Posted by: Ed | October 29, 2008

MORE ON THE ZACCHEUS MASTERPIECE (and Sacred Space is dinero!)

In the message this week I used a metaphor that I heard from John Burke, Pastor of Gateway Church in Austin. It was of the a masterpiece found in the mud.

People made in the image of God & stuck in sin are like masterpieces stuck in mud. One of the main points of contention between Jesus & the Pharisees was that Jesus saw the masterpiece while the Pharisees only saw the mud. Take a minute & run through the Bible with this metaphor in mind & tell me if this isn’t one of the main components of not only the gospels but of the whole story of God & Us.

I cited 3 examples from the gospels (Luke mostly) one of which was the chief tax collector Zaccheus (Luke 19).

Today in my prayer time I needed a change of pace so I decided to do something I haven’t done in a while & go through the little daily contemplative prayer exercise at Sacred Space. Here’s how today’s reading opened up.

Zacchaeus was a small man, used to being despised and spat upon, feeling he deserved it, for his greed and extortions as a tax-collector. His motives were mixed in seeking Jesus. (Luke 19:1-10) He wanted just to see him, not to engage with him. But that faint beginning of desire was enough. It met a greater desire in Jesus to meet him, call him by name, ‘Zaccchaeus make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’
 In my prayer, Lord, I am often like Zacchaeus, making huge efforts to catch a glimpse of you, only to find that you are waiting for me, calling me by name, inviting yourself into my heart. Once I am with you, I find happiness in putting things right, ordering my life, finding the springs of generosity and justice that have been stifled by old habits.

Wow! Don’t you love this!

One time this week, take 10 minutes or so & go through Sacred Space. Click here often!



  1. Thanks for reminding me about Sacred Space. I was going there pretty regularly for awhile after the last time you mentioned it but forgot about it up until today. I’m hoping I can incorporate it into a daily routine. Enjoyed the message much more this week than last week. If you can believe this, WHILE we were at Journey and you were talking about what how are tongues can be sharp I cut my wife with a comment that would have been better left unsaid. A practical lesson that I hope I can learn from. Definitely one of the things I struggle with and have to ask God to help me with daily. It’s been a great series so far. Just no more practical lessons, lol.

  2. Hi Ed, Here’s what I prayed in my journal on 10/27/08: ” Somehow the story of Zaccheus fits into today’s problems and I pray that we will [all] come down from our lofty places immediately. We sense God’s call and glory passing by and we long inwardly just to catch a glimpse before/lest we die in our sins. Then He calls us down and wants to make our heart good and noble (HIS). Imagine the surprise Zaccheus felt and experienced. With Jesus there is forgiveness and restoration from all that we have done, taken and/or not even earned. We can return, it’s not too late… even though our heart may say otherwise. May we all see and hear the PERHAPS moment we are in and Seek Him and Live (Amos 5:6;14-15)

    Seek the LORD and Live.

    Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.

    Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.

    May our love and gratitude grow a crop of righteousness not our own. A crop we can give away to impact others… our riches in Christ, our love and gratitude for all Christ has done for us, and our support and devotion to lift up the cause of Christ in our generation that will in turn, turn the next generation to PUSH onward UNTIL revival and awakening engulf the U.S.A.

    Truly God is generous God who longs to be gracious and forgiving! Steve

  3. My tank was almost on empty. Thank you for the spiritual fuel.

  4. Ed,

    Read your post on Jeremiah a few days ago and meant to comment but got distracted before I could actually do it. I just wanted to say what a good reminder it was for us – to be “intolerant” of worthless idols and vigilant against “turning away from the living God.” Specifically, you wrote …

    “The prophets were not very tolerant of idolatry. They implored Israel to turn from the ‘worthless idols’; they mocked, berated, cajoled them for the inherent foolishness of turning away from the living God. They stood horrified as the people turned from God, maker of all, to something they could make with their own hands.”

    So, why, you ask, am I commenting on this post here instead of there? Having never heard of the Sacred Space site you so highly recommended, I took your advice and went to check it out. The first prayer I clicked on “Prayer for Peace on Earth” took me through 9 prayers, which included Buddhist, Muslim, Jain, Sikh, Hindu, and Baha’i prayers.

    These weren’t prayers FOR people in these false religions to turn from their worthless idols to the one true God – they were prayers FROM these religions for us to share in.

    From the Buddhist: “Let us pray that all living beings realise that they are all brothers and sisters.”

    From the Sikh: “Let there be good in all humanity.”

    From the Hindu: “May all beneficent beings bring peace to us.”

    What is up, my friend? How does this square with the words of Jeremiah … or anything else in Scripture?

  5. Emily,
    Great comment & question!
    SS is run by a Jesuit community in Ireland & I would not want to be perceived as agreeing with every point of their theology.
    That being said, I think there is a a distinction to be drawn b/t intolerance for the idolatry that I see in my own life & in the lives of those who have agreed to seek the only true God through Jesus Christ and those outside of Christ. Paul addressed the idolatrous Greeks differently, with more compassion – even finding points of contact within their current spiritual experience – than the prophets did among the people of God.
    NOW let me be quick to add that he, like Jeremiah called them to “turn from these vain things” and Jeremiah called a Babylonian God (who had been adopted by Israel) gillulim. But this didn’t stop him (Paul) from seeing the imago dei being expressed in the spirituality of these pagan Greeks.
    I think what SS was doing was affirming our common humanness as made imago dei (image of God). We CAN learn & gain insight from other faiths.
    I once said in a message titled “WHY ALL THE RELIGIONS” (it was in a series called “WHY:) – that all religions are an EXPRESSION both of the irrepressible spiritual nature God had designed us with AND of our REBELLION against this God. They are an attempt to control & manipulate God, not serve & love Him.
    This is one of the reasons that most Christ followers INSIST on that cliche that we are doing RELATIONSHIP not religion. Even “Christianity” when it becomes religion becomes an attempt to manage the unmanagable God.
    Like everything else on the web, Sacred Space should be used w/ some discernment. This blog place where you can believe EVERY WORD without thinking :-)

    Hope this helps,


  6. Hey Bro-
    Just good to see that you are faithfully still sojourning with the Savior… “Journey” is a good way to define discipleship because either you are willing to become a student and learn from the “shipwrecks and snakebites” along the way- or you pull a Jonah and spend the rest of your life on a prodigal pilgrimage…
    Dan and I both send our best-

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