The sermon time during Lent has been a time of construction together as a community. The audio (above) reflects an introduction, our discussion together, and some preached Good News at the end. Below is the scripture and notes.

Luke 18:31–19:10

18:31 Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. 33 After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.” 34 But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. 35 As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.” 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” 43 Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.

19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2 A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5 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.” 6 So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” 8 Zacchaeus 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.” 9 Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”


This week, Jesus is almost done traveling to Jerusalem. He has one more stop in Jericho, the place where the Good Samaritan helped the person beaten and left for dead, where the religious official dared not stop to help. Jesus stops here. Jesus has been teaching about money and power and for the 3rd time lays out to his disciples just what is coming, and they do not see.  Then, as if to highlight the blindness of the disciples, Jesus encounters a blind man who seems to know immediately who Jesus is and refuses to be shushed in his pursuit of Jesus.

And then onto the story of Zacchaeus. A story we may think we have figured out since he is a hated tax collector. Jesus must have to straighten out his life but good, right?

Talk to each other about where you find yourself in this story. Talk to each other about your questions. What does this scripture say about you, about God, about Jesus?



Construction of sermon together (audio!)


The lives of the disciples were filled with a lot more conflict since they began to follow Jesus.

The blind man’s yelling out for Jesus caused conflict, caused those in front of him to turn and shush him.


Zacchaeus’ life as a tax collector was probably filled with constant conflict before Jesus showed up but, most certainly, after his encounter today with Jesus.


We want to avoid conflict, don’t we?

Yet. Conflict is when God shows up.


[picture] Could you feel it on Tuesday night, those of you who were at Beer & Hymns? Could you feel God’s presence? Because when your belief in God is challenged in such a vocal, public, aggressive way, well, things get real, real fast, don’t they?


Just in case you missed it, we were protested at beer & hymns this past Tuesday. It was unpleasant, yet my experience was of God’s presence as guys who are always at the bar clapped me on the back and said, “You’re doing something right, Pastor Laura.”


And yet. God was outside too. It’s too easy for them to call us the devil and for us to call them the devil back. We are called outside. To stand with our enemy and to find a way to love them. Certainly I prefer the experience of the divine to be, I dunno, a little more predictable. But proclaiming a God of love to a man shouting hate in my face? That is an experience of the divine unlike any other kind.


It’s because of who Jesus is that lives are changed, not because of who we are. If the protesting men change, it will be because of the divine and mysterious work of God.


Today, Jesus shows up with the blind man and the tax collector. On Tuesday, Jesus showed up at the bar and on the street. Jesus always in the most unlikely people and places. It ain’t easy. But no one said it would be easy.


The cross is just coming into view in this journey with Jesus. Things are just getting started.