Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Missional Jesus 50

posted by xscot mcknight

When I was a kid we sang about Zacchaeus, who was for us the arch-type of a “wee little man.” Zacchaeus, as seen in Luke 19:1-10, was a short guy but that’s not the point. Missional Jesus makes that clear:
The Zacchaeus story is about the kingdom of God and the Jesus Creed.
1. Missional Jesus knows that Zacchaeus had ripped people off.
2. Missional Jesus enters into this Gentile, impure man’s home.
3. Missional Jesus summons him to repentance.
4. Missional repentance is a repentance that creates a new society of economic virtue, fairness, honesty, and compassion.
5.Missional repentance backs up and undoes wrongs because it is shaped for a life that lives out the Jesus Creed.
6. Missional Jesus was for the poor, but he was also for the rich — they, too, were summoned into this new community that was unlike the System.
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore?fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ”
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”



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Jim Street

posted August 31, 2007 at 8:34 am


How sad that about the most many of us learned about Zacchaeus in our childhood was that he was “wee” and that he knew how to climb trees.
Thanks for reminding us that following Jesus entails more than merely being delivered from our guilt; it also entails a re-alignment of self in relation to God and neighbor.



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tim atwater

posted August 31, 2007 at 10:40 am


the rich man and his Torah interpretation issues are a big part of the set-up for Zack in Luke’s gospel.
There is a progression of rich guys and sayings about riches in Luke that is i think more orderly (as per luke’s preface) than the other gospels…
Mary’s song in Luke 1, Jesus’ mission statement in 4:18-19, the Lukan blessings and woes in 6, the poor good new reaffirmed in 7, the rich guy building new barns in 12, the directions about who to invite and not invite in 14, the rich guy in hell in 16, the rich man who goes away sorry in 18… finally Zack, an honest kind of a crook in my book — a crook who admits he’s a crook and is willing to change course when exposed to Jesus.
Like the rich man (18) Z knows the Torah — but unlike the other guy Z now does Torah — 4x reparations for theft (Ex 22)…
Is he necessarily a gentile? I’ve assumed, perhaps incorrectly, he was a Jewish traitor (based on his apparent Torah knowledge and his name sounds well, Jewish…)
blessings,



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tim atwater

posted August 31, 2007 at 10:43 am


Robert Tannehill (Luke, abingdom press) assumes Zack will no longer be rich by the time he has given half to the poor and done the four-fold reparative giving…
this is his guess of course…
i think he may still be middle class but not rich…
this too is a guess…



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Peggy

posted August 31, 2007 at 12:21 pm


Tim,
I had that same thought about him being Jewish.
Scot,
Do you think Jesus was using “this son of Abraham” in the spiritual sense rather than the physical sense?



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Scot McKnight

posted August 31, 2007 at 12:33 pm


Peggy,
Well, that’s a hard call. John Baptist uses this term spiritually so it is a toss-up on the basis of the Gospel evidence. It’s a term of approbation, and that’s where we begin: he’s doing right.



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Peggy

posted August 31, 2007 at 3:07 pm


Okay, but do we have instances where a gentile is identified in this kind of inclusive manner?



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Scot McKnight

posted August 31, 2007 at 3:16 pm


Peggy,
John 12, with the Greeks, is not far. The centurion of Matthew 8:5-13 is a Gentile.



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Peggy

posted August 31, 2007 at 3:32 pm


Scot,
Well, were the Greeks in John 12 “God-fearers” or proselytes come to worship? Or just curious pagans–calling forth a moment of reflection that Jesus’ death would bring inclusion to the gentiles?
And the centurion seemed an example of faith, much like the woman who begged Jesus for “crumbs” for the “dogs”, that put the Jews to shame.
Not wanting to sound nit-picky…it just doesn’t seem that this is the situation with Zacchaeus, where it sound like Jesus is restoring him to faith based on his repentance.



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Helen

posted August 31, 2007 at 4:16 pm


I think the Zaccheus story is fascinating.
Does Zaccheus know that he can expect different treatment from Missional Jesus than the crowd, or is he just curious?
Is he totally amazed to find out that Missional Jesus is as interested in him as he is in Missional Jesus? Maybe so.
The crowd sees who Zaccheus is but Missional Jesus sees who he can become.
Until recently I had assumed that Zaccheus said he was going to pay everyone back after his chat over dinner with Jesus. Then I looked and found out he said it before dinner. Missional Jesus didn’t even have to have a big talk with him. All it took was Missional Jesus treating him as a person worth having dinner with.
I think we live in a world full of people like Zaccheus; people no-one likes or values. The question is, will we treat them like the crowd does or like Missional Jesus would?



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Ethan Magness

posted August 31, 2007 at 6:36 pm


I also love the Zaccheus story. I read a wonderful article about all the Greek puns and connections that fly around in this story. The two that I most clearly remember are that his name means righteous and that he is in a fig tree which connects to the parable of the unfruitful fig tree that is given a second chance in chapter 13. (it also connects in some way I can’t remember with the word translated cheated in verse 8)
Jesus calls him by name, “Righteous one come down.” The towns people call him a name, “sinner.” Jesus calls him by what he may be, the townspeople who lack vision see him for what he now is. Where the townspeople see a barren tree, Jesus sees a fruitful one.
The article was in a journal called Leaven but I can’t find the issue right now and I can’t find it on the web so my memory of this could be wrong. (In the interest of full disclosure, the article was written by my Father but I think it would be cool even if someone else had written it.)



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Ethan Magness

posted August 31, 2007 at 6:38 pm


Follow-up. The smiley face was intended to be an 8 followed by a )
Sometimes computers are too helpful. :)
I meant that one.



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tim atwater

posted September 1, 2007 at 6:39 am


all these comments are helpful for me.
i am hearing Jesus as polyphonic (like early jazz) –
a main melody of grace and love and welcome –
strong supporting melodies of preferential option for the poor-oppressed-weak–
and inclusion of the up-to-now excluded….
Jesus (The Trinity incarnate)makes all the strands of melody present at once — so it’s not really possible to say in words alone what Zack experiences — but its such a potent mix he seems to feel great giving it all up…
Peggy, Scot — does Luke maybe leave the gentile/Jew identity question open on purpose?
(to let us plug ourselves in — that’s me up there in the tree?)
and so will we
Ethan, the puns angle makes me think of Gideon, addressed by the angel as ‘you mighty warrior’ (while he’s hiding out in fear and trembling…)
Helen, Zack seems a great illustration of how it is with experiencing Jesus — first grace — then repentance/change/transformation…



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tim atwater

posted September 1, 2007 at 6:43 am


oops — “and so will we”
was supposed to come after
“feel great giving it up”…
am trying to apply these principles to a sermon from Luke 14:1-14, dinner with Jesus as total destabilization of everything i was taught growing up… (C:)
blessings,



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Scot McKnight

posted September 1, 2007 at 6:47 am


tim,
Isn’t the issue was that he was “bad man” since he was collaborating with Rome and was ripping people off.



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tim atwater

posted September 1, 2007 at 7:31 am


definitely — that’s a big part of the issue –
and — Jesus shows us that’s not the whole of the issue –
Rome doesn’t oppress and dominate through one bad man (or even many bad men) alone — its much more of a powers and principalities thing –
the crowd would like to demonize and/or scapegoat Zack –
Jesus sees him as a son of Abraham (as Helen points out — Jesus sees him as he can and will become) –
its easy enough to go negative on Rome (and its collaboratoers) and God knows Rome is Babylon, Rome is Egypt (Rabbinic eqivalency terms like this were common at the time i’ve read) –
its a lot harder and/but a lot more Jesus-like to see that-of-God even in Rome-Babylon-Egypt… something apostle Paul seems to consistently try to do in Acts… (and Romans? the theme of for the Jews first and also for the gentiles/nations maybe word play on the after-babel dispersal and its reversal starting w Acts 2?)
As Helen again notes — its so interesting that Zack seems to know just what he needs to do already — without being told (what he does in giving half and pledging or perhaps even saying he’s already doing? 4x restorative/reparative giving — is deeply consistent w traditional Torah application) — and Zack seems very relieved to be about turning (or returning, if he’s Jewish) to God…
so yes, he’s a bad man — like me, like everyone (to some degree — and sometimes the degree matters a lot — sometimes not so much)
and yes, he’s a near-perfect model of what repentance ought to look like for the affluent oppressor (especially, but also, perhaps for all of us…?)



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