One of the more surprising features of Jesus’ ministry was his willingness to have personal encounters with people. And one of the most unique features of the Gospels is the unexpected stories that detail Jesus’ regular interruptions. These “interruptions” came in the form of people from all walks of life—young, old, rich, poor, sick, healthy, riddled with sin, or saddled by self-righteousness.
Encounters with Jesus explores the interactions between Jesus and the everyday people of the ancient biblical world. Whether they were part of the chosen twelve, or were outsiders desperate for Jesus’ healing touch, Gary Burge revisits Jesus’ daily interruptions in antiquity, reaching a startling conclusion that applies to you today: all are welcome.
“What is unique about the Gospels are the unexpected stories that detail Jesus’ regular interruptions. Jesus took time for people who generally assumed that they were invisible. And what remains from those interruptions are stories that show the remarkable extent to which Jesus affected individual lives.” (Page 17)
“The expectations and roles of everyone are clear: Jesus will be met by the elders, he will be escorted to a villa, and there he will be welcomed with foot washing, food, beverages, congenial conversation, and rest. These are honoring gestures, and they contribute to the honor not only of the elders but the entire community. The crowds of people lining Jericho’s main road understand their place and the role of the elders to whom Jesus is walking.” (Page 62)
“The sense is: Zacchaeus cannot see Jesus and his troupe because he is despised, and the crowds make no room for him.” (Page 65)
“Zacchaeus lived in Jericho and was its ‘chief tax collector’ (Gk. architelônçs). He owned the tax district and had subordinates who worked for him collecting money. We can assume that Zacchaeus was wealthy, we know he was a Jew (Luke 19:9), and we know that he did not enjoy the respect of the community (19:7). He worked closely with the army that occupied the land, and because he had regular contact with Gentiles through the Roman tax network, he was considered unclean. Tax collectors rarely went near the temple for worship.” (Page 64)
“Jesus’ culture was deeply concerned with honor and shame. Life was orchestrated around preserving honor and avoiding shame at all costs. This was how social status was measured. In this case, the Jericho crowd believes that Jesus has shamed either the town or its elders. He has spurned established protocols for honoring. In order to regain honor, the crowd impulsively shames Jesus in return. Their disparaging remarks—loud enough for everyone to hear—are aimed to damage Jesus and Zacchaeus while restoring the elders’ stature.” (Pages 66–67)
Scripture references are linked directly to Greek and Hebrew texts, along with the English Bible translations of your choice. For any word in any language, you can double-click on that word and your digital library will automatically search your lexicons for a match. That gives you unprecedented access to linguistic data, along with all the tools you need for exegesis and interpretation.