Tuesday 23rd April
“…. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will give half of my wealth to the poor, Lord and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’. Jesus responded, ‘Salvation had come to this home today, for this man had shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man, came to seek and save those who are lost.” (verses 8-10).
It’s no secret. I love the sun. In fact, I know for sure that I am not the only one. Basking in the sun’s warmth is good for soul. It almost has a kind of rejuvenation power. Not only does the sun’s rays provide important vitamins for our bodies, it also provides the right chemical reactions in plants and trees to aid growth and even provides a psychological benefit for those suffering with depression. The sun brings joy, happiness, wellness and growth.
As I was sitting in the sun and benefitting from the blessings of its rays, I realised that we too as Christians can 100% benefit from sitting in the presence of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The transforming power of Jesus Christ’s presence, in an individual’s life, is nothing short of miraculous. Just as we can get the benefit of sitting in the sun, we can also get an incredible life transforming change when we encounter the SON, Jesus Christ.
Today’s reading is a prime example of a man’s life being changed by meeting Jesus Christ. Luke tells us in chapter 19 verse 2, that Zacchaeus was a very prominent tax collector in the region. In fact he was the chief tax collector. This meant status and wealth. Yet when Jesus came into town, all his accolades and achievements became nothing as he desperately climbed a tree to see Jesus. This was an extraordinary act from Zacchaeus, as a person of his stature and wealth would surely not be seen climbing up a tree so he could see a radical and controversial preacher. What were his motives? Desperation, emptiness in his heart, guilt, remorse, or curiosity? Whatever his motives were, Jesus noticed it!
In verse 9, Jesus calls Zacchaeus by name to come down from the tree and invites Himself to his house. Of course the crowds were displeased that Jesus was again eating and socialising with a sinful person, especially a corrupt tax collector. But Jesus knew that this was more than just a simple visit to a sinner’s house but a visit to a sinner’s heart. As Zacchaeus accepted Jesus’ request, an inward change in his heart began to take place. His heart began to be filled with ‘great joy and excitement’ as Jesus was coming to his house.
Zacchaeus suddenly turns to Jesus and practically repents for the way he has gained his wealth. He publically confesses that he had cheated people of their taxes and agrees to pay them back four times as much and not only that, he agrees to give half of his wealth away to the poor. What an extraordinary transformation in this mans life. Jesus, knowing that Zacchaeus was genuine, responds by highlighting that Salvation had indeed come to Zacchaus’ house.
See when we encounter the presence of Jesus Christ, even the hardest criminal’s hearts are transformed by His power. Jesus calls sinners by name and no matter what situation they are in, wants to have communion with them and transform their lives. Why? Because Jesus came to seek and save the lost! When you bask in the sun’s warmth, remember Jesus’ transforming work in a sinner’s heart and what He has done in your life!