THE TREE OF SALVATION

Bible In One Year-Day 40 (Sunday, February 09, 2014)

Commentary: Luke19-21. Zacchaeus was rich and the ruler in Lk18:18 was comfortable. The ruler, by virtue of his position, lived by example; knew and lived by the Ten Commandments from youth. Most of us actually are Christians because we grew up to be one. Meanwhile, the experience of the joy of salvation is not there. This was the case of Lot, who grew up after his uncle’s principle of life but never heard God spoke to him once. Something was missing in the ruler’s life; he was thirsty for something. He came to Jesus because of this missing thing. Despite his obedience to the Ten Commandments, his soul was still craving for a treasure. Commandments are guides; they don’t give the joy of salvation. He wanted the Kingdom of God which is the Holy Spirit in him to fill the vacuum.

2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Obedience to the Ten Commandments only create false satisfaction of righteousness, whereas salvation is not by works of righteousness but by Jesus’ grace alone. For this man to call Jesus “good” was based on his perception or concept of “good” which is ‘living by the law’. For one to be regarded as a ruler in their time, it means the person must be very religious. Religious living only brings frustration; no power for righteous living. Looking into the book of Luke critically, you will realize that emphasis is so much on care for the poor and warnings against riches. To be rich is not a sin but putting trust in riches idolizes the wealth and this is what constitutes sin. This was the problem of this ruler; his wealth has become a god in his heart and the law has become his righteousness. Hear what Apostle Paul said:

Philippians 3:9 “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”

The only thing that leads into life everlasting is LOVE. The ruler lacked love and therefore could not be led to feed or care for the poor. Lazarus was a poor man, the rich man ignored him and he landed in hell fire. Lk14:13 tells us how to feast; the poor should be the paramount.

Luke 14:12-14 “Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”

God is not taking the care for the poor lightly. The ruler lived a righteous life according to the law but Zacchaeus lived a sinful life. They both listened to Jesus’ teachings. The heart of Zacchaeus was touched while that of the ruler was not because of his wealth. The wealth became god in his heart.  Zacchaeus wanted to have a look at Jesus but his problem was his height. He, however, did not allow that to hinder him and so opted for the tree. He never knew that was the tree of his salvation. Every help you could get to receive salvation should be sought for. When you look at the reactions of Zacchaeus you will see the outcome of the power of salvation. He repented, divided his wealth for the poor and he considered restitution. Genuine salvation causes these three to happen; REPENTANCE, LOVE (to give, hoping for nothing in return, Lk6:35) and RESTITUTION. Isaiah58:7 says that when you fast, you must share out your food to the poor. The poor are not only those physically challenged but those who find it difficult to survive; who have no hope on anything but God. Praying for the sick is caring for the poor. Many are hungry, and some are not able to go to school for financial reasons, all these need your help. I am not talking of your uncle’s son or Aunt’s daughter but your neighbor who has no blood relation with you. Lk16:16-17, the law will not work out salvation; only by pressing into the kingdom of God that we receive salvation. Zacchaeus pressed by climbing the tree, he experienced the power of salvation. Our righteousness is nothing before God, only God’s righteousness matters to Him. When the Holy Spirit comes into you, He brings the righteousness of God into you; this is grace, beloved. This is the righteousness that qualifies you for eternal life which the ruler was seeking for. Once the Holy Spirit comes into you, He introduces God’s nature in you and agape LOVE is the first experience you have and to love another becomes so easy; you hate evil and do good naturally.

Acts 10:38 “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the demon; for God was with him.”

In chapter20 of Lk, Jesus introduced Himself in parables and from the book of Psalms. However, Lk21 is the prediction of the end time. Those horrible things will surely come to pass and some of them are still happening now. He further gave His advice for the end time in Lk21:32-36; WATCH! WATCH!! WATCH!!! Next mile on the trip is Lk22-24. Keep the fire burning and alive. Spread the gospel of JESUS!!!

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