I've been doing a series of short segment discussions for Cornerstone Television Network about Jesus' economic teaching. Often politicians and even ministers who are hostile to what goes on the marketplace have used Jesus' words as weapons against the people (who are the vast majority of us) who work in the marketplace.
But in truth, Jesus' pattern of confrontation over wealth is that he is critical of those who gain their wealth via the use of political connections and coercive power. For example, Jesus does not declare Zacchaeus to be forgiven until after his pledge to give full restitution to those who he had defrauded.
Is there a Biblical reason to believe that Zacchaeus had indeed defrauded people? Yes, actually, there is a very strong reason to believe this. He, like the rich young ruler, and like the moneychangers, had been a man of the state, whose ability to be wealthy was not based on the productive process of serving people freely in the marketplace, but instead on the extractive process of coercing money from people in the public sphere.
You can view the segment from CTV below.
Be sure to let me know what you think, and please share with anyone you think might benefit from a deeper understanding of Jesus' often misunderstood economic message.