July 23 - Luke 19:1-9

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be a guest of a sinner.’”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

Jesus showed up in Jericho and noticed a man hanging out in the branches of a sycamore tree.  He called the man by name and told him that he had to stay at that man’s house for the day.

Now, Zacchaeus was very wealthy.  He probably could have paid for a front row seat at any event and he could have bribed the people around him to make room so that he could see Jesus, but being a little more than resourceful, he figured out which path Jesus would take through town, ran on ahead and climbed a tree so he could have full view of the events.

When Jesus spoke to him, his heart opened wider than it had ever been before.  He welcomed Jesus to his home and into his life, something which many of those who were muttering refused to do.  Jesus had come to be the salvation of Israel and all around, he was rejected by those who were afraid of the change he could bring to them.

But not this man. Zacchaeus was open and welcoming to the Savior, but also to change.  He transformed his behavior instantly, choosing to donate to the poor and repay those whom he might have cheated.

It might seem to us that Zacchaeus sought Jesus out, but he did nothing more than to respond to the man who knew him by name. When Jesus offered to come to his home, Zacchaeus responded with a fervent welcome.

Salvation came through Jesus Christ.