Sunday, October 20, 2019

Luke 19.1-10: Out on a Limb

When they saw it they all murmured. (Luke 19:7) Oh, those murmurers. Murmurers can make anyone (or everyone!) feel like they are out on a limb.

Zacchaeus was literally out on a limb. Unable to see Jesus, he climbed a tree. By end of the story, Zacchaeus hadn't just seen Jesus, he had spent time with Jesus, had hosted Jesus in his home. But people had murmured about Zacchaeus, the head tax collector.

Jesus went out on a limb inviting himself to anyone's home, much less the home of the chief tax collector. "Today I'm going to your house, Zacchaeus" and Zacchaeus climbed down from the tree and walked home with Jesus. But people murmured about Jesus, who ate with sinners.

They murmured about Jesus. They murmured about Zacchaeus. Some people may have even murmured about the sculpture shown here. The piece has all the right elements: two men and a tree, with one man in the tree. We expect to see those elements. You may have noticed that the artist went out on a limb by dressing neither man in "Bible clothes." The carver, John Mack Walker, chose to set Bible stories in 1950s Appalachia (the USA mountain south). In this piece Jesus and Zacchaeus both wear suit-style coats and sturdy work shoes. Light reflects off Zacchaeus' bald head as he looks down at Jesus looking up at him. You can imagine the murmurings when people see both a savior and a tax collector dressed like them.

The murmurers didn't change Jesus' mind or Zacchaeus' mind. But Jesus changed Zacchaeus' heart. Zacchaeus found a new way to live, and Jesus sought and saved one more lost soul. Going out on a limb worked out for both of them.

(Above) John Mack Walker. Invitation to Zacchaeus. 1979. Walnut 30.5" x 12" x 12".

For thoughts on both Luke 19 and Habakkuk 1, click here.
For additional thoughts on Habakkuk 1, see Art&Faith Matters on Facebook.

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