He Wanted To Change—Day 4
Luke 19: 1-10
“When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”
Zacchaeus was not just a tax collector, but he was the chief tax collector. Moreover, he was the chief tax collector in one of the most prosperous areas, Jericho.
Taxes were collected at three places inland: Capernaum, Jericho, and Jerusalem. Because of where Jericho was located, at the Jordan River, and because of the richness of its palm forests and balsam groves—much capital circulated in the area.
As the chief tax collector, Zacchaeus oversaw the tax firm, and his cohorts extorted money from the people under his supervision. Zacchaeus made a great deal of money being dirty while steadily becoming unpopular among the citizens.
Therefore, Zacchaeus’ lifestyle appeared to make him an unlikely candidate for the kingdom of Heaven. Why would God be good to him when he had not been good to others?
Zacchaeus was a bad man and despite who he was or what he had done, he wanted to see Jesus. Moreover, Jesus wanted to spend time with him.
Think about the grace that undergirds this statement: We are filthy, and we know it, yet Christ wants us?
Question: Do we help others who are dirty to see Christ or do we allow their sins to cause us to be prejudiced as we assume Christ is not interested in them?
The devotional passage says, the crowd had a problem with Jesus visiting with Zacchaeus, but the one thing the crowd left out of the equation was that Zacchaeus wanted to change.
Still, Zacchaeus was willing to humiliate himself as a man of his status. He ran to climb a sycamore tree—a tree that produced fruit that poor people ate—because he wanted to see Jesus.
Jesus’response to Zacchaeus’ desire to see him was to invite Himself to Zacchaeus’ house.
Do we see the message? Zacchaeus had to be willing to humble himself to see Jesus before Jesus would see him. After Zacchaeus had humbled himself, Jesus exalted Zacchaeus.
Question: How often do we attempt to be exalted before being humbled?
Oh how easily we forget the humility that must accompany our entering into the presence of the Lord. There is something about humility that not only keeps our heart right toward God, but also helps us to see those without God the right way.
If the Lord can and wanted to save us, then He can and wants to save others. So, let us be careful how we treat those we do not like and those who are unlovable.
Lord, thank you for the grace and mercy You have extended to us, help us to demonstrate that same gift which You have shown us, Amen.