“Stereotypes”


BIBLE READING: Luke 18. 15-43, 19. 1-48
                A Stereotype is “a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment” (Mirriam Webster).  Being stereotyped is not just something that something that happened in modern times, it was also something that was very prevalent in the first century as well.  One of the most common stereotypes of the first century was that all tax-collectors were greedy, selfish money hoarders.  Although that may have been common by members of that particular group, we do not find that to be the case with Zacchaeus.  What we find in Zacchaeus is the exact opposite of that stereotype, notice what is said of him. “And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold."(Luke 19:8).  Now, one might assume that this behavior of Zacchaeus only happened when he had encountered Jesus; but notice the words “give” and “restore”.  In both cases, the present tense is used indicating that this was something that Zacchaeus had already been doing.   Maybe that is why he was prompted to climb that sycamore tree to make sure he saw Jesus.  Those Jews that saw Jesus going to eat with Zacchaeus did did have one stereotype correct, Jesus was going to eats with sinners.  The only stereotype that is completely correct is that we are all sinners.  Let’s make sure we follow the example of God when he selected David as King; don’t just look on outward appearances, but rather we look upon the heart.

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