Now that you've read the Scripture, do you still have the same thoughts about Zacchaeus or has something changed? If so, what changed and why? Contemplate those questions a bit and maybe even journal about them. A few more things to consider might be, who was Zacchaeus, what feelings do or would you have if he was a living breathing person in your world right now? Can you think of any modern day Zacchaeus'? What arises in you as you think of those? Is it positive or negative? Could you have both positive and negative feelings about that person? What would lead to those negative feelings? What would lead to the positive ones? Who do you know that has changed yet you struggle to see them as the new person they are in Christ? What do you suppose those struggles are really about? Spend some time in prayer inviting the Lord to work within you, allowing His Spirit to transform you, love you and lead you.
Nicodemus was searching and exploring this new way of faith that had come into his world. He was a highly educated Jew who was well versed on matters of the law and his culture. As Jesus came on the scene, Nicodemus became more curious about who Jesus was and what this new way of life that he talked about was like. As he explored Jesus and His teachings, he came with an open mind, eager to learn more. He was exploring the life that Jesus offered.
In this pericope, we learn that many people decide to leave Jesus. Jesus had just spent time feeding the crowds and then teaching on the True Bread from Heaven. He fed their bellies then fed their spirits with Truth. As he taught about spiritual truths and the work of God many who had begun following him decided that His teaching was too hard to accept, and so they left. Why do you suppose John chose to put this story in his account of the Gospel? What can you personally learn from this portion of Scripture? What can the Church learn? How might we utilize this information as we move forward on our discipleship journey?
As we move forward as a church, it is important that we too take the time necessary to establish a strong foundation on which to build thriving, sustainable ministries that will be effective for reaching the lost and for growing strong, world changing disciples for Jesus Christ. The work we will be doing with John Randall is part of building that foundation. I am so excited for what God will do and have seen visions of how God will use this church in vital ways in this community. Brothers and sisters in Jesus, for such a time as this, Jesus is doing a new thing. He has a plan and this is just the beginning. God is always pursuing you, always loving you, always with you. Let his love come over you, enjoy His love, let it awaken in you a passionate love for Him, and let it set your heart on fire. God is good, all the time. All the time.....
I'm intrigued by Jesus' response to those who were following him. As you read that, what do you notice? There were a couple invitations given in this pericope. What were they? What was the context in which they were given? How were they responded to and what happened as a result? This Sunday we'll look at these things and at what we can glean from them for our own journey of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.