I love the story of Zacchaeus. Here was a man who wasn’t as tall as everyone else. He wanted to get a glimpse of this Jesus that everyone was talking about. He couldn’t see over anyone and the crowd around Jesus was huge. He decided to run down the road where Jesus was heading and to climb up a tree so he could see over everyone. When Jesus got there, he looked up, called him by name and told him He wanted to go to his house. The people around Jesus grumbled that Jesus had gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner.
There are a lot of great things in this story that too often we read for our children, but rarely do we look into what’s actually happening. First, you have a notorious sinner trying to just get a glimpse of Jesus. He was desperately trying to see Him. How many of our friends, who are notoriously sinners, can see Jesus in our lives? Have we given them a reason to look? Zacchaeus was determined just to see Jesus and went out of his way to get in His way.
When Jesus got to where Zacchaeus was, he noticed him and called him by name. Each one of us who are Christians were called by name at some point in our lives and salvation was extended to us. We may or may not have been as notorious in our sin as Zacchaeus was, but that doesn’t matter to Him. What matters to Him is if you are willing to accept His invitation to be your guest today.
When Jesus entered the home of Zacchaeus as his guest, He changed who Zacchaeus was. Jesus didn’t demand that he change, Zacchaeus realized that he needed to change. He offered to give away half of what he had and to repay those he stole from. Jesus’ response was that salvation had come to that house. It wasn’t because he decided to give away his belongings, but because he accepted the invitation to let Jesus in. Jesus doesn’t care how bad of a sinner we are, He only cares that we invite Him in when He asks.
While Jesus was inside with Zacchaeus, the people who had been following Jesus all the while began to get upset. “Can you believe He went into the home of that sinner,” they asked each other. I find it difficult to find more than one or two instances when Jesus went to the home of someone who wasn’t a notorious sinner. Even in those times, it was interrupted by a notorious sinner that Jesus had compassion on. Jesus came for the sinner. It doesn’t matter how bad a person is or how good a person is without Him. He wants to come into your life and make it better.
Jesus didn’t care what others thought about going into the homes or hanging out with sinners. What He cared about was their soul. We are not so different than those who grumbled. When we see people trying to reach the lost differently than we would or having church somewhere without a steeple, we claim they must not be true believers. The truth is that we as the body need to reflect Christ in all we do so that when the world is looking for Jesus they can find Him, even if it means hanging out with notorious sinners. That’s what Jesus did to reach them.
Here is a prayer you can pray written by Michael Moak
Jesus, today I’m reminded of all the brokenness in our world and the broken people that continue to struggle to find true meaning and purpose in life.
However, I also realize that through Your mercy I have found complete healing and freedom from the brokenness of my our sin. So, why do I struggle so hard with giving away that which you so freely gave me?
I don’t want to be selfish or stingy with your love, grace, and mercy. Actually I want to have the spiritual courage to share my testimony with the dirtiest and most hard core sinners. So, today Lord help me to pause before judging my neighbor to consider their need for spiritual healing and hope. Bring me face to face with someone who is truly broken, no matter how uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone it could take and make me. I want to represent you to the Zacchaeus’ of this world who just need someone to recognize their broken and battered heart inside a shell of false self-confidence and pride. I ask you to give me divine opportunities today to share YOU with this broken world. Amen.