Workshop Leaders’ Bible Study

This workshop leader’s Bible study is a historical, theological, and contextual introduction to the Good Samaritan rotation of Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest workshop rotation program.  It is intended to provide workshop leaders with:

·         A historical context for understanding the Bible story.

·         A Biblical context for reading and teaching the story.

·         The theological basis for the concepts to be taught to the children.

In Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest program, workshop leaders attend a one-hour Bible study two weeks prior to the start of a new rotation.  This Bible study helps workshop leaders understand how the concepts to be taught to the children are derived from the Bible story and how the lessons in the rotation fit together to reinforce the concepts.  It also provides an opportunity for the workshop leaders to grow in their own faith and understanding of the Bible.

It will be helpful to have a chalkboard, whiteboard, or flip chart for writing down questions or observations during the Bible study.

Note:  This is not a comprehensive study of the text, but only a few notes to help provide context and background for workshop leaders.  Consult titles cited in the reference list at the end of these notes for more information.


Scripture: Luke 19:1-10


Memory verse for this rotation:

            “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NRSV)


·          Jesus came to save the lost.

·          God loves and forgives us no matter what mistakes we have made.

·          When we are sorry, we want to make up for the things we have done wrong.

·          Jesus asks to live in our hearts.

·          When we choose to follow Jesus, God changes our whole life.

Prayer Concerns & Prayer

·         If workshop leaders do not know each other, give them an opportunity to introduce each other and say which workshop they will be leading.

·         Begin the Bible study by praying for God’s guidance as teachers begin a new rotation.

Reading the text

Ask a workshop leader to read the text aloud.  Since this rotation focuses on an entire chapter, you might want to divide the reading among three or four workshop leaders.

Ask the workshop leaders what questions came to mind as they heard the story or read it before the Bible study.  Write down any questions that arise and will need to be answered during the Bible study.


Historical, Theological, and Biblical Contexts

Background on Luke

            Luke is one of the Four Gospels.  The book itself does not identify the author but tradition traces authorship of both Luke and Acts to a physician who was a friend of Paul’s (Culpepper, 4).  Luke was probably a Gentile who knew Greek well and was quite familiar with the OT and Jewish practices (Culpepper, 9).  The writing of the Gospel is dated to the mid-eighties AD.



            Luke’s gospel is similar in form to ancient biographies.  It contains seven main sections as indicated below (Culpepper, 10).


Luke 1:1-4                   The Prologue

Luke 1:5-2:52              The Infancy Narrative

Luke 3:1-4:13              Preparation for the Ministry of Jesus

Luke 4:14-9:50            The Ministry in Galilee

Luke 9:51-19:27   The Journey to Jerusalem

Luke 19:28-21:38   The Ministry in Jerusalem

Luke 22:1-24:53   The Passion and Resurrection Narratives


Christological Emphases: Jesus’ many titles in Luke

“The Lukan Jesus is compassionate, a friend to outcasts.  Luke also relates Jesus to the history of Israel, the Scriptures, contemporary world history, and the unfolding of God’s redemptive purposes in human history.  Jesus is the Savior sent to seek and to save the lost” (Culpepper, 4).  Some of the many titles used for Jesus in Luke are:

  1. Son of God: Occurs six times.  Luke uses this title “indirectly to define Jesus’ relationship to God as Son to the Father, while treating it as a mystery known to the spiritual beings (Gabriel, the devil, and the demons) and a scandal to his adversaries” (Culpepper, 14).
  2. Prophet – One Greater Than the Prophets:  Jesus fulfills Moses and others but is greater.  This identity is tied to his relationship with John (Culpepper, 15).
  3. Lord: Occurs 103 times in Luke (Culpepper, 16).  This title “subtly infuses the Gospel with the church’s post-Easter confession of the risen Lord.  Luke affirms the confession of Jesus as Lord.  Even from his birth, Jesus is the Lord who would rise from the dead” (Culpepper, 17).
  4. Messiah or Christ:  similar to Son of God – Jesus’ identity as Messiah is treated by Luke as “privileged knowledge” that “is known to the narrator, the reader, and the angels and demons, but not to the other characters” (Culpepper, 17).  It means “the anointed one” or “the Christ” (Culpepper, 17).
  5. Son of Man:  occurs 25 times and with one exception “the term occurs only on the lips of Jesus in Luke” (Culpepper, 18).  Used when describing Jesus’ earthly ministry, in predicting his suffering and death, and in referring to his future coming in glory (Culpepper, 18).
  6. Savior:  Although significant to Luke, “the title occurs only twice in the Gospel, both times in the infancy narrative” however, “Jesus is repeatedly identified as God’s salvation or as the one who saves: (Culpepper, 19).



  1. God’s Redemptive Purposes:  “Luke sets the life of Jesus both in its historical context and in a theological context.  All that happens in the Gospel and in Acts is ultimately a part of God’s redemptive plan for the salvation of all humanity”  (Culpepper, 20).  Three related emphases are the sovereignty of God, the fulfillment of Scripture, and the scope of Jesus’ redemptive work (Culpepper, 20).
  2. Salvation for All Alike:  More than in any other gospel, in Luke Jesus makes it clear that salvation is for all people.  He reaches out to and includes the most outcast in society:  sinners, Samaritans, tax collectors, and women (Culpepper 21-22).  This inclusiveness challenges the established religious and societal order in a scandalous way.
  3. The Blessings of Poverty and the Dangers of Wealth:  “Luke refers to the poor and the rich more than does any other Gospel” (Culpepper, 25).  Jesus turns upside down the idea that the rich are blessed by God and maintains instead that God will “lift up the poor and cast out the rich” (Culpepper, 25).  In his version of the beatitudes Luke does not spiritualize them as Matthew does but “faces the economic realities of poverty” (Culpepper, 25).
  4. Table Fellowship:  In Luke, Jesus is often found eating with others (often outcasts) – “the meals in Luke become a ‘type scene’” repeated frequently with some differences (Culpepper, 26).  The connection of these meals to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is then easily made.  “The Table becomes the place where disputes over greatness are set aside and divisive barriers are overturned by means of voluntary servanthood (22:24-27)” (Culpepper, 26).  Jesus is present with us as risen Lord when we break bread together as a community (Culpepper, 26).
  5. The Role of a Disciple:  Jesus is our model for discipleship.  How we understand who Jesus the Christ is will determine how we understand who we should be as disciples.  In the Lukan narrative, Jesus is obedient to God in all things.  “He is empowered by the Spririt, he is compassionate toward the poor and oppressed, he heals and forgives, he prays, an he dies a model martyr’s death” (Culpepper, 27).
  6. The Importance of an Accurate Witness:  In the NT, the idea of witness is developed from meaning “an eyewitness, to one who can testify to the gospel, to one who dies for the sake of the gospel.”  Luke’s use of the term witness links the first two meanings (Culpepper, 30).  In Luke it is clear that the disciples as witnesses are “guided and empowered by the Spirit” (Culpepper, 30).  “The Gospel of Luke plays an important role in shaping the biblical doctrine of the Spirit in that it affirms that the Holy Spirit was active before the birth of Jesus, the Spirit rested upon Jesus during his ministry, and Jesus charged the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the Spirit had come upon them” (Culpepper, 30).

Luke 19: 1-10



            The story of Zacchaeus is found only in Luke, a gospel which is concerned with the outcast and unloved in society.  Zacchaeus is the last outcast that Jesus encounters before going into Jerusalem.  It is a story about salvation.  For Luke, being “saved” as we will see with Zacchaeus is not limited to a private conversion of one person’s soul.  Fred Craddock argues that Zacchaeus’ “salvation has personal, domestic, social, and economic dimensions . . .  the whole of life is affected by Jesus’ ministry, a foretaste of the complete reign of God” (220).

            It is helpful also to note connections or similarities to other stories in Luke.  For instance, the stories about Jesus and the rich man (Luke 18:18-30) and Jesus and Levi (5:27-32) have some similarities to the story of Zacchaeus.  Also Zacchaeus’ story follows directly after the story of the healing of the blind beggar.  There are several connecting threads as well in these two stories of “healing” (Culpepper, 357).

            Note the movement and sense of urgency conveyed in this story through all the active verbs: entered, passing through, ran ahead, climbed, hurry down.  Jesus is moving urgently toward Jerusalem and Zacchaeus is excited and overjoyed at seeing Jesus and then being honored by him (Culpepper, 357).

Interesting Words/Phrases/Ideas (using NRSV)

·        Zacchaeus means innocent or clean.

·        Tax collector:  Culpepper says that “In Luke, tax collectors function as the prototypical outcasts – those whom Jesus befriends” (356).  They contracted with Roman authorities to collect required taxes and paid the agreed upon amount in advance.  Anything they collected over the contracted amount was theirs to keep.  Abuse of the system and dishonesty was common.  As a result, the Jews hated the tax collectors (Culpepper, 356-357).

·        V.3-4 It was rather undignified for an adult male to run and climb a tree.  We see Zacchaeus’ strong desire to see and know Jesus.

·        V. 3-4 “A sycamore was a large evergreen tree with large, low branches [which] produced an inferior type of fig that was consumed by the poor” (Culpepper, 357).

·        V. 5 Jesus declares that he must stay with Zacchaeus – a divine imperative (Culpepper, 358).  It is part of the divine plan.  It also demonstrates Jesus’ pattern of ministering to those who are lost, outcast, unclean and “points to his true identity” (Culpepper, 359).

·        V. 8 Zacchaeus declares his intentions to make restitution to those he has hurt.  He offers to follow the strictest of the laws found in Exodus 22:1, Leviticus 5:16 and Numbers 5:7 (Culpepper, 358)

·        V.9 Jesus declares that salvation has come to Zacchaeus’ house including the family and servants as well as Zacchaeus himself – “the concept of household salvation is an important one for Luke” (Craddock, 220).  Jesus also confirms “the change that has occurred in Zacchaeus” – God has done a great and miraculous thing in raising up a son of Abraham out of the sinful tax collector (Culpepper, 359).

·        V. 10 “the lost” is a rare term that we see also in the parables of the sheep, coin and the prodigal son (Craddock, 220).  As discussed in the overview, the idea of salvation was not for Luke simply a private conversion but it affected the whole of life.  This verse reminds us of who Jesus is and why he is here.



How are the Gospel’s themes played out in these particular passages?

1.      God’s Redemptive Purposes:  in verse 5 Jesus says that he must come to Zacchaeus’ house as if it has already been decided.  Also in verse 10 Luke “reminds his readers that Jesus fulfills Moses and the prophets” (Culpepper, 359).

2.      Salvation for all alike:  Salvation is for even the most hated sinners – the tax collector!

3.      Blessings of Poverty and the Dangers of Wealth:  Luke surprises us hear by having a rich man who is saved and changes his life.

4.      Table Fellowship:  Jesus goes to stay at Zacchaeus’ house.

5.      The Role of a Disciple:  Note Zacchaeus’ desire to see Jesus, his hospitality towards him and his voluntary restitution.  Zacchaeus’ response “is itself evidence of the radicality of grace and the power of Jesus’ good news to him (Craddock, 219).

Workshop Summaries

Ask each workshop leader to summarize his or her workshop.  As they do so, point out the concepts that each lesson reinforces.  Ask workshop leaders if they have any questions about the logistics or practical application of their lesson.


Jesus came to save the lost.

God loves and forgives us no matter what mistakes we have made.

When we are sorry, we want to make up for the things we have done wrong.

Jesus asks to live in our hearts.

When we choose to follow Jesus, God changes our whole life.


Review Questions

Return to the questions that were gathered at the start of the hour.  Have they been answered?  Are there any further questions about the Bible story or about the lessons?

Closing Prayer

Close the Bible study with a prayer.


Craddock, Fred. “Luke.” Interpretation. James Luther Mays, et al. editors. (Louisville, John Knox Press, 1990). (pp. 1-12, 21-37).

Culpepper, R. Alan. “Luke.” The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. IX. Leander Keck, et al. editors. (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1995). (pp.3-37 and 49-67).