“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10, NRSV)
My wife, Megan, was out of town.
“When 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.’ So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him.” (Luke 19:5-6, NRSV)
Do you remember learning the Zacchaeus song in church as a child? “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he.”
Just as Zacchaeus was short in stature, he was short in character. As a tax collector, he not only took money from his fellow Jews to give to the Romans, but he cheated them as well. He marked up their taxes so he could take some for himself. The fact that Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector only added to the disdain for a corrupt man.
“Immediately he [Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.” (Matthew 14:22, NRSV)
The first time we left our daughter longer than a couple of days I kept a straight face, but deep inside, I was a wreck. Megan and I went on a trip to Mexico, and our daughter stayed the week with my mom. And even though I knew she would be safe, cared for, and loved, I was still a wreck. “Will she be okay without us for this long?”
I can hear what you’re thinking, “Just wait until she goes to college.”
I’m not sure I can handle that.
“Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.” (Matthew 14:19, NRSV)
It is interesting that Jesus blesses and breaks the bread, but does not give it away himself. Instead, he gives the food to his disciples, and instructs them to give it away.
Jesus asks the same of us. We have been given the huge task of communicating Jesus to others. But Jesus does not demand that we all become academic theologians or world-class preachers. After all, little is much in the hands of Christ.
“Then he said to his slaves,‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’” (Matthew 22:8-9, NRSV)
Sarah Cummins had spent over $30,000 on her perfect day before the Indiana woman canceled the wedding. Faced with the reality of a reception contract that could not be canceled, Cummins made the decision to invite the homeless to the wedding feast.