Fourth Sunday before Advent 3.11.13 Luke 19.1-10

28 10 2013

Party Time

The story of Zacchaeus is remarkable for what it does not say.  Specifically, Jesus did not march in and say “Give the money back!”

Luke 19.1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. 3He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5When 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.’ 6So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ 8Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ 9Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’


To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. Zacchaeus was ‘wealthy’.  Who else have we encountered in Luke who was rich?
  2. People described Zacchaeus as a sinful man.  What did they particularly mean by that?
  3. What did Jesus mean when he said “salvation has come to this house”?

Heart Questions

  1. What did Zacchaeus feel and think when he heard Jesus was coming?  What caused him to climb the tree?
  2. What did the onlookers feel when they saw Jesus heading for the company of a wealthy sinner?
  3. What happened to Zacchaeus’ heart that day?

Hand Questions

  1. Is there someone whose life might be changed if you simply reach out to them and treat them as a person with something to give?
  2. Do you have scope or reason to give away possessions or pay back ill-gotten gains?
  3. Do you have a story to tell about salvation coming to a house?


These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you. That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands. Take your time.



One response

1 11 2013
11/3/2013 Respond to Grace | ForeWords

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