For Zacchaeus, life was a joyless ride. He had a lot of money that he had stolen from others. He had few friends, except maybe a few who liked him for his money. He was looked down upon by almost everyone, figuratively and literally.
Zacchaeus wanted more, and he believed he could find more in Jesus. That’s why he climbed the sycamore tree to get a better look at the man from Nazareth. Imagine his surprise when Jesus singled him out, and imagine the surprise of everyone around him! Jesus showed Zacchaeus he was loved. He truly cared for Zacchaeus, and that changed his life. Zacchaeus found joy in knowing Jesus, and that joy was life changing.
Jesus loves every one of us, no matter what we’ve done. If we embrace the love of Jesus, we can have true joy in our own life journeys, just like Zacchaeus!
After Jesus completes his time of trial in the wilderness he discovers that his cousin John has been arrested and now it is time for him to go public with his ministry. In the second half of chapter 4 Jesus returns to Galilee and calls the first of his disciples.
In chapter 3 Matthew records an identity affirming and ministry commissioning moment in the life of Christ. What we learn in this passage is that our identity in Christ is also essential to our understanding that our life has a purpose and is bound together with Jesus in the mission of God.
Traditionally Matthews gospel chapter 2 focuses in on the rightful worship of the three wise men from the East at Christmas, but there is much more to the story. Reading Matthews gospel in August allows us to look at what else Matthew wants us to see. This week we contrast the Biblical theme of Kingdom of God with that of Empire. Join us live on the lawn at 10 or online.
Last week we felt compelled to ask for donations of “gift cards” for those in our area who are food and housing insecure or have lost their jobs due to the pandemic or been displaced or impacted by the fires. Your response has been overwhelming for which we are deeply grateful. Deb and I are out tomorrow to purchase the cards and combine them with other gifts from the Inter-faith ministerial association to be distributed to the health center, La Luz (rent and utility assistance) and F.I.S.H (local food bank)whose resources have been depleted due to demand.Thank you all