Reading Luke and Acts in 2020
Week 19 | Luke 19
Luke 19 Reflections and Questions
By Rev. Jennifer Wyant
Luke 19 marks the end of a long journey for Jesus. Since the end of chapter 9, he has been slowly making his way through Palestinian countryside, teaching his disciples, healing those who needed him, confronting those in his way, all with the end goal of Jerusalem in mind. The route that Jesus takes to Jerusalem is not a straight path. He takes a lot of detours. He does not seem in a hurry even though he is determined to get there. One of the last stops on this winding journey is Jericho, where Luke 19:1 says he is merely passing through. But then he stops in front of a tree and sees a man named Zacchaeus and decides to stay for dinner.
Jerusalem will still be there tomorrow.
When I first read Luke 19 for this devotional, I thought it was going to be published on the second day of General Conference. My plan was to reflect on how Jesus wept over Jerusalem and how it was the end of something, but also the beginning of something new. And how even in the midst of all that, the same Spirit of God was going to be at work. But we know now that the journey to this upcoming General Conference is going to be a bit longer. It has already felt like a long winding road, but now there are many months left to go. And then I thought this devotional would appear near the end of our journey with online church and we would be about to transition back to our “normal” services. But it turns out we have awhile to go with that as well as we work to keep everyone safe. In all honesty, both of those things are hard. All of this is hard. None of this is happening according to plan.
But maybe Jerusalem will still be there tomorrow.
And maybe right now, we are called to the work of looking up into trees. Of finding salvation in our own homes. Of realizing like that Kingdom of God is not going to appear according to our timing (Luke 19:27). And it’s a long, winding journey to be sure, but it’s nothing Jesus hasn’t done before.
Diving Deeper into Luke 19:
Rev. Dr. Jennifer S. Wyant is associate pastor of Birmingham UMC in Alpharetta.
- In Luke 19:4, we are told that Zaccheaus runs ahead of the crowd and climbs a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. Right now we are certainly not encountering any crowds of people, but what things might be crowding out your view of Jesus (anxiety, stress, work, monotony, etc)? And what tree do you need to climb so that you can see him better when he comes?
- In Luke 19:9, Jesus tells the grumbling crowds that today salvation has come to Zacchaeus’s house. Where have you seen salvation in your house since we began sheltering in place?
- Moving toward the end of the chapter, in Luke 19:41, Jesus looks over the city of Jerusalem and weeps for it. Right now, our communities are suffering in many ways ( economic, physical, emotional). What does it look for you to lament this suffering? How are you letting yourself grieve during this time?