I’m so old I can still remember when all the important people were scared of blogs.
This is from January 25, 2012, “Mark Driscoll is a wee little man“:
Jesus’ response to the sinner was to seek him out. Jesus walked up to his tree and informed him that he needed to set 13 extra plates for an unexpected party.
Jesus did not present Zacchaeus with a detailed contract outlining the steps he would need to take, the submission to authority he would have to subject himself to, if he was to be saved. “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” That’s all he said.
And for Zacchaeus, that was enough. Once Jesus showed him that salvation and restoration were possible that was all he needed to hear. He repented and made things right as joyously as Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning.
What if he hadn’t? Zacchaeus’ sin had made him a very wealthy man and his salvation meant an end to all that. What if all that wealth had too much of a hold on him and he had been unable to repent?
I suspect the meal Jesus shared at his house would have been much less joyous and far more uncomfortable all around. And perhaps Jesus would have left it at that, allowing Zacchaeus, like a different rich man in the Gospels, to go “away grieving, for he had many possessions.” Or perhaps Jesus would have stayed another day, and another, and another. Perhaps he would have been like that old preacher in Clarence Jordan’s story: “Once I found out what bothered them people, I preached the same message every Sunday …”
This 2012 post is also notable because it had me reaching for an exemplar of wretched sinfulness who embodied both sexual incontinence and predatory economic exploitation, and so I used the name that everyone in America had — for decades — recognized as signifying both of those things: “That, I think, would be an appropriate response if, say, an unrepentant Donald Trump were suddenly to begin visiting one’s church. Preach the same message every Sunday until he repents or runs away.”
(And for the record, back in 2012, TFG was still telling people he was a Democrat. There was nothing remotely partisan about finding Trump repulsive in 2012. Nor is there now.)
And here’s the song, for those who didn’t grow up in white evangelical Sunday school. Good story, annoying song.