Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Unrighteous Wealth (16) Zacchaeus

Zacchaeus understood Jesus message. When Jesus came to dine with him, he stood up and said,

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 (Luke 18:9).
This was not a grand gesture to impress Jesus. He knew that he was the owner of unrighteous wealth. Tax collectors became rich by stealing from their fellow citizens, using stand-over tactics. Zacchaeus was entitled to a fee for his services, but most of his wealth was unrighteous wealth.

Zacchaeus wanted to enter the Kingdom of God, so he knew what he had to do. He had to get rid of his unrighteous wealth. He offered to fourfold restitution to anyone he had stolen from. That is what the Law required (Ex 22:1). He no longer knew who he had acquired most of his wealth from, so he could not make restitution. That is why he gave half of his possessions to the poor.

Zacchaeus gave his wealth away, because he knew he could not take it into the Kingdom. Jesus did not need to say anything to him, because he understood Jesus message. We focus on the generosity of Jesus in coming to dine with a bad man. That is good, but dining with sinners counts for nothing, if you are clinging onto unrighteous wealth.

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