Monday, July 26, 2010

Zakkai the Giant

Eugene had an excellent lesson last night about the "giant" in Luke 19. The man named Zakkai (Zacchaeus to us Westerners), was of short stature, but a "giant" in his faith, his desire, and in his humility.
I love that Eugene gave Zakkai the credit he deserves because I've heard plenty of people bash Zakkai for being a dishonest tax collector.
The text, as Eugene correctly noted, doesn't say that Zakkai was dishonest. Verse 8 says, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor: and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold." (emphasis mine)
Zakkai said "if" I have taken, not "because" I have taken... But there is something very deep in what Zakkai is saying here.
Zakkai's repentance was complete, as was his knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures. What was the penalty for theft in the Torah?
When a person confessed to fraud and made voluntary restitution the Torah required him to return the original amount plus 20% (Leviticus 6:1-4). An apprehended thief had to pay the victim double (Exodus 22:4, 7). But a man stealing what was essential (such as a sheep) and showing no pity was required to pay back fourfold (Exodus 22:1).
In the parable Nathan told to David in 2 Samuel 12, David, in his anger, stated that the rich man who coldly put to death the lone family sheep of his neighbor was to repay that debt fourfold because he had no pity.
Now had Zakkai been cold and cruel in his work for the Romans? Who knows? His sins aren't laid out for us in the Text, but he called down the full penalty on himself if anyone had anything against him. His sins are hidden, his repentance is center stage.
Jesus gives a clever word play on His name when he says in verse 9 "Today salvation has come to this house..." because the Hebrew word yeshu'ah means "salvation" and is the proper Hebraic rendering of Jesus' name. Yeshua/Salvation had literally come to Zakkai's house!
Speaking of Hebrew names...the name Zakkai means "innocent." Salvation indeed!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dylan and I are back from Camalu, Mexico. We had a great mission trip as we helped the Camalu Church of Christ in several ways. Dylan and I were primarily construction guys as we helped extend a water line and placed about 20 yards of fresh concrete on the church grounds. The concrete is very helpful because of the heavy rains every March. The ground around the church building washes away during the rains and the concrete helps to keep the mud out of the buildings.

Other members of our group included our physician, Ty, who saw over 200 patients and gave away over 20,000 vitamins and prescription medicine; Dr. Terry Conner who gave over 200 eye exams and gave away several pairs of prescription eyeglasses to needy people; and Rudy Thompson who provided a joint/pain clinic and taught how to work without straining your back or your joints.

Several members of our group were involved in benevolence work where they gave out countless clothing items and food to the local families. The food bags alone contained enough food for 1 month for each family.

Of course, the trip was not all work and no play. Dylan and the other young men enjoyed playing soccer with the local boys. They even enjoyed the "capuchie," which is Spanish for "piggy-back ride."

It was a great trip and we are looking forward to going back next year.

We could not have made this trip without your generous financial support and we pray that the kingdom of God was expanded through our combined efforts.

Thanks again and God bless.

To His Glory! Justin King and Dylan Barnes