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Wednesday, December 21 2016
The Messiah And The Publicans
"I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance"
The English-language word "public" originated from a Latin word, publicus, that was used to refer to the general population. From that came publicanus, a term that was used by the imperial Romans for people of the occupied nations who worked as agents for the Romans, including as tax collectors. Hence the English word "publican."
The publicans were generally hated, not merely because they were tax collectors (honest, responsible citizens don't mind paying their fair taxes), but because the publicans were generally viewed as traitors to their own nation. Moreover, they were often corrupt and dishonest, with bribes and extortion. In the time of the Messiah, "publican" was quite commonly used in the tone a profanity.
Many of the most successful publicans became dishonestly wealthy (the Fact Finder question about mammon and lucre) - which made them a prime target for the Messiah's preaching of repentance ("I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance"). Among them was Zacchaeus, a publican at Jericho who repented and became a follower of the Messiah.
"19:1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 19:2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 19:3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 19:4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
Other publicans also repented and became followers of the Way (see Where Believers Were First Called Christians) - much to the chagrin of the unrepentant and hypocritical religious authorities who criticized the Messiah for even talking to publicans.
"3:12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
Perhaps the most famous repentant publican of all was Levi, also known as Matthew, who became one of the twelve apostles and the writer of the Gospel book of Matthew. Notice that Matthew had also been a very successful agent of the Romans before his conversion: "And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them" (note that Matthew refers to himself as Matthew, while Luke records him as Levi; dual names were not unusual e.g. Peter was also known as Simon).
"9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
This Day In History, December 21
640: Muslim forces captured the "Babylon Fortress" in the Nile Delta after a seven-month siege (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).
1140: Conrad III of Germany (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation) besieged Weinsberg.
1872: The HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sailed from Portsmouth, England on the Challenger expedition.
1883: The Royal Canadian Dragoons and the Royal Canadian Regiment, the first permanent force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army, were established.
1898: French scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium.
1908: Klara Hitler, mother of Adolf Hitler, died of breast cancer at age 47. It was after his mother's death that Adolf Hitler began his homeless hobo years in Vienna, Austria (Hitler was born in Austria, not Germany) where he developed his warped psychological basis of his supposed "socialist" (NAZI is the abbreviation for his National Socialist party) and anti-Semitic (his resentment toward Jewish shopkeepers, while he was living on the street and in homeless shelters) attitudes (see Why Does Satan Love Liars? and Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion; also The Terrorist Attack That Enabled Hitler To Become A Dictator and Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader?).
1910: 2,500,000 plague victims were reported in the An-Hul province of China (see also Leviticus 13: Bacteria).
1946: An earthquake and tidal wave killed hundreds of people in Japan.
1948: Ireland declared itself a republic, rather than a dominion, and withdrew from the British Commonwealth.
1958: Charles de Gaulle was elected the first President of the France's Fifth Republic.
1967: Louis Washkansky, the first human heart transplant patient, died 18 days after the operation by Dr. Christiaan Barnard in Cape Town, South Africa.
1975: Terrorists of the "Arm of the Arab Revolution" led by "Carlos the Jackal" raided the OPEC headquarters in Vienna and held 11 oil ministers and their staff hostage.
1986: 500,000 Chinese students gathered in Shanghai's People's Square calling for democratic reforms, including freedom of the press.
1988: Pan-Am flight 103, a Boeing 747, was blown up by on-board bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland. 259 passengers and crew, and 11 other people on the ground, were killed by the Muslim terrorist bomb.
1991: 11 of the former 15 Soviet republics proclaimed the birth of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the death of the USSR. Of the other 4 former Soviet republics, 3 Baltic states were already independent and Georgia chose not to join the Commonwealth.
1993: President Boris Yeltsin abruptly abolished the former KGB security police, saying the huge force Russian citizens feared for decades was "incapable of being reformed."