On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus’ reputation precedes Him and a man of Jericho wants to see Jesus so badly that he runs ahead and climbs a tree to get a better view. This man was a man of means and stature: he was, in Luke’s words, a chief tax collector, and rich. We don’t know any more of his backstory; nor do we know why Jesus looked up, called him by name, and invited Himself to the tax collector’s house. But we soon find out how others feel about Jesus going to the house of a “sinner,” and this pretty much sums up the through line for the rest of today’s reading.
Multiple times today Jesus cuts right through the aggravation of the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. Without waiting for a response at the tax collector’s house, Jesus tells them a parable, about servants who were entrusted with their master’s wealth. When they grumble about His disciples’ worship of Him, Jesus warns them that “…if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Rather than pay homage to the Jerusalem leadership, He drives out the market they had set up in the Temple. When they try to trap Him, He defies them to show their hand, then tells the crowd another parable about wicked stewards. Finally, in the hearing of all the people, He says “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces… who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers.”
All the while, Luke reflects that the scribes and chief priests were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words. It seems that Jesus is doing everything He can to provoke them – a move that could end in His destruction, but would finally force them to reveal what’s really in their hearts.
Our verse for this week is Romans 8:38-39: For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Luke 19 and 20. Now let’s read it!
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.