Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Luke 19:1-10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
Of course, when I read this story of Zacchaeus, I always think about Vacation Bible School and singing the song about Zacchaeus. I’m sure at least every Baby Boomer does. I couldn’t resonate with Zacchaeus’ stature because I was always the tallest or second tallest (me and Fontaine Collins) and always on the back row for pictures. As I reflected on our singing as I wrote this, I just realized that we sang as if Jesus was mad at Zacchaeus—shaking our finger and saying sternly “You come down.”
However, as I read the story Jesus seems excited and expectant: “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” And Zacchaeus was just as excited. Imagine Jesus calling a chief tax collector down from a tree just to invite himself over. He was rich and had a good job and he was singled out again for something special. At least that what the crowd thought and so they grumbled. No one likes being looked over.
But it seems that just as Zacchaeus came face to face with Jesus, he also came face to face with his sin. He did a 180 figuratively and confessed his sins literally—I’ve been selfish so I’m giving half of what I own; I might have defrauded people so I will pay them back not only what I stole but four times as much. Then the crowd was listening closely for they were bound to be some of the people that would be coming into some cash later.
And then the real reason Zacchaeus was singled out that day: “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” After Jesus said this, the crowd was bound to be glad they had not been singled out. Jesus always has a plan in mind and if we will listen with an open mind and heart, we will surely hear it.
God of the future never let us assume that you don’t know the future and have a plan for this world. Forgive us when we fail you and hurt others. Take us back into your fold when we confess our sins. Let us know for sure that salvation has come to our house. Amen.
Go with God!