Thought for the day – Thursday 11 June

Thought for the day - Thursday 11 June

Dear All

Excuse the references to my boyhood years, but today’s passage brought back some memories, especially about climbing trees. I used to climb trees regularly, and when I think back, I don’t think a chimpanzee would attempt what I did. It’s a ‘miracle,’ some might say a ‘pity’, I’m still here.

During those youthful years, not all attributed to climbing trees, however, I’ve managed to be hospitalised with a broken femur, broken tibia and fibula, broken wrist, scars of varying lengths, along with a variety of bumps and scrapes. I was a real hardy boy and sometimes a bad boy as well! but you don’t want to read about my escapades do you? Actually, I think you do, but my ‘confessions’ need to end here, for the time being, It would take too long.

Trees have a fascination for me, I really love them, they are beautiful in their variety and what’s more, we need them. The carbon cycle from my biology lessons comes to mind ie the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, all necessary for our life on earth. One tree, In particular, I saw on a TV programme yesterday was the great Sequoia standing at over 300 metres tall and some trees that still exist today were 3000 years old at the time of Jesus and preceded the building of the Great Pyramids in Egypt. Amazing!!

Today’s tree variety is not on the same scale as the Sequoia, however. The tree in our passage is a sycamore of such a size, that a small, tax collector could climb and get back down again easily and safely. The trees I climbed were not sycamores, they were deciduous and pretty tall, that’s about as much as I know from memory.

What happened on that day with the meeting of Jesus and Zacchaeus caused a bit of a stir. Some pious folk thought it a crime and betrayal, as tax collectors were regarded as the lowest of the low. They were collaborators and worked for the national enemy, the Romans. Others, though, weren’t sure what to think at first, and for Zacchaeus? well! it was all very unexpected, exciting and life-changing. Things would never be the same again.

Jesus, throughout his ‘ministry’, befriended many people from all walks of life. Some were important religious officials, some were wealthy, some poor. Some were women, some were men and there were children too.

There were those who lived on the ‘fringes’, those regarded as unclean, collaborators, irreligious and not worthy of recognition. Zacchaeus was one such individual.

We don’t know the details of Jesus and Zacchaeus’ conversation in his own home but things from then on were going to be different. Jesus’ message was one of inclusion, seeking and saving those that everyone had overlooked or deliberately ignored. His message demonstrated the love of God. He came to rescue the lost.

There are probably some folk in society today regarded as misfits, unconventional, different and peculiarly odd, some we might think twice about rubbing shoulders with for good reason, but none are outwith the reach and all-embracing, unconditional love of God. Jesus didn’t come to call the righteous but the unrighteous.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He came to seek and save you and me.

Today I ask you to think/meditate on these things.

God bless you!

Jim

JBoag@churchofscotland.org.uk

LUKE 19: 1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

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.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

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