A Love that Ruins Our Labels

The People of a Second Chance movement is doing a poster series based on the question of who you would give a second chance to.  The images are arresting and so impacting for me, both as an artist and as a passionate proponent of God’s grace.  Who have we decided is beyond the scope of God’s restoring love, or our acceptance?  Those are heart-probing questions we shouldn’t answer too quickly.

This Sunday we’ll be continuing our study in the gospel of Luke, and we’ll read chapter 19:1-10.  It’s the story of Zacchaeus, or Zack to his friends.  (By the by, I did a re-telling of his story in my webcomic Rabbi Encounters, and you can read it HERE)

Zack is the New Testament poster child for second-chancers.  He had everything going against him socially and religiously, he was easy to categorize and label.  Bad guy.  Done and done.  Except that Jesus strolls into town and ruins everything.

Are there people you have trouble accepting, or applying the love of God to?  How does Jesus’ attitude, behavior and words toward Zack speak to that?  Does it change your attitude toward someone if you imagine that Jesus has accepted them?

Have you felt labeled because of your social status or appearance or (you name it)?  What do we learn from Jesus’ interaction with Zack that can help us find our identity in something OTHER than the crowd’s approval?

Jesus’ love ruins our labels, and his grace tramples down all our neat categories as his kingdom invades this world.  How can we work in harmony with that?

Hope you can be there Sunday, should be a good section to explore!

4 comments

  1. The secret of the story ( at least for me) is found in the final verse when Jesus says, “My job is find the lost and restore them.” Zach’s life changed when he met Jesus. He went from being the worst of society to someone that was willing to do anything to make up for his past deciet. And sure, I see myself in the voices of crowd. At one point or another in my journey I have thought that methodists, liberals, democrats, seeker sensitive types, word of faithers, baptists, catholics and Gator fans surely couldn’t know Jesus. Still not sure about the Gator fans. But I think the answer lies here, once you “see” Jesus, you’re changed. Zach had a close encounter with Hero King, he really saw him, and old Z was changed, reborn if you will. What was lost was found and restored. By extention, isn’t that our task as well. We’re not Jesus but aren’t we called to help those that are lost find themselves? Lord, help me see. Good or bad, let me see. Zach did, and something tells me that he (and Jericho) was never the same.

  2. Got up early yesterday morning and before work I read the the blog along with the scripture and was kicking it around in my head.Go to work where I am a service adviser and who did I have the pleasure of assisting first thing that morning but the chief tax collector of Bay County(Peggy Brannon) She was very kind and easy to work with.And what was the young technician who worked on her cars name? You guessed it …Zach!! Chances of that happening!! More to that story but anyway… I have gotten so much from our study of Luke,don’t care if it has been 2 years!!The contrast of the type people Jesus reaches out to is striking to me.In the last chapter it was a blind beggar and now a wealthy man..both who were seekers in need of a Savior!! No one seems to be beyond His reach nor is He ever to busy to respond to their needs along the way.

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