magistrate. Jesus once asked, And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
Anyway, food for thought 🙂
Jesus most likely knowing the thoughts of Simon the Pharisee, did not even rebuke Him. He just reasoned with him.
40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”
44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.
45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.
46You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.
47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Isn’t Jesus amazing? If you owe fifty denarri, I owe three hundred, James owes eighty, Bill owes ten– And we all go to Him, He squares all our accounts to zero! That is grace! 🙂
C.H. Spurgeon once said something that made me realize that God does not ask us to clean our act up first before we go to Him. He just asks us to go as we are. In that mess. Not to even try and touch it up a bit. If your situations are burnt toast, just go.
So we see the contrast between the tax collectors and the Pharisee. The first ones saw their deficiency and the grace of God while the other only saw his sufficiency and a homeless man forgiving sins.
3. You and I
Jesus is always inviting Himself into people’s home even today.
He doesn’t force Himself in. He is a gentleman. However, He knocks every single day as long as we can still say today. Everyone experiences that tag in their hearts when they are lost. It manifests itself in different ways– like, ‘Something is missing, something is wrong, there must be more to life than this, why can’t I overcome this? For what reason was I born?’ At times He listens to His children crying, hurting, suffering from outside the door as a result of indulging in wordly pleasures but He cannot enter unless the door is opened. But nonetheless, He knocks without fainting.
Some respond like Matthew and Zacchaeus, others like Simon the Pharisee, —no I am good thank you— And others say, “not today Lord, I need to fix some things first. I have a cheating spouse, debts and bills over my head, unruly kids, rejections, crazy schedule, no time, busy busy busy” and all sorts of excuses. Yet, all He wants to do is heal your whole home, and teach you how to fight in prayer and using His word.
No one is ever too far gone for God’s grace. It doesn’t matter what mess you may have caught yourself up in. There is no sin too deep that can’t be forgiven, aside from that of the rejection of the Holy Spirit’s offer of Christ.
He values all His children equally and desires to help them live an abundant life in Him. He eats with all sorts of people. In fact, He once told a parable of a great wedding feast, where a king had arranged a feast for his son’s wedding and sent out invitations to his friends. But his friends were not willing to come because they were busy busy busy, and others even killed the messengers (symbolising persecution of God’s servants). So the king was furious.
8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.
9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’
10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
But we have to come to Him and let Him do what He came to do on the cross. Save us. We must have faith in Him and allow Him to square our accounts to zero. By this, He gives us new garments, not of our own righteousness but His own.
11 “When the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.
12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.
13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Just the recognition that you are known by the one who made the heavens and the earth, the billions of galaxies, the birds of the air, the angels of heaven; is enough to make you recognize how loved and valued you are. That you are not a mistake. That God gave His most precious treasure (His only begotten son) to hang on a tree, so that both you and I could be saved.
Jesus Loves You and desires to dine with you. I pray that we may all open the door with our whole hearts and allow Him to save us and help us.